Environmental Science Notes

Environmental Science Notes

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Environmental Science Notes

September 2nd

* The environment

.A biotic (non living) and biotic (living) factors

* Natural resources

.Renewable, nonrenewable, solar energy watts

* Population growth

Major environmental problems

* Science

. A process for learning about the world

. Accumulated knowledge that results from this process

* Environmental science

.Interdisciplinary areas of study

.Determine how humanity affects other organisms and the non living physical environment

.Develop solution to environmental problems

* Scientific method

. Six steps observation, question, hypothesis, prediction, test, results

. Two types of test/ experiments

.Manipulative variables

.Correlative natural

. Scientific method completed by peer


  1. Scientific assessment- the gathering of info. Data must be collected and experiments of simulations performed to construct a mode, which is a format statement that describes a situation
  2. Risk analysis- analyze the potential effect of an intervention addressing the questions what could be expected to happen if a particular course of action were followed (pos & neg)
  3. Public education- informing the public. This involves explaining the problem presenting all the available alternatives for action, and revealing the probable cost and result of each other.
  4. Political action- select and implementing a course of action should be based on scientific evidence. During political process there are differences of opinions about how this evidence should be interpreted when selecting a specific course of action disagreements are based on considerations rather than scientific evidence.
  5. Follow through- monitor the result of any action talon.


September 7

*Fossil- imprint in a rock of a dead organism can be preserved in rock


  • The fossil record- teaches us of what we know of life on the planet for the past 3.5 billion years
  • Fossil records show.... Tiny fraction of all that ever lived


. Earlier organisms evolved into later ones

. # of species increased over time.

. Episodes of mass occurred

. Eukaryotes are 600 million years old. Earliest evidence of rock in 3.5 billion years.

* How life happened?

. Heterotrophic hypothesis- gaining energy from other material

. Exttaterestrial hypothesis - microbes form space or elsewhere.

. Chemoavtotrophic hypothesis- life from the deep. First life from deep seas


  • Theory of evolution by natural selection- explains how earth came to have so many organisms
  • Evolution- genetically based change in to appearance.
  • Natural selection- organisms produced more offspring than can survive


. Individuals vary in their characteristics

. Many characteristics are inherited by offspring by their parents.


  • Some individuals will produce better in their environments.
  • fitness- the likelihood that an individual will produce the number of offspring produces over its life time.

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  • Mutation in DNA provide the variation selection needs.
  • Biodiversity- all different species and organisms
  • Species- all collected organisms that can produce with each other, same characteristics.
  • Speciation- create new species.
  • Allopatric speciation- single inbreeding population. The two populations evolve independently.
  • Sympatric speciation- all same species all live in the same population. They separate themselves.
  • Phylogenetic tree- they show where we came from. Divides species into families, different adaptations.
  • Extinction- disappearance of an entire species from the face of the earth.
  • Mass extinction- a big astroid hitting earth. Removing 50% of species
  • Ecology- deals with organisms to the biosphere, definition- study of living organisms and not living organisms.
  • Habitat- environment where an organism lives


    * Habitat selection- where an organism wants to live.


    • Niche- role in a community, what it does in its habitat.
    • Population- group of individuals that live in a specific area.


    .pop size-# of individuals

    .pop density- how many in a certain area ( like a mile)

    .pop distribution- how individuals are spaced.

    .clumped- grouped together

    .random

    .uniform- spread out everywhere


    • Age structure-what ages of individuals in each population.
    • Sex ratio- male, female in a pop; females produe slower populations
    • Pop growth- depends on emigration and birth, death, immigration.
    • Exponential growth- increase by a percentage
    • Carrying capacity- grow up and then drop off, fluctuates.
    • Crashes- rises then falls then just crashes.
    • Density dependence- growing and growing (diseases, predation etc...)
    • Density independent- occurs random (weather earthquake)
    • Biotic potential- how much a species can produce (fish, frogs, insects)


    . R strategist- push out a ton of babies, no parent care, fast growing

    . K strategist- few babies, slow growing, pare
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