Environmental Change 1. Which human action has interrupted the

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Environmental Change
1. Which human action has interrupted the flow of energy between plants and animals?
A. coal mining
B. deforestation
C. noise pollution
D. global warming
2. In 1883, the volcanic island of Krakatau in Indonesia erupted so violently that the eruption could be heard
over 3,000 kilometers away. The eruption spewed massive amounts of ash and volcanic gases into the
atmosphere.
Which of the following was the most likely result of this volcanic eruption?
A. a global drop in temperature for several months following the eruption
B. the reversing of Earth's magnetic poles
C. a mass extinction of plants and animals
D. the formation of tsunamis for several months following the eruption
3. Over the past generations, there has been a great deal of deforestation to accommodate the increase in the
human population. Which statement describes one of the main impacts of deforestation?
A. decrease in sea levels
B. decrease in carbon monoxide emissions
C. decrease in animal populations
D. decrease in global warming
4. Fires can result from both human disturbances and natural causes. An immediate effect that wide-spread
fires have on any ecosystem is
A. an increase in air quality
B. a decrease in vegetation.
C. an increase in vegetation.
D. a decrease in soil erosion.
5. How might an environment be affected if humans introduce a new type of plant to the environment?
A. The plant may compete with other plants for light.
B. The plant may be poisonous and harmful to animals.
C. The plant may become another food source for animals.
D. all of these
6. Many ecosystems on Earth have evolved to depend on occasional wildfires that maintain the diversity of the
ecosystem. These ecosystems are known as fire dependent ecosystems.
Which of the following best describes how wildfires can be beneficial to certain ecosystems?
A fire in a forest ecosystem can burn low branches and clear dead wood from the forest floor, providing
A. space for new growth.
A fire in an agricultural field can result in the loss of many crops, resulting in profit loss and food
B. shortages for humans.
A fire in an area heavily populated by humans can burn many houses, causing humans to be unable to
C. live in the area and releasing toxic gases into the air.
A fire in a tropical rainforest ecosystem can kill many broadleaf trees, leaving several animal species
D. without food or shelter.
7. Some geologists hypothesize that the mass extinction of dinosaurs was caused by a large meteorite impact.
These geologists think the meteorite impact significantly changed Earth's climate.
How could a meteorite impact do this?
A. It could block a large amount of solar radiation as the meteorite approaches Earth.
B. It could cause strong winds to blow that disrupt the prevailing winds.
C. It could throw up debris into the atmosphere that blocks solar radiation.
D. It could release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that lead to an episode of global warming.
8. Many common products, such as wooden furniture, paper, and books, are made from trees. Which of the
following is a likely consequence of humans cutting down a forest in order to make use of the natural resources
there?
A. the increase of light pollution in cities
B. the decrease of chemical runoff into the oceans
C. the proliferation of acid rain
D. the destruction of habitats
9. Deforestation increases the amount of water runoff, which increases the rate of
A. acid rain.
B. precipitation.
C. evaporation.
D. soil erosion.
10. An increase in the atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) is the biggest contributor to which of the
following?
A. wind storms
B. El Niño
C. ozone depletion
D. global warming
11. In which of the following ways might humans negatively impact the environment?
I. depleting the natural resources of the environment
II. destroying habitats to make room for a growing population
III. planting more trees to make up for those previously cut down
A. I and II only
B. I, II, and III
C. I and III only
D. II and III only
12. Increases in the sizes of human populations have caused a demand for more houses. When new
subdivisions are built, trees are often cut down to make space for the new houses. Which of the following is an
immediate impact of this deforestation?
A.
B.
C.
D.
A reduction in tree populations will increase global temperatures.
Animals that live in those areas must find new homes.
Wood from the felled trees must be used immediately.
The deforestation will increase atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
13. Which statement explains the impact that ozone depletion has had on the Earth?
A. It has decreased the production of ultraviolet light.
B. It has decreased surface levels of ultraviolet light.
C. It has increased surface levels of ultraviolet light.
D. It has increased the production of ultraviolet light.
14. The gypsy moth is a species native to Europe that has been brought to the United States. It prefers to feed
on oak trees in the U.S., and its caterpillars can consume all of the leaves off of trees. This leads to tree death
after a few years of repeated defoliation.
Why is the gypsy moth able to do so much damage to trees in the United States?
A. It is a parasite and therefore does not need its host to survive.
B. The ecosystems found in the United States are less stable than those in Europe.
C. It is a non-native species and therefore has fewer predators.
D. The gypsy moth is a uniquely dangerous species of insect around the world.
15. Mercury is an environmental pollutant that accumulates in fish and other sea life. Which human activity has
had the greatest impact on increasing mercury levels?
