Ms. Mezzetti/APES
Welcome to AP Environmental Science, AKA - APES!
'Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It's not.' The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
The goal of this course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies to
understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems
both natural and human-made, and to evaluate the risks associated with these problems and examine
alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them.
The AP Environmental Science course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory
college course in environmental science. Unlike most other introductory-level college science courses,
environmental science is offered from a wide variety of departments, including geology, biology,
environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry, and geography. Depending on the department
offering the course, different emphases are placed on various topics. Some courses are rigorous science
courses that stress scientific principles and analysis and that often include a laboratory component; other
courses emphasize the study of environmental issues from a sociological or political perspective rather than
a scientific one. The AP Environmental Science course has been developed to be most like the former; as
such, it is intended to enable students to undertake, as first-year college students, a more advanced study
of topics in environmental science or, alternatively, to fulfill a basic requirement for a laboratory science
and thus free time for taking other courses.
The major topics of the class we will be covering this year are as follows:
Science is a process.
 Science is a method of learning more about the world.
 Science constantly changes the way we understand the world.
Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes.
 Energy cannot be created; it must come from somewhere.
 As energy flows through systems, at each step more of it becomes unusable.
The Earth itself is one interconnected system.
 Natural systems change over time and space.
 Biogeochemical systems vary in ability to recover from disturbances.
Humans alter natural systems.
 Humans have had an impact on the environment for millions of years.
 Technology and population growth have enabled humans to increase both the rate and
scale of their impact on the environment.
Environmental problems have a cultural and social context.
 Understanding the role of cultural, social and economic factors is vital to the development of
Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable systems.
 A suitable combination of conservation and development is required.
 Management of common resources is essential.
Over the course of the year we will learn about the science and social issues associated with each of the
above topics.
AP Environmental Science 2015-2016 Summer Assignment
There are FOUR parts to the summer assignment; ONE of which is due on June 30th, ONE of which is due
on July 31st, and the remaining TWO will be collected on the first day of class. If you have any questions
about this assignment, feel free to email me at mezzettil@gmail.com . The summer assignment will count
for 20% of your first quarter grade. All work turned in must be your OWN work. No excuses for late work.
I have allotted plenty of time for each assignment. The assignment is also posted under Summer
Assignment on my website: http://bulldogbiology.com/ap-environmental-science/
The assignment will be graded as follows:
1. DUE: June 30th-(25 points)
a. Email me: Sign up for a google Gmail account if you do not already have one. Then email
me at mezzettil@gmail.com and briefly introduce yourself and tell me why you are taking
AP Environmental Science. Briefly mention any topic you would find most interested
learning about.
b. Join APES Remind-directions are enclosed in this packet. It’s great-I can remind you
about assignments and last minute information-there is no exchange of personal phone
2. DUE: July 31st - Watch “Home” – The video link in on my website:
http://bulldogbiology.com/ap-environmental-science/ This is a great video that introduces you to
the field of environmental science. The video questions are also posted on my website with the
summer assignment. You can save it as a Word file and email it or put it in my mailbox in the main
office –summer hours 8am-2pm. (50 points)
3. Read Chapters 2 and 3 of the Textbook-this is mostly a review of biology and chemistry. Complete
the Guided Reading Questions and Vocabulary enclosed in this packet. You may do the vocabulary
worksheets enclosed or you may do flashcards if you prefer. All work is to be handwritten. (50
Do not email this assignment.
4. Visit 2 Lynn ecosystems-Lynn Woods, Lynn Beach, Flax Pond, Sluice Pond, and Buchannan Bridge
Pond. Take a picture of yourself with the ecosystem and/ or a sign for that ecosystem. Create a
Word Document and insert your name and your images. Then answer the following questions (50
points) :
i. Name 5 biotic and abiotic factors found in that ecosystem
ii. Identify how the ecosystem has been negatively impacted by humans.
iii. Identify positive impacts by humans that have helped to improve the ecosystem
iv. What needs to be done to make this ecosystem healthier?
v. Bring this printed document to class at our first meeting or email the
document to me no later than September 11th. mezzettil@gmail.com
 Large 3 ring binder-at least 2-3 inches
 Notebook paper
 Bound composition notebook like this at least 100 pages -------
 Pens and pencils for field work and labs/All journal work is to be done
in black pen.
