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Mid-Term Exam Questions

With the brief introduction to environmental studies, thus far, we have understood the different concepts presented through the material of the book “Essential Environment: The Science Behind the Stories”. We have learned that all living and non-living things are interconnected and depend upon each other. Humans, as the most developed species, also have the biggest responsibility for their actions and their effects on nature. Furthermore, humans have the largest impact on the environment, transforming the environment in accordance to their own needs. This impact is positive when humans work in regard to the environment, while, when they choose to prioritize their needs, they cause negative impact.

The purpose of this assignment is to reflect on our knowledge of the material covered so far. Also, this assignment presents an opportunity to check whether we have understood the material enough, as to be able to generate our own questions.


Chapter 1 – “An Introduction to Environmental Science”

Environmental science helps us discover our environments and binds us closer to it. Moreover, through environmental science we see the impact and the problems that humans cause to the environment. After identifying the problems, we try to find adequate solutions for them in order to protect and improve our living space. Furthermore, humans engage in interactions between all living and non-living things and try to understand this interaction through hypothesis and experiments.

Multiple questions:

1. Environment is

a) The interaction between humans and the build environment
b) The interaction between humans and all living and non-living things
c) The interaction between humans and animals
d) The interaction between humans and insects

2. The Triple Bottom Line is a representational chart which includes which fields of value and criteria:

a) Sociological, environmental and economic
b) Sociological, political and biological
c) Biological, environmental and economic
d) Biological, sociological and environmental

3. Eco-centrism describes what kind of view of the environment

a) Human-centered view
b) Biotic view
c) General, ecological view
d) Forest-centered view

4. Sustainability and triple bottom line demand:

a) Limit our environmental impact
b) Increase our environmental impact
c) Maintain our environmental impact
d) Decrease our environmental impact

5. Ecological Footprint is:

a) The environmental impact of a person or a population
b) The environmental impact of animals
c) The environmental impact of plants
d) None of the above


6. Natural resources that are replaced over time are called nonrenewable resources.
a) True
b) False

7. An experiment tests the validity of a prediction or a hypothesis.
a) True
b) False


8. Match the following terms with their appropriate explanations:
a) Ecology                                                1) the study how the natural world works and interaction
b) Environmentalism                          2) the interaction between all living and non-living things
c) Environmental science                 3) social movement dedicated to protect the environment
d) Sustainability                                    4) the study of interactions of living and non-living environment
e) Environment                                      5) having minimal long-term effect on the environment

Essay Questions:

9. Distinguish the difference (if any) between Thomas Malthus’ theory of over population and the current situation of population growth

10. Using the images below, explain how and why the world is facing a sustainability crisis due to large ecological footprints

Countries are shown in proportion to the amount of natural resources they consume. (1)

countries are defined as consuming their own natural resources, or resources from elsewhere, more quickly than they can recover, or they may be releasing more CO2 than they can absorb themselves. (2)


Chapter 2 – “Chemistry of Life”

From single cell organisms, life developed into complex communities of different organisms. Composed of molecular blocks such as carbohydrates, lipids and proteins, organisms undergo chemical processes to transform energy, used by all living things. Moreover chemistry helps us understand the world around us, and helps us lower our impact on the environment or find solutions for existing problems.

Multiple choice:

1. The number of protons and electrons is always:

a) Equal
b) More protons than electrons
c) More electrons that protons
d) None of the above

2. Basic solutions have a pH value:

a) Greater than 7
b) Less than 7
c) Between 3 and 10
d) Equal to 7

3. Hydrocarbons contain:

a) Only hydrogen
b) Hydrogen and carbon
c) Hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen
d) Oxygen and carbon

4. Long chains of repeated molecules are:

a) Lipids
b) Proteins
c) Carbohydrates
d) Polymers

5 The following picture presents what type of energy (3):

a) Potential Energy
b) Kinetic Energy
c) Chemical Energy
d) Solar Energy

True or False:

6. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can change forms and be created or destroyed.
a) True
b) False

7. No oxygen existed in the atmosphere until microbes developed photosynthesis.
a) True
b) False


8. Match the following terms with their appropriate explanations:
a) Physical Exercise                                                                                   1) Fossils
b) Create their own food                                                                           2) Heterotrophs
c) Eat other organisms for food                                                             3) Kinetic Energy
d) Use inorganic energy sources, such as hydrogen sulfide,
elemental sulfur, ferrous iron                                                                4) Autotrophs
e) Imprints of organisms conserved in stones                                5) Chemoautotrophs

Essay Questions:

9. Identify the three states of energy, and give an example of each one.

10. Generalize how bacteria can be used for sewage treatment


Chapter 3 – “Evolution”

The idea of evolution states that species change over time. Species, most commonly, live organized in populations and communities. As such, evolution occurs when an organism needs to adapt to an environment so that it can survive. Moreover, species adaptation sometimes leads to extinction, due to drastic change of the environment caused naturally or by humans.

Multiple choice:

1. Which of these species would be least vulnerable to extinction:

a) An endemic species that only live in a certain forest with a high chance of wildfires every summer
b) A species that lives near the Nile river
c) A species that is present in Europe and Asia
d) A species that eats only small insects

2. Which of the following are K-selected species traits:

a) Reproduction Early in Life
b) Many small Offspring
c) Parental care
d) All of the above

3. Darwin’s theory of evolution states that:

a) Individuals of a species vary only due to their genes, and are not affected by environment
b) Every individual of a species has the exact same chances of survival as the next one
c) Organisms tend to produce more offspring that can survive
d) None of the above

4. The following picture can be described as (4):

a) Clumped Distribution
b) Uniform Distribution
c) Random Distribution
d) Not enough info is given

5. The first living organisms were:

a) Eukaryotic
b) Prokaryotic
c) Both eukaryots and prokaryots were present when the first living cells emerged
d) None of the above

True or False:

6. Allopatric speciation occurs when species form due to physical separation of a population
a) True
b) False

7. Paleontologists estimate that only a small number of all species that ever lived are now extinct
a) True
b) False


8. Match the following terms with their appropriate explanations:
a) Accidental changes in DNA that may be passed on the next gen.           1) Extinction
b) Trait that promotes reproductive success                                                        2) Extirpation
c) The disappearance of a species from the planet                                              3) Niche
d) The disappearance of a particular population from a given area            4) Adaptation
e) The organism’s use of resources and its role in a community                   5) Mutation

Essay Questions:

9. Describe Darwin’s idea of natural selection, and how it explains the extinction of species

10. Develop a scenario to explain how allopatric and sympatric speciation might occur at a given area


Chapter 4 – “Biomes and Communities”

The world is interconnected web where living and non-living things are in constant interaction. Thus, certain locations on the globe share common climate and vegetation structure due to the same latitudinal position. The difference among the climate and vegetation increases as one location distances from the equator. The more distant the location is, the colder and the less vegetated the location appears.

Multiple questions:

1. Which of these factors affect a biome:

a) Temperature
b) Precipitation
c) Soil
d) All of the above

2. The following position of the Earth would mean that the northern hemisphere experiences (5):

a) Summer
b) Spring’s Equinox
c) Winter
d) Fall’s Equinox

3. The Biome found on the Equator distinguished by lots of rain and high temperature, but low soil fertility is:

a) Tropical Savanna
b) Tundra
c) Tropical Rain Forest
d) Boreal Forest

4. The following picture is an example of (6):

1. A food web
2. A food pyramid
3. Both a food web and a pyramid
4. None of the above

5. Two species that work together to achieve a better life for both species is an example of:

a) Predation
b) Competition
c) Mutualism
d) Parasitism

True or False:

