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Assignments - AP Environmental Science(Archived)
Are we in a Mass extinction?
Due Date: 2/8/2018
Subject: AP Environmental Science

Check out the graphics on this article!

APES: Human Population Study Guide
Due Date: 1/31/2018
Subject: AP Environmental Science

This is not a graded assignment! You DO NOT have to complete it, however, it may help you prepare for the exam.

1. What is the correlation between poverty and population growth?


2. How does the use of technology affect the impact of a population on the environment?


3. What are some factors that are important in considering how many people can live on Earth?


4. Who was Thomas Malthus?                        What were Malthus’s predictions about the human population?


5. What is demography?         What are population dynamics?


6. Briefly describe the 4 major stages in the history of human population growth.


7. Define:

      population            growth rate                   crude rate                    birth rate         death rate


8.What is doubling time?         How is doubling time estimated?


9. What is the difference between maximum lifetime and life expectancy?


10. What is exponential growth?       What is the logistic growth curve?               What is carrying capacity?


11. What is the World’s current human population?    Current doubling time?           


12. What countries are growing most rapidly? What countries have low population growth rates?


13. What is meant by the demographic transition?    Describe the phases of demographic transition.

      What are the potential effects of medical advances on the human population?


14. What factors limit human population?                 


15. What is the age structure of a population?


16. What is total fertility rate (TFR) and how does it differ from replacement fertility rate (TFR)?


17. What is zero population growth (ZPG)?


18. What are some ways that we can control population growth?


Other issues to consider that are connected to human population growth:

      AIDS – effects on African continent especially

      China’s one-child policy

      Refugees/ Immigration

      Poverty and unemployment

      Population and infectious diseases

      Population and political security


Population Lab
Due Date: 1/25/2018
Subject: AP Environmental Science

Go to

You will complete a virtual lab that demonstrates how competition for natural resources in the environment can affect population growth and how availability of resources can be limiting factors. You will be working with two species of protozoan Paramecium. You will compare the growth  curves of the populations of each species.

You will need to complete the table on the virtual lab and the questions in the journal section of the lab.


Population Article
Due Date: 1/23/2018
Subject: AP Environmental Science

This article was from Read and reflect in 1-2 paragraph(s). Think of the implications-social, economic, environmental, etc

Study: China faces 24M bride shortage by 2020

  • China's Communist Party implemented the one-child rule three decades ago
  • Sex-specific abortions have led to a large male population born since the 1980s
  • China Daily: The policy has prevented about 400 million births
  • U.S. State Department: Population expected to peak at 1.6 billion by 2050

(CNN) -- Some 24 million Chinese men of marrying age will find themselves lacking wives in 2020, partly because of the country's one-child policy, which has led to the abortion of female fetuses, state media said Monday.

Sex-specific abortions have led to a large male population born since the 1980s, the China Daily newspaper said, citing a study conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The gender imbalance means that the next decade will see many intergenerational marriages: young men married to women much older than them, the study said.

China's Communist Party implemented the one-child rule three decades ago, amid fears that the country would not be able to feed a skyrocketing population. The policy has prevented about 400 million births, China Daily said.

Couples living in cities are barred from having more than one child, unless neither parent has siblings. In rural areas, the law allows for a second child under certain circumstances. And the guidelines are looser for ethnic minorities with small populations.

Enforcement varies, but usually takes the form of fines to discourage extra births.

The policy has curbed population growth, and has led to forced sterilization in some parts of the country, the U.S. State Department said. Because of a traditional preference for male heirs, many Chinese also have aborted female fetuses, according to human rights groups.

Even within the country, calls to overhaul the law have increased in recent years, China Daily said.

But China has said it will maintain its one-child policy for at least another decade.

Nearly 200 million Chinese will enter child-bearing age in the next 10 years, Minister Zhang Weiqing told China Daily two years ago. He said abandoning the policy during this period would cause "serious problems and add extra pressure on social and economic development."

"After the new birth peak ends, we may adjust the policy if there is a need," he said.

China's population, which stands at about 1.3 billion, is growing at the rate of 0.6 percent. It is expected to peak around 1.6 billion by 2050, the U.S. State Department said.

