Download Study Guide: Lesson 3, 4, 5 in Unit 2.

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Study Guide: Lesson 3, 4, 5 in Unit 2.
Energy/Matter, Changes and, Human Activity in Ecosystems
1. Outline the parts of the water cycle, nitrogen cycle, and carbon cycle.
Use the pictures of the cycles outlined in Lesson 3 to familiarize yourself
with each cycle. Be able to follow each cycle when presented with a
picture of each cycle.
2. What is energy? What is matter?
Energy is the ability to do work. Matter has mass and takes up space.
3. Laws of conservation of matter and energy.
Matter and energy can change form, but cannot be created or destroyed.
4. Energy flow in food chains and food pyramids.
Each level of the energy pyramid shows the flow of energy in food chains
and food webs. The bottom of the energy pyramid is made up of
producers, and is large size shows that producers have the highest
population. Going up the energy pyramid, there is less energy, so
populations begin to get smaller. (There are more primary consumers than
secondary consumers, and more secondary consumers than tertiary
5. What are the roles of the producer (autotroph), consumer (heterotroph),
and decomposer in an ecosystem?
Producers make the food (on the surface of earth, energy comes from the
sun), consumers eat others to obtain energy, and decomposers recycle
materials by breaking down the remains of dead organisms.
6. What are herbivores and carnivores?
Herbivores consume only vegetation/plants. Carnivores consume only
animals/meat. Omnivores eat both plants and animals. Insectivores eat
primarily insects.
7. What is a pioneer species? What is a pioneer species role in ecological
The Pioneer is the first to grow/live in an environment. The pioneer paves
the way for other life forms to live in the new environment. Overtime the
environment will changes, as will the organisms that live in it.
8. What is ecological succession, and what is primary and secondary
Ecological succession is when the environment changes overtime, as well as
the organisms that live in it. Primary succession occurs where there is no
soil present. Secondary succession occurs when there is soil present, and
probably grasses and other field plants.
9. What is biodiversity and why is it important to have diversity in an
Biodiversity is having many different types of species in an ecosystem.
Biodiversity is important so that if one species is removed (goes extinct)
there are other organisms that can occupy the missing species niche.
10.How does eutrophication affect a pond?
Eutrophication is the formation of an algal bloom in a body of water due to
nutrient pollution. The algal bloom, which forms on the top of the water
blocks light from reaching the water plants below. The plants will die and
are decomposed by bacteria. The bacteria will use up all of the free oxygen
in the water, and then the aquatic life (fish, etc.) will die.
11.What are the effects of acid rain on an ecosystem?
Combustion release nitrogen and sulfur oxides into the atmosphere. These
acids bind with rain water in the atmosphere to form acid rain. Acid rain
lowers the pH of lakes and ponds, resulting in more acidic water. Too much
acid will kill life in the water.
12.How do invasive species affect an ecosystem?
Invasive species can disrupt the normal populations that live in the
ecosystem, which can disrupt food chains, food webs, and energy flow.
Invasive species can also bring physical change to the environment,
changing the ecosystem and the organisms that live in it.
13. What are the effects of resource depletion?
Resource depletion can lead to changes in the ecosystem and the life that
lives there. We studied the destruction of the boreal forests in Canada that
resulted from mining the tar sands. We also looked at slash and burn
agriculture, which changes the rainforest into a field for farming or grazing.
Once resources are depleted, it can take extremely long periods of time for
them to come back, if they can come back at all.
14.What are the effects on ecosystems as a result of an increasing human
Over use of resources and changes to the environment result in habitat
destruction and loss of biodiversity.
15.What are some ways that natural resources can be conserved?
Managing natural resources can help to conserve them so that they do not
become depleted. Creating conservation areas, where resources are off
limits to people is very difficult, especially in very poor areas of the world.
Conservation areas help to protect and renew resources so they do not
become depleted.