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ENVRONMENTAL SYSTEMS & SOCIETIES

SEMESTER 1 2014
TUTORIAL TOPIC 1: SYSTEMS

1.

(a)

(i)

Outline the Gaia philosophy.


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(1)

(ii)

Explain the difference between an open system and a closed system.


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(1)

(b)

The first and second laws of thermodynamics suggest that energy is neither made or lost,
merely transformed. Using a named ecosystem, outline how this occurs.
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(3)

(c)

(i)

Explain how socio-political and economic pressures have caused or are causing the
degradation of a named area of biological significance.
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(4)
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(ii)

Describe and evaluate one strategy to address the problems you have identified in
(c) (i).
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(3)
(Total 12 marks)

2.

(a)

Define the following terms.


(i)

Negative feedback
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(1)

(ii)

Positive feedback
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(1)

(b)

Suggest why most ecosystems are negative feedback systems.


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(1)

The diagram below represents a coal fired power station.

sm oke

.... ......... ....

coal

w a rm w a te r

[Source: Adapted from D D Kemp, Global Environment Issues, A Climatological Approach, (Taylor & Francis,1994)
p. 7. Reproduced by permission of Cengage Learning]

(c)

Complete the diagram above by naming the missing input and the two missing outputs.
(2)
(Total 5 marks)

3.

The figure below shows a model of the climatic system.


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R a d ia tio n o u tp u ts fro m
E a rth -a tm o s p h e re

A tm o s p h e re

S o la r in p u ts to
E a rth -a tm o s p h e re

O cean
O c e a n ic
c irc u la tio n

A tm o s p h e ric
c irc u la tio n a n d
c o m p o s itio n

Ic e

C L IM A T E

L and and
te rre s tria l
fe a tu re s

H um an
a c tiv ity
E a rth -a tm o s p h e re s y s te m
E x te rn a l in p u ts a n d o u tp u ts o f th e c lim a tic s y s te m
In te rn a l in te ra c tio n s o f th e c lim a tic s y s te m
[Source: OHare and Sweeney, The Atmospheric System, (1986), Oliver and Boyd, page 189]

(a)

Define the term model.


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(2)

(b)

Identify two internal interactions in the figure above which affect the climate.
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(1)

(c)

List four gases which are part of the atmosphere.


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(2)

(d)

State how solar inputs and Earth outputs differ in their radiation wavelengths.
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(1)

(e)

Outline the ways in which human activity can have an impact on climate.
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(3)

(f)

Evaluate the strengths and limitations of the model in the figure above for describing the
atmospheric system.
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(4)
(Total 13 marks)

4.

(a)

(i)

State the first law of thermodynamics.


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(1)

(ii)

Calculate the amount of energy output in the model below.

In p u t
1000 kJ
e n e rg y

1 0 % lo s s to
a tm o s p h e re

1 5 % s to re d
a fte r lo s s to
a tm o s p h e re

O U TPU T = ?

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(2)

(b)

The diagram below represents a simplified hydrological cycle.


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ATM O SPH ERE

2.

3.

1.

G RO U N D

(i)

4.

Identify the processes corresponding to the arrows labelled 1 to 4 in the diagram.


1.

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2.

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3.

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4.

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(2)

(ii)

Suggest one weakness in the model above.


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(1)

The graph below shows the estimated world water withdrawals from 1960 to 2000.
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3
W a te r w ith d ra w a ls /
1 0 3 k m 3 y r1
2

1960

1965

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

Year
[J Loh, The Living Planet Report, [2002] WWF (panda.org). Some rights reserved.]

(iii)

Calculate the percentage increase in world water withdrawals from 1960 to 2000.
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(2)

(iv)

Suggest three reasons for the increase in water withdrawals during the period 1960
to 2000.
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(3)
(Total 11 marks)

6.

(a)

A tree can be thought of as a system. Draw and label a systems diagram of a tree that
shows inputs, outputs and storages of matter and energy.

(3)

(b)

State two functions of producers in an ecosystem.


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(2)

(c)

For a named ecosystem, draw a food chain with named species showing three
appropriately labelled trophic levels.
(3)

(d)

Outline three reasons for the relative value of tropical rainforests in contributing to global
biodiversity.
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(e)

Explain the role of decomposers in an ecosystem.