Find this article at:

Ecobottle project
Due Date: 1/19/2018
Subject: AP Environmental Science

You will be creating a land and an aquatic biome in a bottle. Once the bottle is sealed, we will do nothing to help the plants or critters. We will watch how nature works to create balance. We will perform a series of chemical test on the water through a tiny opening we will create in class. The aquatic ecosystem will be comprised of a fish, plant, water, and gravel or marbles or some other material deemed appropriate for aquariums. The terrestrial ecosystem will be comprised of soil, a plant, and 2 different types of critters!

B&B Pets always provides a coupon/discount for the fish and plant. The cost is generally $5. The other stuff you can get yourself for free!

You will need to get :

  • 2, clear, 2-L coke bottles. (No green sprite, etc- must be clear)
  • clear packing tape (wide)
  • 1 beta fish (NO other type of fish please!! Betas are much hardier and easier to handle)
  • 1 aquatic plant
  • duckweed ( I will provide)
  • 1 terrestrial plant (linked to the critters)
  • soil
  • 2 land critters (catch them in your yard! Be sure that you consider what they eat! You need to be sure that your plant matches the critter to ensure the survival of the critter! Do not use carnivores as this will be a closed system and won't provide additional food sources. For example, lizards and frogs are cool to look at but die quickly. The intent is not to kill the critters, rather we hope to ensure their survival! Do your research!!!)

What you need to do: (I will demo in class)

Get one of the 2-L bottles and cut the upper neck off. Be careful!! Safety first! Add gravel or marbles after they have been rinsed several times. You will need to prepare your water in advance. You can do this by placing a large bowl of water from the tap outside in the sun. Since Chlorine evaporates quickly, you should be able to use the water in about 30-45 minutes. After the water has sat in the sun for half an hour or better pour it into your 2 - L bottle. Let it sit a day or two then you can add the fish.

While your water sits for a day or better you can work on the land biome. Turn a bottle neck down (like you are pouring) and cut the bottom ring off. A couple of inches is all we need to remove. Don't discard the bottom because you will replace it to seal your bottle. Remove the lid and replace it with a piece of cheesecloth, old pantyhose, or a sock. We hope to allow water to wick between the two biomes with this material and keep your soil in the land biome. Once that is in place, slide the bottle into the water biome bottle so that the neck opening is just barely above the water line. Put a couple of inches of soil inside the land biome bottle. Use soil from your flower beds or a miracle grow soil if you have it handy is fine too. Don't get dirt from an area where plants are scarce as this is a sign your soil is not providing NPK that supports growth. Then you need a land plant to put in the soil. Yes girls, flowers are pretty but be sure that your critters are able to get dinner! Likewise, guys, a sapling or new shoot will probably not do well either. For those of you who have green thumbs to help you - like Granny- a cutting will not work well here either as they require lots of water initially and we won't open the container after its been sealed. Then after your plant is in the place, you can add a bit of water and then your critters. We want the soil moist but not saturated! Your critters don't swim or they would be in the aquatic ecosystem. Now, take the base you cut off in order to add the plant, soil, and critters back to the bottle. Tape it closed with packaging tape. Tape the two bottle together around the center to ensure they don't slide apart. And your done!

Terrestrial Ecology
Due Date: 1/18/2018
Subject: AP Environmental Science

Our 1st test is tentatively scheduled for Jan 18

This should serve as a review of your readings and knowledge. It is not an exhaustive list for your test but should be used as review. Keep any of these I post as a review tool before AP exam.   Your test will include the notes and the activities we did in class! I AM NOT GRADING THIS!!



