Environmental Biology

Environmental Biology
BS 105 Sections 01 & 03
Spring 2015
Study Guide for First Examination
Explain how it can be argued that Environmental Biology is the most important course you will take.
Why is it so important that each citizen be aware of and concerned about environmental issues? Can
each of us make a difference in addressing these environmental issues?
What is a sustainable society? Describe several ways in which our current society is not sustainable.
What is science? How do we all act as scientists? Describe the steps of the scientific method. Define
the following terms: hypothesis, theory, and law. What is a controlled experiment? Describe the
radish plant experiment in lab as a controlled experiment. What are an independent and a dependent
variable? What are the independent, dependent, and controlled variables in the radish plant
Describe the idea of scientific authority. Outside of their area of specialization is a particular scientist
an authority? What is the role of scientists in environmental decision-making? What other areas of
human endeavor have a role in environmental decision-making?
Explain how the growth of the human population is the single most important environmental problem.
Explain how essentially all other environmental problems are related directly or indirectly to the
tremendous growth of the human population.
Summarize the video, "Who’s Counting?". What organization produced the video? In what year was
the video produced? What are some of the effects of overpopulation shown in the video? What are
some of the solutions shown in the video to the problem of population growth?
What is the current world population of humans? Describe the simple equation for population
increase. By what quantity does the human population increase per: second, minute, 50-minute class
period, hour, day, week, year, and decade? Relate these quantities to group sizes familiar to you such
as number of students at the University, or your hometown, or the metropolitan St. Louis area.
What are more-developed countries (MDCs) and less-developed countries (LDCs)? Where are the
MDCs and LDCs located geographically? What proportion of the current population growth is
occurring in MDCs and LDCs? Explain the idea that LDCs, where growth is occurring most rapidly, are
least able to cope with more and more people.
Why should people of the MDCs be concerned about the huge growth of population in the LDCs?
Describe the simple equation that relates environmental impact to population size and resource
consumption per person. Distinguish between people overpopulation and consumption
Draw and describe the curve that shows growth of the human population. Approximately what year did
human population pass the one, two, three, four, five, and six billion mark? Based upon studies of
non-human populations, what are possible future trends for the curve of human population growth?
What is exponential growth? What is the current yearly percent increase in the human population?
What is doubling time? Describe the "rule of 70" as a quick method of approximating doubling time.
Using the "rule of 70" approximate the doubling time for the Earth's human population and for human
populations in several countries growing at different rates.
What factors account for the rapid increase in human population over the past several hundred years -or why the survival boom?
What is demographics? What is a population histogram? Describe a population histogram for a
stable population, a slowly growing population, and a rapidly growing population? Approximately what
age ranges are considered pre-reproductive, reproductive, and post-reproductive? Explain how
longevity of individuals in the post-reproductive period contributes relatively little to population growth.
Explain how survival through the pre-reproductive period is the primary contribution to population
Describe the demographic transition historically seen in the currently more-developed countries.
Describe reasons why the demographic transition alone may not be sufficient to slow population
growth in the currently less-developed countries.
What is family planning? Distinguish between contraception and birth control. Describe the
characteristics of the following types of family planning programs: voluntary, extended voluntary, and
Describe obstacles to success of family planning programs, particularly in less-developed countries.
How can MDCs assist LDCs in family planning programs? How do you feel about the availability and
effectiveness of family planning programs in the United States?
Distinguish between replacement-level fertility and zero population growth. Distinguish between
immigration and emigration. What do you personally feel should be the immigration policy of the
United States?
What is the difference between under nutrition and malnutrition?
What proportion of world population is estimated to suffer from hunger (either under-nutrition or malnutrition)?
What are the effects on the individual of chronic hunger during adulthood vs. chronic hunger during early
development? How reversible are these effects?
Describe the Green Revolution. When did the Green Revolution take place?
How did the growth of food production compare with human population growth during the Green Revolution?
How have these compared since the Green Revolution?
Why is reliance upon food imports not a long-term solution to the problem of hunger in less developed
countries? What is meant by “appropriate technology”?
What are three challenges facing world agriculture -- immediate, long-term, and continuing?
What are the different dilemmas facing farmers in more-developed vs. less-developed countries?
Discuss the following problems facing world agriculture: erosion, desertification, depletion of soil nutrients,
energy costs and availability, water mismanagement, conversion of farmlands to non-agricultural uses, and
loss of genetic diversity.
Discuss the following steps that may be taken to address the problems and challenges facing world
agriculture: reduction and control of soil erosion, reduction and control of depletion of soil nutrients, increasing
agricultural lands, agricultural improvements through biotechnology, and development of new food sources.