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Topic/Objective: Environmental Changes and Populations
Essential Question: How do environmental Changes affect organisms and populations?
What causes environmental change?
Happens when natural processes or human activities cause a disturbance to the
Natural Processes – climate change and natural disasters.
 Climate Change
 Ecological Succession
 Natural Disasters - Volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, forest
fires, etc.
Human Activities – development and use of resources.
 Farming
 Use of fertilizers and pesticides
 Dams
 Logging and construction
 Roads
 Commercial fishing
 Burning of fossil fuels
 Etc.
How can short-term environmental changes affect populations?
 Short Term Environmental Change – has a sudden impact on populations
and their surroundings. This impact may or may not last.
- Weather – wind, rain, hail, sleet, snow, extreme temperatures
- Natural disturbances – floods, droughts, blizzards, etc.
How can long-term environmental changes affect populations?
 Long Term Environmental Change – occurs slowly and impacts populations
over time.
- Global Warming – the increase in the average global temperature over the
past 30 years.
- Sea ice has decreased greatly near the poles.
- Increase in ocean water temperature
Long-Term Environmental Changes May Affect Organisms’ Behaviors.
- Migration patterns
- Budding patterns
- Flowering or seeding patterns
- Organisms that aren’t able to adapt may become extinct.
Traits May Become More Common Through Natural Selection:
- Inheritable traits can change in response to environmental changes.
- Natural Selection – Individuals that are better adapted to the environment
are able to survive and reproduce.
Populations May Become Physically Separated
- Plate Tectonics may separate species over millions of years and natural
selection may lead to a new species