Environmental Science


1) If atmospheric carbon dioxide was eliminated from our atmosphere, we would expect that the


Earth would:


A) cool considerably and photosynthesis would dramatically increase


B) cool considerably and photosynthesis would dramatically decrease


C) heat up considerably and photosynthesis would dramatically increase


D) heat up considerably and photosynthesis would dramatically decrease


2) Which of the following is a correlation that is causing widespread concern?


A) As atmospheric oxygen levels decline, the ozone layer is being destroyed.


B) As atmospheric carbon dioxide levels decline, the ozone layer is being destroyed.


C) As levels of methane decline, average global temperatures are increasing.


D) As levels of carbon dioxide increase, average global temperatures are increasing.


3) Which of the following is part of natural capital but not ecosystem capital?


A) solar energy used to drive photosynthesis throughout the biosphere


B) coal and oil reserves


C) the production of electrical energy from wind turbines and dams


D) the genetic diversity of all plants and animals used in modern agriculture


4) From an ecological economist’s perspective, without sustainability, as economies grow:


A) gross national product grows too


B) natural resources are renewed


C) the natural world is depleted


D) natural ecosystems are replenished


5) Natural capital includes ecosystem capital plus:


A) natural forms of energy, such as solar, wind, and flowing water


B) nonrenewable resources such as fossil fuels


C) money available to invest in growing industry


D) all of the products of photosynthesis in the biosphere


6) The concept of sustainability requires that:


A) economic growth does not exceed the renewal of natural capital


B) all sources of energy used in an economy must come from the sun


C) global economic systems are based on the harvesting of natural products


D) economies use equal portions of land, labor, and capital


7) Uncertain about the best way to keep his new lizard alive, Jerome places a heat lamp at one


end of the long lizard cage. Over several days, Jerome notices that the lizard tends to sit in a


certain place when the lamp is on. The lizard’s selection of a particular place to stay


represents its:


A) range of tolerance


B) temperature optimum


C) biotic conditioning


D) use of a limited resource


8) As global climate change warms certain mountain ranges, the temperature optima for the insect


species living on the mountain is causing these insects to:


A) move higher up the mountain


B) move down the mountain


C) move to a new biome


D) become parasitic


9) Energy is lost as it moves from one trophic level to the next because:


A) one trophic level does not consume the entire trophic level below it


B) some of the calories consumed drive cellular activities and do not add mass


C) some ingested materials are undigested and eliminated


D) All of the above.


10) In general, biomes at higher latitudes are most like:


A) biomes at higher altitudes


B) aquatic biomes


C) biomes at lower altitudes


D) biomes at lower latitudes


11) Biomes with more than 75 centimeters (30 inches) of rain a year and that never experience


freezing temperatures are most likely found:


A) at high altitudes


B) nearest the equator at low altitudes


C) at high altitudes in temperate zones


D) at high altitudes and high latitudes


12) Biomes with permafrost are most likely:


A) covered in coniferous forests at high latitudes


B) in temperate zones with deciduous trees


C) located near the poles and without any trees


D) located at high altitudes nearest the equator


13) Biomes with less than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of rain a year are:


A) high in primary productivity


B) likely to have extremely cold winters


C) covered with coniferous trees


D) deserts


14) Which of the following are current limiting factors for future human population growth?


A) pollution and land for agriculture


B) availability of oxygen and water


C) fossil fuels and carbon dioxide production


D) oxygen levels in the atmosphere and availability of sodium chloride


15) According to demographer Joel Cohen, the human carrying capacity:


A) can be calculated in the same way it is determined for other animal species


B) depends upon a standard of living


C) can clearly be determined


D) largely depends upon the availability of fresh water


16) In a significant 2004 paper reviewing 69 studies on world human population and carrying


capacity, the authors estimated that the sustainable carrying capacity of humans for the


planet is about:


A) 600 million


B) 2.5 billion


C) 7.7 billion


D) 20 billion.


17) According to the UN Population Division and a significant 2004 paper reviewing 69 studies


on world human population and carrying capacity, the world population of humans will exceed


carrying capacity in about the year:


A) 2014


B) 2024


C) 2050


D) 2100


18) Which of the following activities would be consistent with the Millennium Development Goals?


A) help communities build technical and trade schools for boys to learn skills in high




B) develop coal, gold, and silver mines wherever possible as quick sources of jobs


C) provide meals and mosquito nets for every child under the age of five


D) encourage the expansion of national militaries to provide income and technical training


19) If the Millennium Development goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 is




A) almost a billion people will still live in extreme poverty


B) no continent will have more than 10,000 people still hungry


C) fertility rates will decline to those of most European nations


D) the rural population of the world will nearly double


20) Which of the following represents the Millennium Development Goal that is least likely to be




A) universal primary education


B) reduced child mortality


C) increased access to clean drinking water


D) decreased maternal childbirth deaths


21) Which of the following affects the greatest number of people in the developing world?