1.  What is energy? 


2.  How is energy measured?


3.  What is biomass?


4.  What is meant by energy flow?


5.  What is thermodynamics?  List the two laws.


6.  State and explain the law of conservation of matter.


7.   What is a trophic level?


8.  What happens to biological production and biomass as energy flows up a food chain?


9.  What does it mean to "eat lower in the food chain?"


10.  What is ecological succession?


11.  List examples of ecological disturbances both natural and human caused.


12.  What is primary succession?  How does it differ from secondary succession?


13.  What are pioneer or early successional species? 


14.  What is a climax community?


15.  What are macronutrients?  Micronutrients?  (include examples)


16.  How can nutrients be limiting factors?


17.  How does the carbon cycle function?


18.  How does the nitrogen cycle function?


19.  How does the phosphorous cycle function?


20.  What is the difference between an ecological niche and a habitat?


21.  What is exponential growth? 


22.  What is doubling time?


23.  What is sustainability? 


24.  What is the carrying capacity of the environment?


25.  Why is the Black Death unique in recorded human history?


26.  What is the Gaia Hypothesis?


27.  What is an indicator species?  Give an example.


28.  What is an ecosystem?


29.  Why is it difficulty to tell the boundaries of an ecosystem?


30.  What is an ecological community?


31.  Define: 









32.  What is a primary consumer?  What is a secondary consumer? Examples


33.  What is a food chain?


34.  What is a food web and how is it different from a food chain?


35.  What is a keystone species?



Plants and Biomes
Due Date: 1/18/2018
Subject: AP Environmental Science

Examine the data, and answer the questions that follow:

Plant #1: broad leaves, leaves turn yellow in autumn, tall

Question: What is plant #1, which biome is it from, and how is it adapted to that biome?

Plant #2: waxy coating, spines, long and shallow root system

Question: What is plant #2, which biome is it from, and how is it adapted to that biome?

Plant #3: needlelike leaves, pyramid shape, likes acidic soil

Question: What is plant #3, which biome is it from, and how is it adapted to that biome?

Eco Footprint
Due Date: 1/16/2018
Subject: AP Environmental Science


Take the quiz

Report the number of planets we need if we all live like you! Look at the graph provided after the quiz. What areas are the biggest used for you? Land? Energy? Then reflect; what can you do to reduce the footprint. Retry the quiz with your changes and see what impact is really makes.

You will submit a 1 page paper that includes the above info. for 100 points

REFLECT- FIND MEANING-WHAT does the quiz say about you? What if you live in another country? Does that make your impact more? Less?

APES: Symbiotic Relationships
Due Date: 1/16/2018
Subject: AP Environmental Science
Read the article and describe symbiotic relationships that you identify. Copy and paste the link into your browser.

Asian Carp: Invasive species
Due Date: 1/10/2018
Subject: AP Environmental Science

Read the following article: Then go to and search asian carp. There you will see several additional articles that may interest you. Read one!

Elephant article
Due Date: 1/8/2018
Subject: AP Environmental Science

Read the article below! Can you tell me if this is a keystone species and explain or defend your position? 



Throughout history, the elephant has played an important role in human economies, religion, and culture. The immense size, strength, and stature of this largest living land animal has intrigued people of many cultures for hundreds of years.

In Asia, elephants have served as beasts of burden in war and peace. Some civilizations have regarded elephants as gods, and they have been symbols of royalty for some.

Elephants have entertained us in circuses and festivals around the world. For centuries, the elephant's massive tusks have been prized for their ivory.

The African elephant once roamed the entire continent of Africa, and the Asian elephant ranged from Syria to northern China and the islands of Indonesia. These abundant populations have been reduced to groups in scattered areas south of the Sahara and in isolated patches in India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia.

Demand for ivory, combined with habitat loss from human settlement, has led to a dramatic decline in elephant populations in the last few decades. In 1930, there were between 5 and 10 million African elephants. By 1979, there were 1.3 million.

In 1989, when they were added to the international list of the most endangered species, there were about 600,000 remaining, less than one percent of their original number.

Asian elephants were never as abundant as their African cousins, and today they are even more endangered than African elephants. At the turn of the century, there were an estimated 200,000 Asian elephants. Today there are probably no more than 35,000 to 40,000 left in the wild.


At first glance, African and Asian elephants appear the same. An informed eye, however, can distinguish the two species. An African bull elephant (adult male) can weigh as much as 14,000 to 16,000 pounds (6300 to 7300 kg) and grow to 13 feet (four meters) at the shoulder. Its smaller relative, the Asian elephant, averages 5,000 pounds (2300 kg) and 9 to 10 feet (3 meters) tall.

