Environmental Science (1300)

Key Terms

Lectures #1 - #7, Fall 1999

* term in text, not described in lecture

Abbey 60ís Author believed Nature had its own right to exist, valued its aesthetic beauty

Abiotic Non-living components of an ecosystem; rocks, minerals, soil, air, water, climate

Accuracy How close to reality a measurement is

Acid Deposition Wet; rain. Dry; dust. Resulting from combustion of high-sulfur coal

Adaptation Changes by an individual organism relative to their habitat

Aerobic* With oxygen

Aesthetic Value Beauty and spiritual value

Age Structure* Cohort or age categories of a society

Agricultural Communities / Revolution When people settled in specific locations to raise crops

Air Pollution Man made and un-healthful air contaminants

Anaerobic* Without oxygen

Anthropogenic Man-made

Anthropology Study of Man through time

Assimilative Capacity The ability of the environment to accept pollutants

Atmosphere The air above and around us

Autotroph Makes its own food (plants from photosynthesis)

Background Extinction* Natural extinction rate

Bio-accumulation Exponential accumulation of toxic chemicals

Biodegradable Something that can be reduced to an organic substance

Biodiversity* Species Richness, multiple types of species in a community

Biomass* An organisms mass

Biomes General types of ecosystems with common components (prairie, desert)

Biotic Living

Birth Rate How many babies are born per time (year)

Carnivore Meat eater, eats animals or other organisms

Carrying Capacity Maximum level that can be assimilated without harm

The amount the environment can tolerate without harm

Carson 60ís Author, believed that population was exceeding carrying capacity

Also believed using DDT would eventually kill all butterflyís and birdís

CFCís Chloro-flouro-carbons, eat 1000 Ozone molecules each, Greenhouse gas

Charles Darwin Theorized evolution; all living things came from simpler organisms

Common Property Resource A resource that no one, and everyone owns or has access to; air, ocean

Class I, II, III Pollution Attainment areas

CAA Clean Air Act of 1972; regulate, reduce, remove, recycle

CWA Clean Water Act of 1972; fishable, swimable, drinkable waters by 1997

Coevolution* 2 species that form close relationships (evolve together) over time

Commensalism Sybiotic relationship when one organism benefits at no cost to the other

Community Collection of different species at the same place and time

Conservation Biology* Study of preserving biodiversity

Conservation Protecting a natural resource for future use

Consumer Eats things

Convergence 2 species that evolve similarly at different places (Dugong, Manatees)

Corridor/Greenway/Greenbelt* Natural strip that allows movement by organisms

Death Rate Number of individuals that die per time period (year)

Decomposer Eats detritus, decomposes substances to simple organic compounds

Deductive Reasoning Specific examples used to generalize

Detritivore Organism that eats detritus, a decomposer

Detritus Waste

Dilution* When a substance is dissolved in media (air, water)

Disturbance* An un-natural occurrence or change in the ecosystem

Doubling Time Amount of time it takes for a population to double

Dry Deposition Acid rain that falls as dust

Ecology Study of living things and their surroundings

Ecosystem Collection of inter-related abiotic and biotic components

EIS Environmental Impact Assessment, considers a projects impact

Emigration Migration out of an area

Emissions Trading Market based trades of the Ďright to pollutantí SO2

Energy Transfer The amount of energy transferred between organisms or trophic levels

Environmental Science Study of how Man & nature operate and interact

Evolution Species evolved through natural selection from simple celled organisms

Exponential Growth J-shaped growth curve

Feedback Loops

(positive / negative)* When something happens and has a return effect

Flagship Species Like umbrella species, soft furry creatures used to elicit human interest in preserving

a single species that will effectively preserve many species or an ecosystem because

of the organisms need for a large home range or large habitat area

Food Chain Tracing the diets of interdependent organisms; fox, bunny, grass

Food Web The combined traces of many inter-related organisms

Free Rider The one additional individual that doesnít pay his fair share

Generalist Species* Can survive in a number of habitats; isnít specific; English sparrow

Geographic Isolation* Physically cut off from breeding with other populations

Global Warming The increase in the Earthís surface temperature over time

Green House Effect The capture of heat & increased warming caused by Greenhouse gasses


GPP Gross Primary Production; what the organism produces to live

Habitat The biotic and abiotic components of an organisms home

Habitat Fragmentation* When a habitat is broken apart or dissected into smaller parts

Herbivore Eats plants

Heterotroph Canít make its own food, eats other organisms instead

Homeostasis* Internal ability to maintain temperature and control; shivering, sweating