A) water availability


B) lack of primary schools for children


C) inadequate sanitation


D) no childhood immunization for measles


22) A rural farmer most likely obtains drinking water by drilling a deep well to use:


A) gravitational water that has percolated through soil and accumulated as groundwater


B) gravitational water that is retained by the soil and accumulated just above the water




C) capillary water found in surface waters, located above the water table


D) capillary water that has percolated through soil and accumulated below the




23) About 99% of all liquid fresh water on Earth is found in:


A) lakes, including the Great Lakes of North America


B) rivers such as the Amazon, Nile, and Mississippi watersheds


C) underground aquifers


D) the upper few meters of topsoil


24) Which one of the following is fed by groundwater and often drained by seeps or springs?


A) lakes


B) aquifers


C) rivers


D) watersheds


25) In Costa Rica, a heavy downpour provides water that quickly evaporates or is absorbed and


released by the dense vegetation of the tropical rain forest. This is an example of a cycle




A) condensation, evaporation, transpiration, and green water


B) condensation, precipitation, and gravitational water


C) evaporation, gravitational flow, and adiabatic cooling


D) precipitation, gravitational flow, and convection


26) Gutters and storm sewers in a city are most concerned with the:


A) evapotranspiration loop


B) surface runoff loop


C) precipitation loop


D) groundwater loop


27) Which one of the following soil orders is the most typical of drylands and deserts?


A) alfisols


B) oxisols


C) mollisols


D) aridisols


28) A hydric soil is one that:


A) is typical of wetlands and may contain peat


B) is unusually well suited for agriculture


C) is typical of tropical areas that receive abundant rainfall


D) was typical of the U.S. prairie states until the Dust Bowl of the 1930s


29) Which of the following would be best suited for planting crops such as corn or wheat?


A) an irrigated aridisol


B) a fertilized alfisol


C) a plowed oxisol


D) an irrigated gelisol


30) Most plants acquire their minerals from:


A) the recycling of nutrients from detritus


B) the precipitation of minerals from rainfall


C) the weathering of rock


D) dust storms that transport minerals into a region


31) Which of the following would be classified as “soil constraints”?


A) cold climate


B) moderate to heavy rainfall


C) poor drainage, salinity and high levels of aluminum


D) low erosion potential and high levels of phosphorus


32) One of the general concerns about the widespread use of transgenic organisms is the:


A) spread of these transgenic traits to other organisms


B) need to apply more pesticides to crops and plow the soil twice a year


C) reduced yields that result from using bioengineered organisms


D) pressure to bring more land into agricultural production


33) If you live in the United States, chances are that you have consumed some processed food


that includes bioengineered plants:


A) almost every day


B) at most once a month


C) perhaps once a year


D) once in your lifetime


34) Wood pellets are produced from the waste sawdust of lumber and paper mills. Home-heating


stoves burning these pellets can heat homes directly, instead of relying on other energy


sources. Heating your home with wood pellets is:


A) sustainable, less polluting, and more efficient than heating a home using electricity


from a coal-fired power plant


B) sustainable, much more polluting, and is about 30% more efficient than using


electricity from a coal-fired power plant


C) not sustainable but is less polluting and is about as efficient as using electricity from a


coal-fired power plant


D) not sustainable and actually pollutes more than using electricity from a coal-fired


power plant


35) Which one of the following energy sources is most likely to lead to thermal pollution?


A) a coal-fired power plant


B) a large field of windmills


C) a hydroelectric plant


D) a large field of solar cells


36) The future use of electricity to power personal transportation largely depends on:


A) more efficient turbogenerators


B) finding more fossil fuel supplies


C) low-cost, lightweight batteries that can store large amounts of power


D) the development of small turbogenerators for automobiles


37) Instead of only generating more electricity, rising energy demands may also be met by:


A) switching from natural gas to coal


B) switching from coal and natural gas to windmills and solar technologies


C) increasing the efficiency of energy consumption


D) using more nuclear power instead of fossil fuels


38) At present, the total number of long-term, commercial, below-ground nuclear waste


depository sites in use in the United States is:


A) 0


B) 7


C) 23


D) over 100


39) One of the major problems associated with long-term, high-level nuclear waste storage is:


A) selecting an environment that will remain stable for more than 10,000 years


B) determining a cost-effective way to shoot waste into space


C) figuring out how to contain the material so that it does not leak into the ocean


D) creating a secure environment to protect the material from terrorists


40) Yucca Mountain in the state of Nevada is:


A) the location of a leaky nuclear power plant that will cost billions of dollars to clean up