The African elephant is sway-backed and has a tapering head, while the Asian elephant is hump-backed and has a huge, domed head. Probably the most interesting difference between the two species is their ears. Oddly, the African elephant's large ears match the shape of the African continent, and the Asian elephant's smaller ears match the shape of India.

Elongated incisors (front teeth), more commonly known as tusks, grow up to 7 inches (18 cm) per year. All elephants have tusks, except for female Asian elephants. The largest of the African bulls' tusks can weigh as much as 160 pounds (73 kg) and grow to 12 feet (4 meters) long. Most animals this big, however, are gone; they were the first to be killed for their ivory.

Most African elephants live on the savanna, but some live in forests or even deserts. Most Asian elephants live in forests. As herbivores (plant eaters), elephants consume grass, foliage, fruit, branches, twigs, and tree bark. Elephants spend three-quarters of its day eating, and they eats as much as 400 pounds (880 kg) of vegetation each day. For this task, they have only four teeth for chewing.

In the hot climates of their native habitats, elephants need about 50 gallons (190 liters) of water to drink every day. Elephants boast the largest nose in the world, which is actually part nose and part upper lip. It is a large natural hose, with a six-gallon (23-liter) capacity.

Role in the Ecosystem

Elephants are considered a keystone species in the African landscape. They pull down trees, break up bushes, create salt licks, dig waterholes, and forge trails. Other animals, including humans, like the pygmies of the Central African Republic, depend on the openings elephants create in the forest and brush and in the waterholes they dig.

Even elephant droppings are important to the environment. Baboons and birds pick through dung for undigested seeds and nuts, and dung beetles reproduce in these deposits. The nutrient-rich manure replenishes depleted soil. Finally, it is a vehicle for seed dispersal. Some seeds will not germinate unless they have passed through an elephant's digestive system.


Wild elephants have strong family ties. The females and young are social, living in groups under the leadership of an older female or matriarch. Adult males are solitary, although they stay in contact with the females over great distances, using sounds well below the range of human hearing. Family groups communicate with each other using these low-frequency vibrations.

It is an eerie sight to see several groups converging on a waterhole from miles apart, apparently by some prearranged signal, when human observers have heard nothing.

The natural lifespan of an elephant, about 70 years, is comparable to a human's. Elephants reach breeding age at about 15 years of age. Females generally give birth to one 200-pound baby after a 22-month pregnancy.

Elephants and Humans

Humans first tamed Asian elephants more than 4,000 years ago. In the past, humans used elephants in war. Elephants have been called the "predecessors to the tank" because of their immense size and strength. They were important to military supply lines as recently as the Vietnam War in the 1960s.

Although African elephants are harder to train than Asian, they too have worked for humans, mostly during wartime. For example, the elephants that carried Hannibal's troops across the Alps to attack the Romans in 200 B.C. were African.

In modern times humans use elephants primarily for heavy jobs like hauling logs. An elephant is the ultimate off-road vehicle and can get tremendous traction even on slippery mud. An elephant actually walks on its toes, aided by a great flesh-heel pad that can conform to the ground.

In some remote areas of Southeast Asia it is still more economical to use elephants for work than it is to use modern machinery. Scientific researchers use elephants for transportation in the hard-to-reach, swampy areas they study, and tourists ride elephants to view wildlife in Asian reserves. Elephants are the ideal mobile viewing platform in the tall grass found in many parks.

Asia has always had a strong cultural connection to the elephant. In Chinese, the phrase "to ride an elephant" sounds the same as the word for happiness. When Thailand was called Siam, the sacred White Elephant dominated the flag and culture. According to Thai legend, in the beginning all elephants were white and flew through the air, like the clouds and rain.

Thousands of years later, a white elephant entered the side of Queen Sirimahamaya as she lay sleeping. Later she gave birth to Prince Siddhartha, the future Guatama Buddha. Among the predominantly Buddhist kingdoms of Southeast Asia, the most auspicious event possible during a monarch's reign was the finding of a white elephant.

Causes of Endangerment

Habitat Loss

Elephants need a large amount of habitat because they eat so much. Humans have become their direct competitors for living space. Human populations in Africa and Asia have quadrupled since the turn of the century, the fastest growth rate on the planet. Forest and savanna habitat has been converted to cropland, pastureland for livestock, and timber for housing and fuel.