 8 Dividers-First one for Introduction and 7 for each of the topics in APES-highlighted in
yellow on the front inside cover of your textbook. I will give you a more in depth topic
outline in September.
“Home” by Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Watch the video on YouTube and answer the following questions as you go.
The link to the video is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqxENMKaeCU&feature=c4-videos-u
1. Describe the conditions on early Earth.
2. What happened to the carbon that poisoned the atmosphere?
3. How did the agricultural revolution change the Earth?
4. How has Earth changed in the last 60 years since the use of oil has become more widespread?
5. What is most of the grain in the US used for?
6. What led to the dramatic decline in the biodiversity of agricultural crop species?
7. How many kilos of water does it take to produce 1 kilo of beef?
8. How have cars shaped the way housing is laid out in the US and other developed countries?
9. How much has the volume of international trade increased since 1950?
10. What are your thoughts on how the video portrays Dubai? Is it self-sustainable?
11. Rainforests are cut down to make farmland for which products/crops?
12. What makes the growth of Lagos different from how most other cities grow?
13. Where does the water from Greenland’s melting ice sheet go?
14. Why are the glaciers of mountains so important for the people in the lowlands?
15. What hope does the video offer at the end?
This video project covers many topics that we will discuss in APES this year. Give three specific examples that are portrayed in the video about each of the
APES concepts listed below:
APES Concept
All living things are linked.
Video Examples
Developed vs. Developing
Faster and Faster: Human
Innovation & Technology
The Carbon Cycle
Climatic Balance
Shortage of Resources
3. are you most looking forward to learning about this year? What questions do you have?
After watching the film, what topics
Chapter 2 Environmental Systems
Name: _____________________________
Reading Guide
2.1 Earth is a single interconnected system
Using the fisheries of the North Atlantic as an example, come up with a list of ten systems within the larger
system that is Westridge. Five should be whole school systems and five should be smaller systems.
2. Make a list of 5 environmental systems.
2.2 All environmental systems consist of matter
3. What is radioactive decay and why would we study it in environmental science? (see if you can come up with
more than one reason)
4. What is a half life and why would we study it in environmental science?
5. How does carbon dating work?
6. Water has four important properties that help it support life on earth. List the four properties and define
any that you are not familiar with.
7. The pH scale is logarithmic. How much more basic is something with a pH of 10 than something with a pH of
2.3 Energy is a fundamental component of environmental systems
8. What is energy? Name three types of energy.
9. For each situation below, state whether the 1st or 2nd law of thermodynamics applies
a. In a car, only some of the energy from the gasoline is used to propel the car. The rest is lost as heat.
b. Nothing can ever be 100% efficient in terms of converting energy to work.
c. When you walk up a hill you gain the same amount of energy you will lose as you walk down.
d. Your computer, TV, and refrigerator all need a fan to keep from overheating.
e. There is no such thing as perpetual motion.
