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APES 2012 Intro

Vocabulary for the Introduction Unit

abiotic nonliving
accuracy how close a measured value is to the actual or true value
acid a substance that contributes hydrogen ions to a solution
anthropogenic derived from human activities
atom the smallest particle that can contain the chemical properties of an element
atomic number the number of protons in the nucleus of a particular element
background extinction rate the average rate at which species become extinct over the long term
base a substance that contributes hydroxide ions to a solution
biodiversity the diversity of life forms in an environment
biophilia an appreciation for life
biotic living
capillary action a property of water that occurs when adhesion of water molecules to a surface is stronger than cohesion between the molecules
carbohydrate a compound composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms with the general formula Cx(H20)y; sugars and starches
catalyst any substance that causes or speeds up a chemical reaction without itself undergoing a permanent chemical change
cell a highly organized living entity that consists of the four types of macromolecules and other substances in a watery solution, surrounded by a membrane
chemical energy potential energy stored in chemical bonds
closed system a system in which matter and energy exchanged do not occur across boundaries
compound a molecule containing more than one element
law of conservation of matter a law of nature stating that matter cannot be created or destroyed
control group in a scientific investigation, a group that experiences exactly the same conditions as the experimental group, except for the single variable under study
covalent bond the bond formed when elements share electrons
critical thinking the process of questioning the source of information, considering the methods used to obtain the information, and drawing conclusions; essential to all scientific endeavor
deductive reasoning the process of applying a general statement to specific facts or situations
development improvement in human well-being through economic advancement
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) a nucleic acid, the genetic material that contains the code for reproducing the components of the next generation, and which organisms pass on to their offspring
ecological footprint a measure of how much an individual consumes, expressed in area of land
ecosystem a particular location on Earth distinguished by its mix of interacting biotic and abiotic components
ecosystem service the process by which natural environments provide life-supporting resources
electromagnetic radiation a form of energy emitted by the Sun that includes, but is not limited to, visible light, ultraviolet light, and infrared energy
element a substance composed of atoms that cannot be broken down into smaller, simpler components
energy the ability to do work or transfer heat
energy efficiency the ratio of the amount of work done to the total amount of energy introduced to the system
energy quality the ease with which an energy source can be used for work
entropy randomness in a system
environment the sum of all the conditions surrounding us that influence life
environmental indicator an indicator that describes the current state of an environmental system
environmental justice a social movement and field of study that focuses on equal enforcement of environmental laws and eliminating disparities in the exposure of environmental harms to different ethnic and socioeconomic groups within a society
environmental science the field of study that looks at interactions among human systems and those found in nature
environmental studies the field of study that includes environmental science, environmental policy, economics, literature, and ethics, among others
environmentalist a person who participates in environmentalism, a social movement that seeks to protect the environment through lobbying, activism, and education
feedback loop an adjustment in input or output rates caused by a change in the system
greenhouse gas a gas in Earth's atmosphere that traps heat near the surface
half-life the time it takes for one-half of a sample of an original radioactive parent atom to decay
hydrogen bond a weak chemical bond that forms when hydrogen atoms that are covalently bonded to one atom are attracted to another atom on another molecule
hypothesis a testable theory or supposition about how something works
inductive reasoning the process of making general statements from specific facts or examples
inorganic compound a compound that does not contain the element carbon or contains carbon bound to elements other than hydrogen
input an addition to a system
ionic bond a chemical bond between two oppositely charged ions
isotope an atom of the same element with a different number of neutrons
joule the amount of energy used when a one-watt electrical device is turned on for one second
kinetic energy the energy of motion
lipid a smaller organic biological molecule that does not mix with water; fats, oils, waxes, and steroids, and related compounds
mass a measurement of the amount of matter an object contains
mass number a measurement of the total number of protons and neutrons in an element
matter anything that occupies space and has mass
molecule a particle containing more than one atom
natural experiment a natural event that acts as an experimental treatment of an ecosystem
natural law a theory for which there is no known exception and that has withstood rigorous testing
negative feedback loop a feedback loop in which a system responds to a change by returning to its original state, or by decreasing the rate at which the change is occurring
nucleic acid an organic compound found in all living cells, which form in long chains to make DNA and RNA
null hypothesis a statement or idea that can be falsified, or proved wrong
open system a system in which exchanges of matter or energy occur across system boundaries
organic compound a compound that contains carbon-carbon and carbon-hydrogen bonds
output a loss from a system
periodic table a chart of all chemical elements currently known, organized by their properties
pH the number indicating the strength of acids and bases on a scale of 0 to 14, where 7 is neutral, a value below 7 is acidic, and a value above 7 is basic (alkaline)
photon a massless packet of energy that carries electromagnetic radiation at the speed of light
polar molecule a molecule in which one side is more positive and the other side is more negative
positive feedback loop a feedback loop in which change in a system is amplified
potential energy stored energy that has not been released
power the rate at which work is done
precision how close the repeated measurements of a sample are to one another
protein a long chain of nitrogen-containing organic molecules known as amino acids, critical to living organisms for structural support, energy storage, internal transport, and defense against foreign substances
radioactive decay the spontaneous release of material from the nucleus of radioactive isotopes
replication the data collection procedure of taking repeated measurements
RNA (ribonucleic acid) a nucleic acid that translates the code stored in DNA and allows for the synthesis of proteins
sample size (n) the number of times a measurement is replicated in the data collection process
scientific method an objective method to explore the natural world, draw inferences from it, and predict the outcome of certain events, processes, or changes
speciation the evolution of new species
species a group of organisms that is distinct from other groups in its morphology, behavior, or biochemical properties
steady state a state in which inputs equal outputs, so that the system is not changing over time
surface tension a property of water that results form the cohesion of water molecules at the surface of a body of water and creates a sort of skin on the water's surface
sustainability living on Earth in a way that allows humans to use its resources without depriving future generations of those resources
sustainable development development that balances current human well-being and economic advancement with resource management for the benefit of future generations
systems analysis an analysis to determine inputs, outputs, and changes in a system under various conditions
temperature the measure of the average kinetic energy of a substance
theory a hypothesis that has been repeatedly tested and confirmed by multiple groups of researchers and has reached wide acceptance
the first law of thermodynamics a law of nature stating that energy can neither be created nor destroyed
the second law of thermodynamics the law stating that when energy is transformed, the quantity of energy remains the same, but its ability to do work diminishes
uncertainty an estimate of how much a measured or calculated value differs from a true value
Created by: LepperD