Humans do not regard elephants as good neighbors. When humans and elephants live close together, elephants raid crops, and rogue elephants (aggressive male elephants during the breeding season) rampage through villages. Local people shoot elephants because they fear them and regard them as pests.

Some countries have established culling programs: park officials or hunters kill a predetermined number of elephants to keep herds manageable and minimize human-elephant conflicts.


Hunting has been a major cause of the decline in elephant populations. Elephants became prized trophies for big-game hunters after Europeans arrived in Africa. More recently, and more devastatingly, hunters have slaughtered elephants for their ivory tusks. The ivory trade became a serious threat to elephants in the 1970s.

A sudden oil shortage caused the world economy to collapse, and ivory became more valuable than gold. In fact, ivory has been called "white gold" because it is beautiful, easily carved, durable, and pleasing to the touch. Most of the world's ivory is carved in Japan, Hong Kong, and other Asian countries, where skilled carvers depend on a supply of ivory for their livelihoods.

Hunting elephants is no longer legal in many African countries, but poaching was widespread until very recently. For many the high price of ivory, about $100 a pound in the 1980s, was too tempting to resist. Local people often had few other ways to make a living, and subsistence farmers or herders could make more by selling the tusks of one elephant than they could make in a dozen years of farming or herding.

As the price of ivory soared, poachers became more organized, using automatic weapons, motorized vehicles, and airplanes to chase and kill thousands of elephants. To governments and revolutionaries mired in civil wars and strapped for cash, poaching ivory became a way to pay for more firearms and supplies.

Poaching has caused the collapse of elephants' social structure as well as decimating their numbers. Poachers target the biggest elephants because their tusks are larger. They often kill all the adults in the group, leaving young elephants without any adults to teach them migration routes, dry-season water sources, and other learned behavior. Many of Africa's remaining elephant groups are leaderless subadults and juveniles.

Conservation Actions

Protected Areas

There are many national parks or reserves in Africa where elephant habitat is protected. Many people believe, however, that the parks are not large enough and are too isolated from each other to allow elephant populations to recover. (See Island Biogeography). Some countries are developing refuges linked by corridors to allow seasonal migration and genetic exchange.

Human use of the same land to grow crops, however, makes it difficult to create linkages between reserves without increasing conflicts between humans and elephants.

Sometimes reserves are too successful. When there are too many elephants in a reserve for the available vegetation, they destroy the habitat. They also forage outside the park and destroy crops.


One factor that has convinced African governments to take strong measures to protect elephants is the rising importance of the tourist trade to their economies. Kenya alone receives $50 million a year from tourists coming to see elephants. The national parks bring in much-needed income, and tourism is a source of income that can continue into the future because it does not deplete wildlife populations.

Trade Prohibition

Worldwide concern over the decline of the elephant led to a complete ban on the ivory trade in 1990. Elephants have been placed on Appendix I of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which means all trade in elephant parts is prohibited. Some governments have cracked down hard on poachers. In some countries, park rangers are told to shoot poachers on sight.

Not all governments support the ivory ban. In Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Botswana, for example, people farm elephants on ranches for trophy hunters. Government officials argue that trade in ivory should be regulated, not prohibited. They say countries that are managing their elephants well should be allowed to sell ivory in order to pay for conservation measures, such as park guards and equipment.

Others argue that the only effective solution is a total ban, because there is no way to distinguish ivory of elephants that were legally killed from that of elephants that were poached. The debate over the effectiveness, fairness, and wisdom of the ivory ban continues.

Asian ivory craftspeople are turning to other sources of raw material for their carvings. Some are turning to walrus tusks instead of elephant ivory, shifting hunting pressure to walruses.

Captive Breeding

Captive breeding of African elephants provides elephants for zoos so zoos do not have to take more elephants from the wild for display. The Jacksonville Zoological Park [Z&A] has established a Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the African elephant.

Questions for Thought

Do you find it odd that a species that still has hundreds of thousand of individuals is considered endangered?

Why do you think elephants are regarded as endangered?

Which elephant's chances for survival are better, the African or the Asian? What factors lead you to this conclusion?