A. adding fertilizer to soil
B. burning coal for energy
C. using CFCs in aerosol cans
D. building dams to store water
16. Which human activity has had the greatest impact on climate change?
A. production of nuclear waste
B. deforestation
C. building skyscrapers
D. burning fossil fuels
17. On average, each American produces 4 pounds of trash each day (1,460 pounds of trash each year). To
contain this trash, landfills are constructed. In what way do landfills primarily endanger ecosystems?
A.
B.
C.
D.
They inhibit the recycling of materials, such as aluminum or paper.
They encourage the rapid spread of infectious diseases.
They could contaminate surface and ground water sources.
They could decrease the production of acid rain.
18. Technology Enhanced Questions are not available in Word format.
19. Technology Enhanced Questions are not available in Word format.
20. The zebra mussel is a non-native species of freshwater mussel that has firmly established populations
throughout the Great Lakes. It is originally from southern Russia.
Zebra mussels breed quickly and can attach to any hard surface. Their shells can attach to each other in layers
that clog pipes and waterways. They can also kill native mussels by attaching to their shells. However, zebra
mussels are also very good at filtering the water. Many lakes infested with zebra mussels are cleaner.
Which statement about non-native species is supported by the story about zebra mussels?
A. The positive impact of non-native species always outweighs the negative.
B. Non-native species can have both positive and negative effects.
C. Non-native species can only come from nearby ecosystems.
D. The impact that non-native species have on other ecosystems is small.
21. Which of the following statements best explains the impact deforestation has had on the water cycle?
A.
B.
C.
D.
Decreased surface runoff has decreased water pollutants.
Decreased evaporation has decreased water pollutants.
Increased evaporation has increased water pollutants.
Increased surface runoff has increased water pollutants.
22. In 2009, there were approximately 6.8 billion people in the world. In order to keep up with the food
demands of this large human population, farmers used fertilizers and other agricultural technologies to grow
and harvest more food. How do fertilizers negatively impact the environment?
A.
B.
C.
D.
Fertilizers are difficult to apply and require heavy machinery which damage land.
Fertilizers allow crops to grow bigger and faster, so they can feed more people.
The rate of nutrient depletion increases in soil that has been fertilized.
Run-off from fertilized land increases nitrogen levels in ecosystems and encourages algal growth.
23. Human beings are part of Earth's ecosystems. Thus, human activities can, deliberately or unintentionally,
alter the equilibrium in ecosystems.
Humans often change ecosystems as a result of population growth, consumption, and technology. Which of
the following exemplifies a way in which humans modify ecosystems?
A.
B.
C.
cutting down trees to build new buildings and roads
factory and automotive emissions causing acid rain
redirecting and storing freshwater behind dams
D. all of these
24. Which of the following has had the greatest effect on ozone depletion?
A. carbon dioxide (CO2)
B. water vapor (H2O)
C. chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
D. carbon monoxide (CO)
25. As a result of worldwide human population growth, many countries are exploring the use of alternative
energy sources. One potential energy source is nuclear power.
In nuclear power plants, atoms are split during fission reactions to produce heat. This heat then changes water
to steam, and the steam is used to turn a turbine, so electricity is generated. The heat that is produced by
nuclear reactions is so great that the areas in which these reactions occur must be cooled to keep the reactor
stable.
In what way do nuclear reactors negatively affect ecosystems?
A. Nuclear reactors produce greenhouse gases.
B. Nuclear reactors increase air pollution.
C. Nuclear reactors increase thermal pollution.
D. Nuclear reactors add large amounts of solid waste to landfills.
26. Severe acid rain caused by factory emissions can erode the leaves of plants. Which statement best
explains why this would harm the plant life?
A.
B.
C.
D.
Nitrogen compounds needed for growth would not be available.
Water needed for growth would not be able to be taken up from the soil.
Insects needed for pollination would not be attracted to the plants.
Sunlight needed for energy would not be able to be absorbed.
27. Acid rain is formed when nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides are released into the atmosphere. Acid rain
contributes to erosion. Which of the following is a natural cause of acid rain?
A. use of natural gas
B. burning coal
C. volcanic eruptions
D. car emissions
28. Most modern forms of transportation are powered by fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide, methane, carbon
monoxide, and other gases are released into the atmosphere during the production and combustion of these
fuels. How might these gases cause climatic changes?
These gases reduce the amount of thermal energy escaping into space, effectively warming the
A. atmosphere.
B.
These gases block solar radiation, making the atmosphere cooler than it would otherwise be.
These gases have no effect on atmospheric temperatures, so they are unable to cause any type of
C. climatic changes.
D.
These gases cause more water vapor to condense, making climates wetter than they were in the past.
29. Recently, zebra mussels were found in Colorado's Lake Pueblo. Zebra mussels are not native to the lakes
in Colorado, and they feed heavily on the algae and microscopic animals that form the base of the lake's food
web.
If the spread of zebra mussels cannot be contained, what will be the likely effect on Lake Pueblo's ecosystem?