Hunter-Gatherers Nomads that moved for, or followed food sources

Hypothesis An educated guess

Immigration Migration into an area

Indicator Species* Organism that is useful in determining the health of the environment

Inductive Reasoning Using general observations to make specific conclusions

Industrial Smog Pollution created by factoryís

Industrial Society / Revolution When Mankind exploited natural and human resources for profit & gain

Information Society / Revolution When all individuals could access data for decision making

Keystone Species* A species that once removed, causes catastrophic collapse of an ecosystem


Limiting Factor* An item that limits growth or a population

Mass Extinction* Extinctionís far in excess of what would occur naturally

Migration Moving to or away from an area

Mobile Source Moving pollution source (transportation; cars, planes, trains, busses)

Muir Preservationist, 1800ís, Sierra Club, believed nature had itís own right to exist

Multiple Use Allocating a resource for many purposes and uses

Mutualism 2 species with a mutually beneficial relationship

Native Species Naturally occurred in an area

Natural Selection Organisms that adapted to a habitat increase their reproductive success

Neo-Mathusian Belief that population size will exceed agricultural food production

NEPA National Environmental Protection Act of 1970

NPP Net Primary Production;

the amount left over after an organism eats and grows, its biomass or weight

Niche / Ecological Niche The function of an organism in the environment

Non Point Source Not a specific source, storm run-off, diffuse


Non-Attainment Areas Class of areaís where increases in air pollution are controlled

Non-Native / Introduced / Exotic / Alien Species Species that donít naturally occur in an area

Non-renewable Resource Runs out eventually; oil, coal

Null Alternative Do nothing alternative, NEPA what happens if you donít build?

Omnivore Eats both plants and animals

Organic Carbon based (natural)

Ozone Depletion The reduction of O3, a compound that filters out harmful ultra-violet sun rays

PAN Photo-chemically reactive smog (air pollutants)

Parasitism Organism that lives off another organism (the host) to itís detriment

Persistence Hard to get rid off or biodegrade

pH Measure of ionís in water, Water is pH of 7.0

Photochemical Smog Pollutants that react with dust, moisture, and sunlight

Pinchot 1800ís forester that believed in conserving areas for long term multiple uses

Point Source Pollution that comes from a specific identifiable places, smokestack, pipe

Polluter Pays Principle The individual should pay their fair share for environmental degradation


Pollution Standards Index An index that is publicly reported regarding healthfulness or air quality

Population Group of the same species at the same place and time

Population Growth PG = births - deaths + immigration - emigration

Precision How consistent a measurement is

Predation When an organism eats (preys) on another organism (fox & bunny)

Predator / Prey Relationships The inter-dependence of each relative to supply & demand

Preservation Protecting a natural resource for all time (in perpetuity)

Prey The organism that gets eaten by another (bunny by fox)

Primary Consumer An organism that eats plants

Primary Pollutant A pollutant produced by a man-made process (smoke from the stack)

Producer A organism that produces biomass

Recycling Reusing a substance to produce another product

Renewable Resource A resource that isnít depletable (solar, wind, water)

Replacement Level Fertility When births = deaths. A wife and husband having only 2 children

Replication Repeating an experiment


Reporoductive Isolation* When a species can not reproduce with the rest of itís population

Resilience* Can recover from a shock

Rossevelt President, believed in multiple uses of land and natural resources

Secondary Consumer Eats a primary consumer

Secondary Pollutant Pollutants formed by chemical reaction in the atmosphere

Specialist Species* Lives or eats in a distinct habitat

Speciation* The result of natural selection, species change over time

Species A group of organisms of similar function, structure, and can inter-breed

Stratosphere Upper atmosphere

Subsistence Farming / Society Farming that produces just enough for a family to live

Survival of the Fittest The ability of an individual to competitively mate and reproduce

Sustainable Development Economic growth that doesnít exceed natures resources

Sustainable Society A population that doesnít over-exploit its natural resources

Sustainable Yield An amount that can be harvested or taken without degradation

Symbiosis When two species have rely on each other for survival

Temperature / Thermal Inversion When air is trapped by an over-lying body of air

Tertiary Consumer An organism that eats a secondary consumer

Theory Accurately predicts outcomes consistently

Threshold Level The maximum level the environment can assimilate

Tragedy of the Commons When everyone adds a Ďfree riderí to a common property resource

Trophic Level A level that contains similar organism relative to a food web

Troposhpere The atmosphere closest to the Earth (0-11 miles) that contains OUR air

Umbrella Species A species that requires a large expanse of habitat,

And thus protects a number of different species

Wet Deposition Acid rain, rain filled with a pollutant

Zero Population Growth ZPG is when births + immigration = deaths + emmigration