Do you think banning trade in ivory affects other species?

If the ban on trade in ivory is successful in stopping poaching, do you think the elephant's survival is assured? Is your answer the same for African and Asian elephants?

Are reserves the solution to the problem of habitat loss? What else could or should be done?

Article taken from:

APES: Virtual Earthquake
Due Date: 3/24/2017
Subject: AP Environmental Science


Ecobottle Graph Interpretation
Due Date: 3/6/2017
Subject: AP Environmental Science

The graph from the class data is in the presentation section. Keep in mind you are looking at your data but using this one in case you have no changes, fish deaths, etc..

You should look for relationships among the test results and discuss their meaning. We did several in class. If you have anomolies, you should hypothesize on why that may be the case based on limitations of the study( again from class).

This is due on Monday when we return and is a test grade. I assume that the paper you type will be no more than 1-1.5 pages in length.

Earth Day
Due Date: 4/19/2013
Subject: AP Environmental Science

Earth Day 2013 is approaching quickly! April 22 has been the day designated since 1970 as a day to honor Earth. At that time more than 20 million people participated in the event. This year we expect more than a Billion people to participation in events throughout 180 countries! This year to celebrate Earth Day, we will do a variety of fun activities! Since we will be on Spring Break during Earth Day, we will host our own event in class on Friday, April 19. There are NO Late Projects.

  1. Optional: Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 by wearing your parent’s old clothes from their youth. Or you can create a new look by using recycled materials! Nothing NEW! EVERYTHING Vintage! This will be a Recycled Fashion Show for our classroom! We will do this the Friday before Spring Break. (10 points)
  2. Required: Trash to Treasure Competition: You must reuse what would otherwise be waste to create some new treasure! Creativity, design, usefulness, and effort will be judged for each project! You may use nearly anything! Start thinking now and don’t share your ideas! The winner will have a special surprise! You art kids are light years ahead of me! (50 points)
  3. This month we will have two opportunities to earn community service hours. Here at Baker for our community recycling (on next Saturday, March 30 from 8-12 or the last Saturday of April – which is at the end of spring break) and on April 27th for the Earth Day celebration in Fairhope. See the flyer on my board. You should sign up for your event of choice so that we know how many to expect. (50 pts)

I realize that some of you have issues with dates for community hours. See me if that is the case.


Olympic Medal Article
Due Date: 2/13/2013
Subject: AP Environmental Science

Olympic Medals Made from E-waste

Submitted by Andrea Thompson

posted: 09 February 2010 12:41 pm ET


Comments (3) | Recommend (5)


The medals to be awarded at the 2008 Winter Olympic games in Vancouver are made from metal recovered from electronic waste. Credit: © VANOC/COVAN

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The medals to be awarded at the 2008 Winter Olympic games in Vancouver are made from metal recovered from electronic waste. Credit: © VANOC/COVAN

To make the Olympic medals that will be awarded to the winners of the ski jump, figure skating, bobsled and other winter events in Vancouver this year, the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) extracted gold, silver and copper from recycling so-called e-waste, Mother Jones reports.

E-waste (a shortening of electronic waste) includes everything from televisions to iPods. A study published in the journal Sciene last year found that e-waste had become the fastest-growing component of the U.S. solid-waste stream. More than 1.36 million metric tons of discarded cell phones, mp3 players and other electronics site in landfills and elsewhere, the study found.

VANOC decided to use recovered metals from e-waste to make the medals to help their games fulfill one of the three Olympic pillars, sustainability.

The company doing the extractions, Teck Resources, plans to process 15,000 tons of e-waste this year, according to the Mother Jones report.

VANOC also plans to rely on clean energy sources and has built Olympic structures according to green building standards. 

Read full story at Mother Jones


APES Reading
Due Date: 1/28/2013
Subject: AP Environmental Science

Read the article at the following link

Problem with the link? Go to and in the search box type "is education the best contraceptive"

The first article that comes up is the winner! Click on the article then click download. Sorry for the run around!

Due Date: 1/7/2013
Subject: AP Environmental Science

This is the article from class. I am posting it in case you lost yours!