10. What is the difference between energy efficiency and energy quality?
2.4 Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes
11. Why are there very few plants near the poles? On the bottom of the ocean?
2.5 Systems analysis shows how matter and energy flow in the environment
12. What is the difference between an open and a closed system? Give an example of each.
13. Feedback loops (VERY IMPORTANT). Label the following as a positive or negative feedback loop:
a. The baby boom resulted in lots of children which meant the US population grew. Those children
grew up and had more babies making the population continue to grow b. Cole takes a nap and gets a sticker when he gets up (yay stickers!) so the next day he takes a nap so
that he will get another sticker c. Cole does not take a nap and has to go to bed 1 hour earlier meaning he misses out on taking a walk,
so the next day he takes a nap so he can stay up for the walk –
d. Cole throws a temper tantrum, which means that Mommy stops doing whatever she is doing and he
gets to sit in Mommy’s lap and “talk” about what he did wrong and then Daddy “talks” to him about
it later that night, so he keeps throwing temper tantrums so he can have Mommy and Daddy’s
undivided attention e. Air conditioner and thermostat –
f. Compounding interest –
Chapter 2 Vocabulary List
Periodic Table
Atomic Number
Mass Number
Radioactive Decay
Covalent Bonds
Ionic Bonds
Hydrogen Bond
Polar Molecule
Surface Tension
Capillary Action
Chemical Reaction
Law of Conservation of Matter
Inorganic Compounds
Organic Compounds
Nucleic Acids
Electromagnetic Radiation
Potential Energy
Kinetic Energy
Chemical Energy
First Law of Thermodynamics
Second Law of
Energy Efficiency
Energy Quality
Open System
Closed System
System Analysis
Steady State
Negative Feedback Loops
Positive Feedback Loops
Adaptive Management Plan
Chapter 3 – Ecosystem Ecology
Reading Questions
Name: ____________________________
Why is it difficult to determine what the boundaries to an ecosystem are? Contrast the examples of a cave
versus a forest or desert.
2. How does most energy enter ecosystems? What types of energy conversion occur within ecosystems?
3. How are trophic levels related to flow of energy through an ecosystem? What form is this energy in?
4. What does the productivity of an ecosystem measure?
a. What is the difference between Gross Primary Productivity and Net Primary Productivity? Which one
do you think has more of an influence on an ecosystem?
b. Approximately what percentage of incoming solar energy do plants capture during photosynthesis?
What happens to the rest of it?
5. Why is only a small fraction of energy at each trophic level transferred up to the next trophic level? Where
does the rest of the energy go?
6. Hydrologic Cycle
Name of Step
What process makes this happen?
Why is this step important?
Solar heating of oceans, lakes, soils
Water enters atmosphere to be redistributed
Explain how the hydrologic cycle works:
7. Carbon Cycle
Name of Step w/ description of
What organism/process does it?
Photosynthesis (CO2C6H12O6)
Autotrophs (plants) (producers)
Why is this step important?
Converts abiotic CO2 to biomass
(base of food chain)
Explain how the carbon cycle works:
8. Nitrogen Cycle
Name of Step w/ chemical change
Nitrogen Fixation (N2NH3 or NO3)
What organism/process does it?
N-fixing bacteria (ie in legume roots) OR
fires/lightning OR fertilizer
Explain how the nitrogen cycle works:
Why is this step important?
Puts N in to the base of the food
chain; fertilizer manufacture
9. Phosphorus Cycle
Name of Step w/ description of
Weathering of rock Phosphate PO4
What process/organism does it?
Weathering (by rain, wind, ice,
Why is this step important?
Releases P from rocks in to
reactive form usable by
Explain how the phosphorus cycle works:
10. How does the water cycle help facilitate the other cycles?
11. What human activities cause an impact on the hydrologic cycle? What are these impacts?
12. Explain the difference between the “fast” and “slow” parts of the carbon cycle.
13. Which natural (nonanthropogenic) processes normally return buried carbon to the atmosphere to balance
out the carbon that is buried through sedimentation?
14. Which 2 macronutrients most frequently serve as the limiting nutrient for plant growth in an ecosystem? Is it
different for terrestrial vs. aquatic ecosystems?
15. What are the results of a sudden influx of excess nitrogen or phosphorus in to an ecosystem?
16. How do heterotrophs (consumers) obtain their supplies of macronutrients?
17. When investigating environmental systems, why do scientists often select watersheds as an area in which to
study ecosystems and nutrient/energy cycling?
18. What characteristics do you think give ecosystems high resistance and high resiliency against change?
19. Describe each of the major types of ecosystem services, and how their value can be measured:
Chapter 3 Vocabulary List
Producers (Autotrophs)
Cellular Respiration
Consumers (Heterotrophs)
Primary Consumers
Secondary Consumers
Tertiary Consumers
Trophic Levels
Food Chain
Food Web
Gross Primary Productivity (GPP)
Net Primary Productivity (NPP)
Standing Crop
Ecological Efficiency
Trophic Pyramid
Biogeochemical Cycles
Hydrologic Cycle
Limiting Nutrient
Nitrogen Fixation
Restoration Ecology
Intermediate Disturbance
Instrumental Value
Intrinsic Value