B) the only potential site for long-term commercial nuclear waste storage in the United


States, rejected for safety concerns in 2009


C) a military base that has accumulated low-level and high-level nuclear waste for many




D) the site of a lake that received illegal dumping of nuclear waste in the 1960s


41) NIMBY is:


A) a publicly perceived risk of siting a toxic or nuclear waste disposal facility near their




B) the U.S. federal agency that oversees nuclear power facilities


C) a U.N. organization in Geneva that directs the medical use of radioactive isotopes


D) the deciding factor in the approval of theYucca Mountain disposal site in Nevada


42) The Obama administration’s commission on nuclear power waste disposal recommended:


A) the process of site selection should be kept secret from the public


B) a private for-profit corporation should be engaged to choose and construct the facility


C) that the sites should be spread over dozens of freshwater lakes in the northern United




D) there is an immediate need to develop temporary geological storage sites until a


permanent one is located


43) New Generation III nuclear plants such as the AP1000 Advanced Passive Reactor features:


A) a combination of nuclear fusion and fission in a single design


B) a pressurized water system with many new passive safety features to prevent a LOCA


C) a design that uses a mechanical source of X-rays for power


D) designs based on the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan


44) In a photovoltaic system, an inverter is required to:


A) directly convert surplus electricity into heat


B) generate electricity from solar energy


C) connect the DC current of the solar panel to the AC current of an electrical grid


D) convert AC from the solar panel into DC of the grid


45) Around the world, photovoltaic technology is quickly being adopted to generate electricity in:


A) large scale commercial power plants and on rooftop home units


B) large scale commercial power plants but not yet on rooftop home units


C) rooftop home units but not large scale commercial power plants


D) small electronic applications such as calculators but not yet on rooftops or in


commercial power plants


46) The most costly aspect of photovoltaic technology is being addressed by:


A) inventing a way to convert alternating current to direct current


B) inventing a way to convert direct current to alternating current


C) finding a way to reduce the damaging effects of the sun on solar panels


D) new technologies that reduce the cost of manufacturing solar cells


47) Solar trough technology converts:


A) the ultraviolet light in sunlight directly into electricity


B) the heat of the sun into steam to drive a turbogenerator


C) sunlight into electricity which then produces steam heat


D) the direct current generated by photovoltaic cells into alternating current


48) Some milk becomes contaminated with mercury. If each of the following people consume 16


ounces of this contaminated milk each day for a month, who will most likely be impacted by


this poison?


A) an 82-year-old woman


B) a fetus inside a mother who drinks this contaminated milk


C) a 12-year-old girl


D) a 51-year-old man


49) A pharmacist asks a mother about a new prescription for an antibiotic, wanting to be sure that


the drug is for the mother. The pharmacist is most likely concerned because:


A) antibiotics do not typically work on children


B) most types of antibiotics prescribed to an adult will likely kill a child


C) a normal dosage for an adult can be toxic to a child


D) a normal child’s dosage may be toxic to an adult


50) You learn that an old friend has died from a disease that resulted from their lifelong exposure


to a substance. This loved one most likely died from:


A) whooping cough


B) a bacterial infection


C) cancer


D) malaria


51) Which of the following contains the greatest number of carcinogens?


A) a thick vanilla milkshake


B) a Twinkie snack


C) chewing tobacco


D) tap water from most cities in the United States


52) You examine an ice core sample from 10,000 years ago when global temperatures were


unusually high. Based upon past studies and insights from current GHG levels, we expect that


atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide:


A) and methane were unusually low


B) and methane were unusually high


C) were high but methane levels were low


D) were low but methane levels were high


53) In his movie, An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore warns of increasing levels of carbon dioxide in


the atmosphere which suggest that:


A) methane levels will soon rise, destroying the ozone layer


B) global temperatures will also continue to rise


C) the oceans of the world are losing carbon dioxide


D) clouds are thinning and global precipitation is declining


54) Evidence from proxies indicate eight major oscillations in global temperatures over the past


800,000 years, most likely the result of:


A) rising and falling sea levels that greatly impact photosynthetic activity


B) variations in solar activity that produce different levels of radiation


C) Milankovitch cycles of periodic variations in Earth’s orbits around the sun


D) lunar cycles in which the moon orbits at different distances from the Earth


55) In general, temperatures along an ocean coastline vary less than temperatures 100 miles


inland. This moderation of temperatures along coastlines is because:


A) as the oceans evaporate it cools off the coastlines


B) the sun shines more intensely away from the ocean coastlines


C) ocean temperatures change more quickly than air temperatures


D) ocean temperatures do not change as quickly as air temperatures


56) In our world, something with the greatest heat capacity is able to:


A) evaporate the most water from its surface



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