The dodo bird inhabited the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, where it lived undisturbed for so long that it lost its need and ability to fly. It lived and nested on the ground and ate fruits that had fallen from trees. There were no mammals on the island and a high diversity of bird species lived in the dense forests.

In 1505, the Portuguese became the first humans to set foot on Mauritius. The island quickly became a stopover for ships engaged in the spice trade. Weighing up to 50 pounds, the dodo was a welcome source of fresh meat for the sailors. Large numbers of dodos were killed for food.

Later, when the Dutch used the island as a penal colony, pigs and monkeys were brought to the island along with the convicts. Many of the ships that came to Mauritius also had uninvited rats aboard, some of which escaped onto the island. Before humans and other mammals arrived the dodo had little to fear from predators. The rats, pigs and monkeys made short work of vulnerable dodo eggs in the ground nests.

The combination of human exploitation and introduced species significantly reduced dodo populations. Within 100 years of the arrival of humans on Mauritius, the once abundant dodo was a rare bird. The last one was killed in 1681.

Although the tale of the dodo's demise is well documented, no complete specimens of the bird were preserved; there are only fragments and sketches. The dodo is just one of the bird species driven to extinction on Mauritius. Many others were lost in the 19th century when the dense Mauritian forests were converted into tea and sugar plantations. Of the 45 bird species originally found on Mauritius, only 21 have managed to survive.

Although the dodo became extinct in 1681, its story is not over. We are just beginning to understand the effects of its extinction on the ecosystem. Recently a scientist noticed that a certain species of tree was becoming quite rare on Mauritius. In fact, he noticed that all 13 of the remaining trees of this species were about 300 years old. No new trees had germinated since the late 1600s.

Since the average life span of this tree was about 300 years, the last members of the species were extremely old. They would soon die, and the species would be extinct. Was it just a coincidence that the tree had stopped reproducing 300 years ago and that the dodo had become extinct 300 years ago? No. It turns out that the dodo ate the fruit of this tree, and it was only by passing through the dodo's digestive system that the seeds became active and could grow. Now, more than 300 years after one species became extinct, another was to follow as a direct consequence. Will more follow?

Luckily, some creative people discovered that domestic turkey gullets sufficiently mimic the action of the dodo's digestive system. They have used turkeys to begin a new generation of the tree, which is now called the dodo tree. If these seedlings survive to produce their own seeds, the species will be saved.

Questions for Thought

Is the Dodo bird a keystone species?

Mauritius is a medium-sized island that is extremely far away from any mainland. What does island biogeography suggest about such places?

Birds and bats are frequently responsible for the natural pollination and seed dispersal of trees. What will their extinctions and endangerment mean for the forests where they live?

Water Study Guide
Due Date: 4/15/2012
Subject: AP Environmental Science

Water Supply, Use and Management


1.      What are some of the physical and chemical properties of water? 

How do these properties make water unique?                       

How do they make water essential for life?


2. What is the water cycle? What processes drive the water cycle?



3.      What is the difference between groundwater and surface water? Be familiar with the following terms:


                        aquifer/ water table


4. What is the fate of precipitation?



5. What is desalinization?    What are the barriers to using salt water as a water source?


6. What are the major use categories of water?


7. How is water transported from its source to its use site? What problems are associated with these practices?


8. What is the largest consumptive use of water in the U S? What proportion of withdrawals is for domestic uses?


9. What is water conservation?       How can water be conserved in agriculture?         domestic use? industry and manufacturing?



10. What are wetlands?       What are some of the functions of wetlands?

      Why are we interested in restoring wetlands?

      How can wetlands be used to treat wastewater and agricultural runoff?


11. What effects do dams and reservoirs have on the environment?     Why are some dams being removed?


12. How does urbanization contribute to flooding?           How can this problem be minimized?


13. What is water pollution and water quality?


14. What are some examples of water pollutants?


15. What standards have been established to measure water quality? Who establishes these standards?


16. How is water quality monitored?          

Water Quality study guide
Due Date: 4/15/2012
Subject: AP Environmental Science

Water Pollution and Treatment (chapter 21)

1.       What is water pollution and water quality?


2.       What are some examples of water pollutants?


3.       What standards have been established to measure water quality?                                                     Who establishes these standards?