I. There will be no effect because there is always room for another organism.
II. The fish population in the lake will decline because of competition for food.
III. In time, a new type of bird adapted to crack mussel shells may appear.
IV. Populations of second-order and third-order consumers may decline.
A. II and III only
B. II and IV only
C. II, III, and IV only
D. I only
30. When a(n) __________ organism enters an established ecosystem, it competes with some of the native
organisms for food. As a result, the entire ecosystem can be thrown out of balance.
A. pioneer
B. invading
C. symbiotic
D. large
Answers
1. B
2. A
3. C
4. B
5. D
6. A
7. C
8. D
9. D
10. D
11. A
12. B
13. C
14. C
15. B
16. D
17. C
18. -19. -20. B
21. D
22. D
23. D
24. C
25. C
26. D
27. C
28. A
29. C
30. B
Explanations
1. Plants and animals exist as part of a food chain, where animals rely on the food produced by plants for
energy. Deforestation has interrupted the energy flow by removing plants from some chains, the energy
sources in their ecosystems.
2. After the eruption of Krakatau, global temperatures fell by about 1.2°C for one year. This was caused by the
increased amount of particulates and volcanic gases in the stratosphere.
The particulates and volcanic gases caused more cirrus clouds to form than usual. The clouds reflected some
of the solar radiation that usually reaches Earth's surface, and this led to cooler surface temperatures.
3. Deforestation,the destruction of forests, has increased over the past generation to allow for the growing
human population.
Deforestation has reduced animal habitats and led to a decrease in animal populations.
4. Fires can result from both human disturbances and natural causes.
Humans can accidentally or intentionally set fires. Accidental fires are usually damaging to an ecosystem,
especially if the organisms in the ecosystem are not adapted to dealing with fire. Humans can sometimes set
intentional fires to mimic wildfires in ecosystems that depend on occasional fires to maintain the diversity of the
ecosystem. These fires can be beneficial as long as they are carefully monitored and controlled.
Fires can also be caused by natural phenomena, such as lightning. Some ecosystems, such as savannas and
certain forests, have been shaped by occasional fires and remain dependent on them to maintain their
structure and composition.
All wildfires result in an immediate decrease in vegetation in the area. This decreased vegetation can be
either positive or negative. If the plants in the area are sensitive to fire and unable to grow back, a wide-spread
fire could cause the ecosystem to collapse. If the many of the plants in the area are fire-tolerant or fireresistant, however, a wildfire could be beneficial by removing dead vegetation and creating space for new
growth.
Decreased vegetation causes a general increase in soil erosion. The air quality in an area that has
experienced a recent fire will also likely be deteriorated due to high levels of smoke.
5. When humans introduce non-native species to an area, there are many possible effects.
If a plant were introduced to an environment,



the plant may compete with other plants for light.
the plant may be poisonous and harmful to animals.
the plant may become another food source for animals.
6. Fires can result result from both human disturbances and natural causes.
Humans can accidentally or intentionally set fires. Accidental fires are usually damaging to an ecosystem,
especially if the organisms in the ecosystem are not adapted to dealing with fire. Humans can sometimes set
intentional fires to mimic wildfires in ecosystems that depend on occasional fires to maintain the diversity of the
ecosystem. These fires can be beneficial as long as they are carefully monitored and controlled.
Fires can also be caused by natural phenomena, such as lightning. Some ecosystems, such as savannas and
certain forests, have been shaped by occasional fires and remain dependent on them to maintain their
structure and composition.
All wildfires result in an immediate decrease in vegetation in the area. This decreased vegetation can be either
positive or negative. If the plants in the area are sensitive to fire and unable to grow back, a wide-spread fire
could cause the ecosystem to collapse. If the many of the plants in the area are fire-tolerant or fire-resistant,
however, a wildfire could be beneficial. For example, a fire in a forest ecosystem can burn low branches
and clear dead wood from the forest floor, providing space for new growth.
7. Geologists hypothesize that a large meteorite threw up a great deal of debris into Earth's atmosphere. This
debris blocked out a portion of the sunlight that normally would have reached Earth's surface, thus making
Earth's climate much cooler than usual. The rapid, significant change in climate led to the extinction of many
species.
8. A forest contains many different habitats needed by various organisms. Without an appropriate habitat, the
organisms are forced to migrate or will die. When forests are cut down, some of these habitats are
destroyed.
9. Deforestation increases the amount of water runoff because plant life is not present to absorb water. The
increased water runoff contributes to erosion.
10. Global warming refers to an increase in the Earth's average temperature. Atmospheric levels of carbon
dioxide have increased due largely to the burning of fossil fuels. The higher levels enhance the greenhouse
effect, which causes global warming.
11. Only I and II are correct.
Planting trees to help replace those that were previously cut down is a way that humans can help the
environment.
