Physical Geography

What is biogeoraphy?
the study of the distributions of organisms at varying spatial and temporal scales, as well as the processes that produce these distribution patterns
What is Ecological biogeography?
Branch of biogeography focusing on how distribution patterns of organisms are related to their environment
What is historical biogeoraphy?
Branch of biogeography focusing on how spatial patterns of organisms arise over space and through time
What does “ecology” mean?
science of interactions between life forms and their environment; the science of ecosystems
What are the abiotic components of an ecosystem?

The non-living factors in an ecosystem that 

affect the survival of organisms in that ecosystem.

(ex: water, sun, temp)

subdivision of the environment according to the needs and preferences of organisms or groups of organisms
an assemblage of organisms that live in a particular habitat and interact with one another
functional role of organisms in an ecosystem
What are the relative amounts of energy following the organic path?
Converted into organic compounds in plants (the energy that drives ALL LIFE ON EARTH) – (
What are the relative amounts of energy following the heat path?
Converted to heat by atmosphere, oceans, land surfaces (water cycle, nutrient cycle, atmospheric circulation) – (> 99%)
What is a food chain?

Sequence in which energy flows through trophic levels (successive consumers stages – who eats who?)

-Primary producers, primary consumers, secondary consumers, tertiary consumers, quanternary consumers

What is a trophic level?
 The feeding position in a food chain such as primary producers, herbivore, primary carnivore, primary producers
What are the differences between a terrestrial and an aquatic food chain?
What is an autotroph?
Manufacture living (organic) tissue from non-living (inorganic) chemicals
What is a heterotroph?
relay on autorophs
What is the difference between detritus and the grazing food chains?

Grazing chain: above ground

Detritus chain: the decomposers who consume dead organic material (detritus)

What’s the concept of an energy pyramid?
Energy passed from one trophic level to the next (only 10% of energy from each trophic level gets passed onto the next level)
How do terrestrial and marine biomass pyramids differ?

Terrestrial: starts with plants and ends with carnivores (pyramid)

Aquatic: starts with carnivores and ends with plants (upside-down pyramid)

How is energy transferred in photosynthesis?
production of carbohydrate by the union of water with carbon dixoide while absorbing light energy
How is energy transferred in respiration?
the oxidation of organic compounds by organisms that power bodily functions
What is the equation for photosynthesis?
CO2 H12 O6 + Oxygen —-> CO2 + H2O + Energy
What is the equation for respiration?
C6 H12 O6 + Oxygen —> CO2 + H2O + Energy
What kind of reaction is decomposition?
Respiration process
What is the difference between net and gross primary productivity?

Gross primary productivity: rate at which energy is stored in organic chemicals by primary producters in photosynthesis

Net primary pdoructivity: rate at which energy is stored in plant tissue

(Gross PP = Respiration + Net PP)

Why is the omnivorous human diet wasteful?
What is bioaccumulation?
The accumulation of substances, such as pesticides, or other organic chemicals in an organism
What does the term “biogeochemical cycles” mean?
Total system of pathways by which a paticular type of matter (a give element, compound, or ion) moves through the Earth’s ecosystem or biosphere; also called a material cycle or nutrient cycle
What are active pools?
Type of pool in hte biogeochemical cycle in which the materials are in forms and places easily accessible to life processes
What are storage pools?
Type of pool in a biogeochemical cycle in which materials are largely inaccessible to life
What are examples of active and storage pools in the carbon cycle?

Active pools: life processes

Storage pools: physical processes

What are the two main pathways in the carbon cycle that cycles carbon between the atmosphere and biosphere?
Carbon dixoide and carbon
What are the organic forms of carbon in the carbon cycle?
Soil carbon, CO2
What are the inorganic forms of carbon in the carbon cycle?
Calcium carbonate 
What is nitrogen fixation, and why is it important?

Chemical process of conversion of gaseous molecular nitrogen of the atmosphere into compounds or ions that can be directly utilized by plants; a process carried out within the nitrogen cycle by certain microorganisms.