4.       How is water quality monitored?


5.       Define, describe, and explain the significance for water quality of each of the following:

·        Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)                  

·        Waterborne pathogenic microbes and fecal coliform bacteria                                        

·        Nutrients (N, P)           

·        Oil (Exxon Valdez)                              

·        sediment

      Which parameters are most important in determining water quality?


6.       What is eutrophication?   What causes eutrophication? What is cultural eutrophication?

      Know the meaning of the following:

eutrophic/oligotrophic               phytoplankton/ algae/algal bloom


8.       What is the difference between point and nonpoint sources of pollution? How can these sources be reduced?


9.       What are the common sources of groundwater pollution and how is this problem being addressed?

      Terms:        Leachate          Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (LUSTs)  saltwater intrusion


10.    How is wastewater treated?

      septic tank systems

      primary treatment, secondary treatment, advanced treatment, disinfection

      constructed wetlands


11.    Can wastewater be recycled and reused? What are some of the problems with wastewater reuse? How can wetlands be used to treat wastewater?


12.    What are some of the landmark laws and legislation that have been enacted to protect water?

      Clean Water Act

      Safe Drinking Water Act

      Water Quality Act



Human Population Study Guide
Due Date: 1/27/2012
Subject: AP Environmental Science

Again I warn you this is not meant to be an extensive list of test questions, rather a review of various concepts! 

1. What is the correlation between poverty and population growth?


2. How does the use of technology affect the impact of a population on the environment?


3. What are some factors that are important in considering how many people can live on Earth?


4. Who was Thomas Malthus?                        What were Malthus's predictions about the human population?


5. What is demography?          What are population dynamics?


6. Briefly describe the 4 major stages in the history of human population growth.


7. Define:

      population              growth rate                   crude rate                    birth rate          death rate


8.What is doubling time?         How is doubling time estimated?


9. What is the difference between maximum lifetime and life expectancy?


10.  What is exponential growth?        What is the logistic growth curve?    What is carrying capacity?


11. What is the World's current human population?         Current doubling time?  


12. What countries are growing most rapidly?     What countries have low population growth rates?


13. What is meant by the demographic transition?       Describe the phases of demographic transition.

      What are the potential effects of medical advances on the human population?


14.  What factors limit human population?                      


15. What is the age structure of a population?


16. What is total fertility rate (TFR) and how does it differ from replacement fertility rate (TFR)?


17. What is zero population growth (ZPG)?


18. What are some ways that we can control population growth?


Other issues to consider that are connected to human population growth:

      AIDS - effects on African continent especially

      China's one-child policy

      Refugees/ Immigration

      Poverty and unemployment

      Population and infectious diseases

      Population and political security


Study Guide:Soil
Due Date: 4/7/2011
Subject: AP Environmental Science



1.  Define soil-



2.  What are the 4 distinct parts of soil?



3.  List some reasons why soil is important to the environment.



4.  How is the parent material of soil formed?



5.  List some examples of

Physical weathering-


                        Chemical weathering-


6.  Describe different soil properties:











                        Shrink-swell potential-










7.  Describe the various soil horizons:








8.  Describe erosion and its importance to the environment.




9.  Water erosion-describe the following:





                        Mass slippage-






10.  Wind erosion- describe the following:





                        Surface creep-


11.  Describe various methods of erosion control.




12.  What are 4 types of irrigation techniques?




13.  What is the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients?  Give examples of each.





14.  What are organic/inorganic fertilizers?  Give benefits and costs of each.





15.  What is hydroponics?  Give some benefits and costs of each.


Due Date: 1/10/2011
Subject: AP Environmental Science

Read pg 105-123 and be prepared for a quiz Monday.

Also, go to

and complete the quiz. You may need to ask mom or dad to help with a few questions (make it a family event-it is more fun that way!) After you are done you will learn how many earths we would need if everyone lived like you! ThenI want you to go back and see where you can reduce your footprint. What areas are key in reducing our demand on the earth? You will turn in a half to one page write up that will report your results and what you determined to be your big impact areas and what you can do to address them.

Due Date: 1/6/2011
Subject: AP Environmental Science

Read page 143-159

Your reading quiz will be Tuesday!

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