The growing population and its use of resources is leading to the destruction of more of the environment. It is
important to come up with ways to help the environment rather than harm it.
12. As human populations grow, they often modify ecosystems. For example, when land is cleared to build
new houses, deforestation occurs. The loss of trees could increase atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and
global warming. However, these effects are not seen as immediately as others, including the loss of animal
habitats and soil erosion.
13. The ozone layer absorbs ultraviolet light. Ozone depletion has decreased the amount of ultraviolet light
absorbed. This increases surface levels of ultraviolet light.
14. When a non-native species is introduced to a new ecosystem, it will often have fewer predators than in
the ecosystem where it originally evolved.
Though the gypsy moth is prey for small mammals and damaged by some viral infections found in the United
States, it has fewer predators overall than native species.
The most severe outbreaks of gypsy moth larvae happen in urban and developed areas where there are fewer
small mammals, such as mice, to eat them.
15. Mercury is a pollutant present in oceans, lakes, and other water bodies. While mercury is only present in
small amounts, it is problematic because it accumulates in fish and other sea life.
While mercury pollution comes from a number of industrial sources, the burning of coal is the major source.
16. Climate change refers to how the Earth's climate changes over time. The burning of fossil fuels has
released greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These have caused the Earth's overall temperature to rise.
17. Trash that is produced by humans is placed in landfills. Providing a central location for depositing trash
reduces the likelihood that diseases will spread and assists in the beautification of neighborhoods.
The main danger associated with landfills is that they could contaminate surface and ground water
sources as contaminants from the trash leach into the soil beneath it. This is why most governments require
liners to be placed under the trash to prevent the contamination of water sources.
18. -19. -20. Zebra mussels have invaded new ecosystems halfway around the world, and they have the potential to
severely disrupt these new ecosystems.
In addition to their negative impacts, they also have the positive impact of filtering the water. However, even
though non-native species can have both positive and negative effects, the positive effects do not
outweigh the numerous negative effects of the invading species.
21. Deforestation increases the amount of surface runoff because plants are not present to absorb the
water. This increases the amount of water pollutants being transferred to rivers, lakes, and oceans.
22. Fertilizers add nutrients to soil, so crop growth is encouraged and land can be used for longer periods of
time.
However, one negative environmental impact of fertilizer usage is that run-off from fertilized land increases
nitrogen levels in ecosystems and encourages algal growth.
23. More often than not, alterations in ecosystems occur as a result of some human activity. Some of these
alterations (e.g., deforestation, pollution) destroy habitats and may threaten global stability. Furthermore, if
attention is not paid to the factors which lead to these alterations, ecosystems may be irreversibly affected.
24. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) released into the atmosphere have had the greatest impact on ozone
depletion. CFCs have been released into the atmosphere via their use in fire extinguishers, aerosol cans, and
as refrigerants.
25. As human populations grow, they often modify ecosystems. For example, increases in human population
sizes have increased the demand for energy. To meet these demands, some countries use nuclear energy to
generate electricity.
There are advantages to using nuclear energy, including




nuclear fuel is inexpensive
there is less solid waste
nuclear fuel is easy to transport because it is compact
it does not generate greenhouse gases or air pollution
One disadvantage of using nuclear energy, however, is that is can increase thermal pollution due to the
abundant heat that is produced during the nuclear reactions. If excess heat is released into local bodies of
water, it may detrimentally affect fish and other wildlife, whose body enzymes only function within certain
temperature ranges.
26. Acid rain can harm plants by eroding a plant's leaves. The chlorophyll contained in the leaves of plants is
needed to absorb sunlight energy and use it to produce food. Without healthy leaves, the ability to absorb
sunlight energy would be limited.
27. Acid rain is formed when nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides are released into the atmosphere and become
part of the water droplets of clouds. Three ways that human activity contributes to acid rain is by burning coal,
by the use of natural gas, and by car emissions.
A natural cause of acid rain is through volcanic eruptions.
28. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor, are released into the atmosphere
in large quantities during the production and combustion of fossil fuels. These gases help to reduce the
amount of thermal energy escaping into space, effectively warming the atmosphere.
29. The only unlikely result proposed for Lake Pueblo's ecosystem is that there will be no effect.
When an invasive organism moves into an established ecosystem, it must compete directly with some of the
existing organisms for food. As a result, populations of the existing organism will decline, as will populations of
consumers on the next levels of the ecosystem's food web. In some cases, new animals immigrate into the
ecosystem if they are able to use the invading species as food, or existing animals develop new adaptations.
30. Invading organisms can cause imbalances in established ecosystems by competing with one or more of
the native species for food. This primary type of interaction may cause a reduction in food supplies for
consumers on higher levels of the ecosystem's food pyramid. The result is that matter and energy transfer
throughout the entire ecosystem may become imbalanced, and some species may die out.
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