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(2)

(f)

Suggest what effect a significant and prolonged decrease in the pH of rainfall would have
on primary productivity in a terrestrial ecosystem. Explain your answer.
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(3)
(Total 16 marks)

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Markingscheme for Tutorial Topic 1: Systems


1.

(a)

(i)

(ii)

(b)

(c)

The Gaia philosophy envisages the entire planet


as a living, self regulating organism;

an open system exchanges energy and material,


a closed system exchanges energy but not material;

sunlight converted by producers;


producers eaten by consumers;
some energy released as heat;
consumers eaten by other consumers;
detrital decay;
(i)

(ii)

3 max

For example coral reefs:


coral reefs increasingly seen as an economic
resource rather than a subsistence resource;
coral reefs have been used for increasingly
intensive fishing;
source of building materials;
sites for tourism;
pollution sink;
cultural and technological change for example
in fishing industry (dynamite fishing);
political motives behind promoting tourist opportunities;
under increasing population pressure;
has led to overfishing (unsustainable);
loss of biodiversity;
damage to extremely vulnerable polyps;
and knock-on effects throughout the ecosystem;

4 max

For example:
conservation areas / national parks;
restricting resource use or allowing resource
use at a sustainable level within the park;
will have economic implications;
can be difficult to police;
ocean is an open system;
indigenous people need to retain control;
victim of your own success;

3 max
[12]

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2.

(a)

(i)
(ii)

(b)

feedback that tends to damp down/neutralize/counteract


any deviation from an equilibrium, and promotes stability;

feedback that amplifies/increases change (it leads to


exponential deviation away from equilibrium);

most ecosystems contain inbuilt checks and balances;


without internal balance an ecosystem would spiral out of control;
without negative feedback no ecosystem could be self-sustaining;

1 max

(c)
sm oke

ste a m / w a te r v a p o u r / w a te r

coal
c o ld w a te r
Three correct [2], one or two correct [1].

energy /
e le c tr ic ity
w a rm w a te r
2 max
[5]

3.

Mark Allocation
1.

A markscheme often has more marking points than the total allows. This is intentional.
Do not award more than the maximum marks allowed for part of a question.

2.

Each marking point has a separate line and the end is signified by means of a semicolon
(;).

3.

An alternative answer or wording is indicated in the markscheme by a slash (/) - either


wording can be accepted.

4.

Words in brackets ( ) in the markscheme are not necessary to gain the mark.

5.

Words that are underlined are essential for the mark.

6.

The order of marking points does not have to be as in the markscheme, unless stated
otherwise.

7.

If the candidates answer has the same meaning or can be clearly interpreted as being of
equivalent significance, detail and validity as that in the markscheme then award the
mark. Where this point is considered to be particularly relevant in a question it is
emphasized by writing OWTTE (or words to that effect).

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8.

Remember that many candidates are writing in a second language. Effective


communication is more important than grammatical accuracy.

9.

Occasionally, a part of a question may require an answer that is required for subsequent
marking points.
If an error is made in the first marking point then it should be penalized. However, if the
incorrect answer is used correctly in subsequent marking points then follow through
marks should be awarded. Indicate this with ECF (error carried forward).

10.

Only consider units at the end of a calculation. Unless directed otherwise in the mark
scheme, unit errors should only be penalized once in the paper.

11.

Mark positively. Give candidates credit for what they have achieved, and for what they
have got correct, rather than penalizing them for what they have not achieved or what
they have got wrong.

12.

Do not penalize candidates for errors in significant figures, unless it is specifically


referred to in the markscheme.

General Essay Markscheme


Each essay is marked out of [20] of which [3] are for expression and development of ideas
(EDI).
[0]

No expression of relevant ideas.

[1]

Expression and development of relevant ideas is limited.

[2]

Ideas are relevant, satisfactorily expressed and reasonably well developed.

[3]

Ideas are relevant, very well expressed and well developed.

Reward detail, sound environmental/ecological concepts, and good examples even if not stated
exactly in the form given in the markscheme.
4.

(a)

a simplified description of reality;


designed to show the structure or workings of an object, system or concept;

(b)

oceanic circulation/ice/human activity/land and terrestrial features;


[1] for any two correct.

(c)

nitrogen/oxygen/carbon dioxide/water vapour/methane/ozone/


other named trace gases;
Four correct [2], three or two correct [1].