Because living thing requires some nitrogen

What are the biological and industrial forms of nitrogen fixation?
What are legumes?
A seed, pod, or other edible part of a leguminous plant used as food (clover, alfalfa, soybeans, peas, beans, and peanuts)
What are legumes’ role in the nitrogen cycle?
They help change Nitrogen into useful forms in a process called nitrogen fixation
How are bacteria symbiotic with legumes?
The bacteria live in the plants cells, located on the root, and form nodules. These nodules convert nitrogen gas in the soil to usable energy for the plant. In return the bacteria have a safe place to live and reproduce

What is denitrification?
Process that returns the nitrogen to the atmosphere
How is denitrification accomplished in the nitrogen cycle?
What is outgassing?
is the release of a gas that was dissolved, trapped, frozen or absorbed in some material
What are some xerophytic plant adaptations?
Plants that are adapted to a dry and sometimes hot envrionment (ex: phreatrophytes)
What are some tropophytic plant adaptations?
Deciduous, shedding their leaves at the onset of the dry season and growing new ones with the arrival of the wet season
What are some hydrophytic plant adaptations?

Water-tolerant; require saturation (Halophytic: salt tolerant)

-Thin cuticle

-Flat leaves and air scats for floating

-“knees” aerial roots

-Aerenchyma tissue: large cells with air spaces

-Adventitious roots (water roots): above soil surface (come out of stems)

Define aerenchyma
A soft plant tissue containing air spaces, found esp. in many aquatic plants
Define adventitious
appening or carried on according to chance rather than design or inherent nature
What are adaptations to temperature for cold and warm blooded animals

Cold blooded: no internal temp regulation, (active during warm; dormant during cold)

Warm blooded: metabolism maintains constant temp (fur, hair, feathers, fat, sweating, panting)

What is a bioclimatic frontier?
Boundary marking limits of species tolerance to envrionmental factors 
Define competition
Form of interaction among plant or animal species in which both draw resources from the same pool
Define predation
Form of negative interaction among animal species in which one species (predator) kills and consumes the other (prey)
Define parasitism
Form of negative interaction between species in which small species (parasite) feeds on a larger one (host) without necessarily killing it
Define symbiosis
Form of positive interaction between species that is beneficial to one of the species and does not harm the other
Define commensalism
One benifits, other not affected (ex: barnacles on whales)
Define mutualism
Both benefit (ex: sea anemone and clown fish)
What is ecological succession?
Change in species composition, structure or architecture of vegetation through time
What is the difference between primary and secondary succession?

Primary: occurs on sites with no (or very little) vestige of a former community

Secondary: habitat not completely sterile; some members of previous community present

What is a climax community?
A biological community of plants and animals which, through the process of ecological succession — the development of vegetation in an area over time — has reached a steady state
Know the basics of evolutionary theory

A theory explaining the history and biodiversity of life on earth (decent with modification)


What is variation?
Difference between parent and offspring
How does natural selection operate?
Favorable traits become more common in successive populations variations are inherited (strongest survive)
What are the two key mechanisms for variation?
Difference between parent and offspring
What is speciation?
Means by which species are differentated and maintained
What is extinction?
Conditions change more rapidly than a population’s ability to evolve new adaptations
What is dispersal?
Species move from one location to another
Define biome
Major ecological unit with similar plant/animal communities
For the desert biome, know: the associated climate characteristics, some plant/animal adaptations, the distribution of that biome on the map

Climate: dry

Plant:Xerophytic, Ephemeral



For the grassland biome, know: the associated climate characteristics, some plant/animal adaptations, the distribution of that biome on the map

Climate:subhumid; dry, long cool winter

Plant:prairie (tall grass) vs steppe (short grass)

Animal:grasshoppers, birds, bison, snakes, badgers, fox


For the tundra biome, know: the associated climate characteristics, some plant/animal adaptations, the distribution of that biome on the map

Climate: Permafrost, low precipitation, low productivity

Plant:treeless, mosses, lichens

Animal:low dicersity of species


What is Arroyo, wash, wadi
River valley’s in the desert that from after rain
 A pore, found in the leaf and stem epidermis that is used for gas exchange
Ephemeral plants
Plants marked by short life cycles, usually six to eight weeks
Phreatophytes (wet toes)
A deep-rooted plant that obtains a significant portion of the water that it needs from the phreatic zone (zone of saturation) or the capillary fringe above the phreatic zone
Prairie vs. steppe

Prarrie: tall grass

Steppe: short grass

(all depends on rainfall)

Why do grasslands survive fire and why is fire necessary to preserve grasslands?
Destroys woody plants, but the grasses are able to survive
Alpine vs. artic tundra

Alpine: high altitudes

Artic: high latitudes

Active layer doesn’t drain

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