After studying this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions:
Insert 7th ed
•What are systems, and how do feedback loops affect them?
•Explain the first and second laws of thermodynamics.
•Ecologists say there is no “away” to throw things to, and that everything in the universe tends to slow down and fall apart. What do they mean?
•Explain the processes of photosynthesis and respiration.
•What qualities make water so unique and essential for life as we know it?
•Why are big, fierce animals rare?
•How and why do elements such as carbon, nitrogen,
phosphate, and sulfur cycle through ecosystems?
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Case Study: Working to Rescue an
*Challenges include excessive levels of
nitrogen and phosphorus.
• Some parts I won’t focus on. Use this
PowerPoint and the study guide to help you
focus your review. If a term is not on these
materials it won’t be on an exam!
*Overharvesting and disease also contribute to
declining productivity of the fisheries.
*After heavy rainfall people are advised to stay
out of the water for 48 hours to avoid
contamination from sewer overflow and runoff.
*Solutions that are in progress include
capturing and selling nutrients from chicken
manure, urban wastewater treatment, and soil
conservation of farmland.
What challenges does a multistate
ecosystem face that a system localized
to one area might not face?
2.1 Systems Describe Interactions
What are some
energy types that
• A system consists of materials and energy
flowing from one part to the other. They are
interdependent (depend on each other)
• An ecosystem is a complex assemblage of
animals, plants, and their environment,
through which materials and energy move.
Feedback Loops Help Stabilize Systems
Systems function in cycles, with
each component eventually feeding
back to influence the size or rate of
A positive feedback loop tends to
increase a process or component.
• Pairs of rabbits reproduce
which results in more rabbits
and more reproduction.
A negative feedback loop
diminishes a process or component.
• Rabbits deplete the food
supply, and starvation occurs
and reduces reproduction.
Feedback loops often interact
Emergent Properties and Systems
The term emergent properties is used when the
characteristics of a whole system are greater than
the sum of its parts.
Emergent properties are
things that may be hidden
or not very obvious.
Example for this Mangrove
forest include preventing
soil erosion, protecting the
shore from storms, and
acting as a hatchery for
juvenile fish and shrimp.
2.2 Elements of Life
Stop and Review
• What exactly are the materials that flow through a
system like the Chesapeake Bay?
• Matter is anything that takes up space and has
What is a system? Give an example.
What is positive feedback, give an example.
What is negative feedback, give an example.
What are some emergent properties of a
• The principle of conservation of matter states that,
under ordinary circumstances, matter is neither
created nor destroyed but rather is recycled over
and over again.
• Why is the principle of conservation of matter
important to the study of environmental science? 2-10
Structure of a Carbon Atom
• Matter consists of...
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