(d)

(e)

(f)

solar inputs will be short wavelength, and radiation outputs will be long
wavelength;
pollutant emissions leading to photochemical smogs;
increased global temperatures through burning fossil fuels;
altering chemistry of precipitation through sulfur dioxide/SO2 and
nitrogen oxide/NOx emissions; x depletion of stratospheric ozone
increasing input of UV light;
reducing rainfall through deforestation;

2
1

3 max

strengths:
it stresses the interactions (feedback) within the system;
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represents the complex atmosphere as a system with inputs, outputs


and transfers;
Accept other reasonable strengths.
limitations:
nature of the interactions is not really shown;
some categories are too broad to be helpful e.g. atmospheric circulation;
some interactions are not shown;
relative importance of different parts of the system not shown;
Answer must refer to both strengths and limitations for full marks.

4 max
[13]

5.

(a)

H eat

C O

H eat

L ig h t

H 2O

T is s u e to o th e r
tr o p h ic le v e ls

TREE

L itte r to s o il
N u trie n ts

3 max

W a te r

Award [1] for tree in box, [1] for two matter flows and [1] for two
energy flows.
(b)

(c)

producers convert solar energy into chemical energy through


photosynthesis;
one of the main contributors to organic matter in soil;
through symbiotic bacteria, producers are significant in fixing
nitrogen;
provide habitat for other organisms;
Accept other reasonable statements that show ecological knowledge.

2 max

e.g. Chilean matorral


p ro d u c e r

A c a c ia c a v e n s
C h ile a n th o rn
tre e

3 max
p rim a ry c o n s u m e r
O c to d o n d e g u
ro d en t

se co n d a ry co n su m e r
F e lis g u ig n a /
C h ile a n w ild c a t

Award [1] for appropriately labelled trophic levels, [2] for three
appropriate species or [1] for two appropriate species.
Do not accept rabbit, fox etc., unless there is some identifying
feature i.e. snowshoe hare and arctic fox.
(d)

long-term stability leading to speciation/complexity;


2
high species number per unit area (South America 0.125 species km
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(e)

(f)

versus 0.0027 species km in temperate forests in North America);


high number of endemic species;
limiting factors low and so high productivity leading to high diversity;

3 max

decomposers break down tissue;


release nutrients for reabsorption by producers;
form basis of decomposer food chain (which may be energetically
more important in some ecosystems than grazing food chains);
as chemosynthetic autotrophs may form basis of food chain;
through incomplete breakdown of organic material contribute
to build up of humus and improve nutrient retention capacity in soil;
are vital in nitrogen cycle;

2 max

primary productivity would decrease;


Award [2 max] for the following.
acid rain can damage foliage directly thus reducing photosynthesis;
increase in solubility of nutrients facilitates leaching with consequent
loss of productivity;
increases susceptibility of trees to stresses such as disease/
temperature/insects/fungal infection;

3 max
[16]

6.

(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

(e)

interval between 1st and 2nd peak is about 90 days and interval
between 2nd and 3rd peak is approximately 75 days;
90 75
2
= 82.5 80 ( 4 days)/15 January + 80 days 20 April ( 5 days)

T. occidentalis: 7; (1)
E. sexmaculatus: 1550; ( 50)
Both needed for [1].

(i)

25 to 30 September; (3 days)

(ii)

10 December; (2 days)

(i)

15 days; (5 days)

(ii)

the predator population takes some days to take advantage


of the increase in prey;
availability of food facilitates reproduction of prey;
predator cannot increase in number without access to
food and so must wait for increase in prey;

(i)

1 max

the increase in prey leads to a corresponding increase in


predator which corrects the trend towards increase in prey;
the decrease in prey leads to a corresponding decrease in
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predator which corrects the trend towards decrease in prey;


the periodic nature of the population curves indicates a
feedback controlled interaction;

2 max

elimination of predators/competitors;
modern medicine decreasing effect of disease;
elimination of density-dependent limiting factors;
importation of food or resources from other areas to
overcome shortages;
increased efficiency in utilization of resources;
our ability to colonize almost any habitat;
tools and technology;

3 max

melting of polar ice caps causes lowering of planetary albedo thus


increasing amount of solar energy at Earths surface, leading to
increase in temperature;
melting of tundra through warming causes release of methane
causing more warming;
increased evaporation leading to increased precipitation at poles
triggering net cooling;

2 max

(ii)

(f)

[14]

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