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Environmental Science Final Writing Prompts Guide
On the written portion of the final you will see eleven (11) of the
following twenty-two (22) questions – you will need to answer to five (5)
C1 – A major reason why Earth can support life is because of the presence
on Earth of liquid water. Explain why you think Earth’s two neighboring
planets, Venus and Mars do not contain liquid water?
C1 – Scientists have discovered holes in the ozone layer in both the
northern and southern Polar Regions; explain why scientists may have
concerns about these holes in the ozone layers?
C2 – How does a specific hypothesis affect the outcome of a scientific
C2 – You see one of your house plants wilting and want to conduct an
experiment to find out what is causing it. Explain your steps in the
design of your experiment.
C3 – Deforestation of mountainsides and overgrazing of prairies have led
to devastating erosion in these areas. Explain why these human activities
result in severe erosion.
C3 – There are over 1 billion km3 of water on Earth. That is 3.8 trillion
gallons of water for every person. So, why should we bother to conserve
C4 – What would happen to ecosystems and organisms if scavengers and
decomposers suddenly disappeared?
C4 – Many American consider it acceptable to kill high-tropic-level
predators, such as wolves and grizzly bears, thinking this action does not
adversely affect the food web. Explain what effect elimination of those
species may have on the food web and the organisms in the ecosystem.
C5 – On some isolated islands, some species of birds have evolved that are
unable to fly. Why do you think this occurred?
C5 – Where would you expect to find a greater proportion of specialized
species – on a large continent or a secluded island? Explain
C6 – If life survives even the most catastrophic changes in ecosystems,
why should humans bother to save ecosystems from destruction?
C6 – Would you expect primary succession or secondary succession to occur
in an area after an earthquake caused a tsunami that destroyed a coastal
community? Explain.
Continued on back
C7 – What geographic factor contributes to natural desert formation?
C7 – Succulents have waxy coating covering their stems and leaves. Explain
how this helps plants survive.
C8 – Explain why savanna plants grow quickly.
C8 – Many species of pine trees have seeds that need fire in order to
germinate. Why don’t pine trees invade and take over fire-prone
C9 – Very often, landslides and mudslides follow clear-cutting of oldgrowth mountain forests. Explain why this occurs. What can you infer about
the role of trees regarding the soil of mountainous forests?
C9 – What organisms grow on the forest floor in coniferous forests? What
can you infer about the needs of these organisms?
C10 – What connection can you make between the amount of dissolved oxygen
in a body of water and the number and diversity of organisms that live
within it? Explain your answer.
C10 – An estuary is a place where ocean water meets river water. What kind
of water would you expect to find in an estuary? Why?
C11 – Compare the oceanic zone to the desert. What factors contribute to
the degree of species diversity in each?
C11 – Describe one way in which coral help the algae that live among them.
Koziol – Environmental 2013-14