6. Deserts always have high temperatures
a) True
b) False

7. The soil in tropical forests is very fertile
a) True
b) False


8. Match the following terms with their appropriate explanations:
a) Soil at or below freezing point of water                                          1) Pioneer Species
b) High temperatures, lots of rain, present on the equator        2) Desert Biome
c) Can be found in only one place                                                          3) Permafrost
d) Little to no rain, either very hot or very cold temperature  4) Tropical Rain Forest Biome
e) First species to arrive in a primary succession area                 5) Endemic Species

Essay Questions:

9.Select one keystone species in any biome and explain why it is considered to be a keystone species and what might happen if its absent

10. Classify the relation between a whale and doctor fish (Garra rufa / Cyprinion macrostomus) and consider how it affects both species


Chapter 6 – “Environmental Ethics and Economics: Values and Choices”

Humans are facing a catastrophic consequence if they don’t use nature’s resources sustainably. Most of the time we take nature for granted and abuse her. The usage of natural resources, in free market capitalist systems, guided by classical and neoclassical economic theories, is dependently related to the economic market, which creates a monetary value on natures’ treasures and a clash between a monetary and moral interest. However, there are many national and international policies which contribute to conscious usage of natural resources and protection of the environment.

Multiple questions:

1. Difference between desirable and undesirable economic activity is expressed by:

a) GDP
b) GPI
c) NEW

2. Contingent valuations use ___ to determine how much people are willing to pay to protect or restore a resource:

a) Experiments
b) Surveys
c) Hypothesis
d) Researches

3. Market prices, in neoclassical economics, are explained in terms of:

a) Buyer preferences
b) Consumer preferences
c) Environmental preferences
d) Production and consumer preferences

4. Renewable resources:

a) Can be depleted if overused
b) Can never be depleted
c) Can never be depleted, even if overused
d) None of the above

5. Biocentrism states that:

a) Only humans have rights
b) Humans are inseparable from nature
c) Whole ecological systems have value
d) Certain living things also have value


6. Environmental economics focuses on production and consumption.
a) True
b) False

7. Environmental ethics is the application of ethical standards to relationships between humans and non-human entities.
a) True
b) False


8. Match the following terms with their appropriate explanations:
a) Whole ecological systems have value                                               1) Eco-labeling
b) Taxes based on pollution generated                                                  2) Externalities
c) How people use resources to provide goods and services       3) Green Taxes
d) Tells consumers which brands use sustainable processes       4) Ecocentrism
e) Costs or benefits involving people other than the buyer or    5) Economics

Essay Questions:

9. Explain how corporations are responding to sustainable development and discuss how they are abusing the eco-labeling process

10. See the following video and demonstrate why ‘Western’ thought of environmental ethics differs from the North American Natives (7).

After finishing this assignment, we confirmed our knowledge of the chapters covered so far, and we further understood the concepts presented in the same chapters. Creating questions is a great way of gaining critical insight on complex topics, sustainable development, the beginning of life, natural preservation, etc. In conclusion, we believe that humans should be more responsible for their actions, decrease their environmental footprint and be cautious for future generations.


(1) (2)”BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | The Living Planet: Facts and Figures.” BBC News – Home. Web. 25 Mar. 2011.

Withgott, Jay, and Scott Brennan. Essential Environment: the Science behind the Stories. San Francisco: Pearson, 2009. Print.

(3)Strogilis, Chris. “Learn How to Excercice” Total Fitness. 27 Nov. 2009. Web. 26 Mar. 2011. <;.

(4) (6) “Pictures 2-1” UCLA DMA Class Websites. Web. 26 Mar. 2011. <;.

(5) “Winter Solstice 2008.” Wiccanweb. 18 Aug. 2008. Web. 26 Mar. 2011. <;.

(6) “Fluctuation in Population Size.” ETap ELearning. Web. 26 Mar. 2011. <;.

(7)”Environmental Ethics – All Things Are Connected.” YouTube. Ethics Online, 20 Apr. 2010. Web. 26 Mar. 2011. <;.