questions assignment rules and formatting requirements.
- Define the terms
- What is a hypothesis? Give two examples.
- What is the role of
hypotheses in science?
- What is a model? Give two examples.
- What is the relationship
between hypotheses and models?
- What is photosynthetically active radiation
- What causes seasons?
- Discuss changes in solar
elevation and length of day and use the mid-latitudes in summer and
winter as a specific example.
- What are the minimum and maximum sun
angles experienced in NYC and at the equator?
- How long is the length of day at the
following latitudes on the summer solstice and winter solstice
(create a table)?
- 30 degrees north
- 40 degrees north
- 60 degrees north
- 80 degrees north
- What is the greenhouse effect and how is it
changing as greenhouse gasses increase?
- Why is it colder at the top of a mountain?
- Describe the temperature and relative
humidity (RH) changes as air moves up a mountain slope.
- Why are the coastal waters of the
southeastern US warmer than the coastal waters off of southern
California? (Assume similar latitudes.)
- What are the intertropical convergence zone
(ITCZ) and subtropical high (STH) and how do they affect global
- Assume that two forests at the equator on the
equinox have the same quantity of leaves (leaf area index. In one
forest, however, the eaves are oriented horizontally (parallel to
the forest floor). In the other forest, the leaves are positioned at
an angle of 60o. How would the availability of light at
the forest floor differ for these two forests at solar noon? In
which forest would the leaves at the bottom of the canopy (lower in
the tree) receive more light at mid morning and why?
- Define the following:
- soil texture
- What is the difference
between texture and structure? Why do they matter?
- Which is easier the
change in a soil, texture or structure. How would you change the
- What do plans, microbes
and soil do for each other?
- What five major factors affect soil
formation? Explain each one.
- What role does weathering play in soil
formation? Describe mechanical and chemical weathering and give two
examples of both.
- What is clay in the context of soil science?
Discuss size, texture class and as a mineral.
- Why are clay minerals important to soils, how
do they influence soil characteristics? How do humans use clay?
- What is soil organic matter?
- How does soil structure influence soil porosity?
Include details about pores and how pores influence movement of air
- What pore characteristics are important besides
pore volume? Describe each one in detail.
- Define the following in terms of soil:
- mass flow
- field capacity
- hydrogen bonding
- What is plant available water?
- How much water is in a clay soil, compared with
a sandy soil, at field capacity and the permanent wilting point? At
field capacity which soil has more plant available water? Why. At
the permanent wilting point which soil has more plant available
- Define the following:
- specific heat capacity. Compare the specific
heat of water with dry and wet soil.
- thermal conductivity of soil.
- Why does a thermometer exposed to the sun give
incorrect readings of the temperature of the surrounding air?
- Why does field soil temperature show little
diurnal variation at a depth of 50 cm (20 inches) below the ground
surface? Why does the seasonal temperature variation at that depth lag
behind the seasonal mean air temperature?
- On a frosty night, orchard owners sometimes
turn on sprinklers or large fans to try to prevent their trees from
freezing. Explain these practices.
- Describe the normal pattern of water removal
from field soil by plants.
- What soil properties influence a pedon's water
- Explain the meaning, in detail, of the following:
- rhizosphere. Include information about all of
the structures and organisms that interact and how they interact.
- root nodule. What kind of bacteria live here
and discuss in detail what these bacteria do.
- Why do so many different kinds of organisms
inhabit the soil?
- Define autotroph and heterotroph.
- What is the function of respiration?
- How does diffusion control the uptake of carbon
dioxide and the loss of water from a leaf?
- How does the availability of water to a plant
constrain the rate of photosynthesis?
- What is the advantage of the C4
photosynthetic pathway as compared to the conventional C3
pathway? How might these advantages influence where these plant
species are found?
- What is the advantage of a lower light
compensation point (LCP) for plant species adapted to low-light
environments? What is the cost of maintaining a low LCP?
- How do plants growing in shaded environments
respond to increase their photosynthetic surface area?
- For a given opening of the stomata (referred to
as stomatal conductance), how will an increase in atmospheric
concentrations of carbon dioxide possibly influence the rate of
photosynthesis? How might this effect the water-use efficiency of the
- Define and relate the following terms to each
- gross primary productivity
- autotrophic respiration
- net primary productivity
- Compare and contrast net primary productivity
and standing biomass for an ecosystem.
- What two factors are the primary influences on
productivity in terrestrial ecosystems and how do they influence
- What are the two major food chains and how are
- How does the type of carbon compounds present
in dead organic matter influence its quality as an energy source for
- How does lignin concentration influence the
decomposition of plant litter?
- How are the processes of photosynthesis and
decomposition involved in the carbon cycle?
- In the temperate zone, is the concentration of
carbon dioxide higher during the day or night? Why?
- Define and characterize the following processes
in the nitrogen cycle:
- What are the major strata in the tropical
rainforest? Discuss how the strata affect transmission of PAR to
- How does the warm, wet environment of tropical
rain forests influence rates of net primary production and
- What distinguishes savannas from grassland
ecosystems? Discuss the climate types associated with both ecosystems.
- What types of leaves characterize the trees of
the following ecosystems and why?
- temperate forests
- What is permafrost and how does it influence
the structure and productivity of boreal forest ecosystems?
Explain why the soils of rain forests are poor for agriculture.
How do plants in tundra differ from plants in other biomes in terms of
size, growth form, and contribution to belowground systems? What
specific environmental constraints are organisms in this environment
exposed to, and how does their form and function allow them to survive
in this area?