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Common Study Questions for Prelim 2

by: Erica

Common Study Questions for Prelim 2 BIOEE 1540

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A Compilation from previous years of important information that is recycled throughout the years!
Introductory Oceanography
Bruce C. Monger
Study Guide
Oceanography Prelim 2
50 ?




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This 16 page Study Guide was uploaded by Erica on Sunday November 1, 2015. The Study Guide belongs to BIOEE 1540 at Cornell University taught by Bruce C. Monger in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 51 views.


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Date Created: 11/01/15
Biological Ocean  Oceanographers want to study ocean primary production BECAUSE Photosynthesis takes up carbon dioxide on a globally significant scale.  The definition of Net Primary Production is the difference between the rate of CO taken up by phytoplankton cells through 2 photosynthesis AND the rate of CO 2 released by phytoplankton cells through respiration and the rate of accumulation of carbon in phytoplankton cells.  The compensation light level refers to the light level where photosynthesis and respiration are equal  Oceanic primary production is an active area of research because it is an important component of the global carbon cycle  Net Primary Production involves photosynthesis, construction of complex organic matter and Respiration  True statement: when phytoplankton are growing in the light limited range of light intensity, net primary production will increase with increasing light intensity.  Small phytoplankton cells have a growth advantage at low nutrient concentrations  The main source of iron input to the surface ocean layer is from dust blowing off of continents  Primary production along the equator in the eastern Pacific and Atlantic oceans (extending well out from the coasts of Peru and Africa, respectively) is high because: the trade winds force an Ekman layer divergence in combination with the upward tilt of the thermocline toward the east.  TRUE statement: Recycled Primary Production is the portion of Total Primary Production that does not sink into the deep ocean  Primary production along coastal areas is high because: tidal mixing is enhanced over shallow continental shelf regions  In the Westerly Wind Belt Region (30-60 degree latitude), there is strong seasonal variation in sea-surface temperature in both the Pacific and Atlantic but the depth of winter mixing is greater in the Atlantic because the surface salinity in the Atlantic is greater than the Pacific  Critical Depth: the depth to which phytoplankton can mix where the time they spend below the compensation depth losing carbon just balances the time they spend above the compensation depth gaining carbon  When the mixed-layer rises well above the critical depth during springtime in the North Atlantic, phytoplankton photosynthesis exceeds respiration  The approximate magnitude of net primary production in the global ocean is 50 Gigatons  Net primary production in the ocean is about 50% of global net primary production  The definition of Pelagic Environment is the water column environment  In order to make sense out of the confusing mix of all the organisms that make up pelagic communities, oceanographers classify organisms into broad groups based on: Autotrophic, Heterotrophic, and Body Size  The impact light saturated levels of light intensity have on phytoplankton net primary production: this light intensity produces the maximal levels of net primary production  Selenium is NOT one of the four nutrients discussed in class that can occasionally limit the growth rate of phytoplankton  Iron primarily enters the surface layer of the ocean by the winds that blow iron-rich dust off of continents.  Subtropical Gyres have low levels of primary production per square meter because there is a persistent lens of warm low-nutrient surface water that depresses the thermocline and associated nutricline  Primary production along the equator in the Eastern Pacific (near Peru) is high because: the trade winds force an Ekman layer divergence in combination with the relatively shallow thermocline in the east (off Peru).  Strong coastal upwelling is seasonal.  True statement: Phytoplankton can mix from the top of the ocean to below the compensation depth and still sustain a positive net primary production over the course of a day.  North Atlantic experiences a strong spring phytoplankton bloom because of deep winter mixing brings nutrients to the surface AND the springtime formation of a shallow thermocline holds phytoplankton in the well-lit zone of the surface ocean  All of the open-ocean regions summed together represent the most ocean primary production  Thank the ocean for every other breath you take because photosynthesis makes oxygen and approximately half of the entire planet’s primary production occurs in the ocean.  Southern Ocean is iron (Fe) limited  Meroplankton refers to organisms that live only part of their life in the water column  Copepods are NOT an example of Meroplankton.  Pelagic food webs are strongly size-structured. This means size determines almost everything about an organism’s role in the food web – who it eats and who eats it.  Exploitation Efficiency is the efficiency that members of one trophic level are able to find, capture and ingest all the members of the lower trophic level  Gross Production Efficiency is less than 100% because of respiration, egestion, and excretion  Trophic Level refers to the nutritional level within a food chain or food web (e.g., primary producer, primary consumer)  Copepod populations that come out of winter diapaus (hibernation) at the start of the spring phytoplankton bloom in the North Atlantic are expected to have a low exploitation efficiency  Phytoplankton growth is decoupled from grazer consumption in early spring bloom periods at mid and high-latitude regions of the North Atlantic  Gross Production Efficiency is a measure of a consumer’s physiological efficiency of converting the mass of prey into the mass of consumer  If there are 3 trophic steps between primary producers (phytoplankton) and commercially harvestable fish and you start with 1000 units of phytoplankton, you should expect 1 unit of harvestable fish. phytoplankton  herbivore  small fish  harvestable fish Marine Viruses, Bacteria, and Microbial Processes  The introduction of the Epifluorescent Microscope brought about a revolution in biological oceanography because this new observational tool led oceanographers to discover that heterotrophic bacteria were much more abundant than previously thought  In 1988 a new technology called Analytical Flow Cytometry was applied to oceanographic research, and with this new way of seeing the ocean, the following type of organism was discovered to be in high abundance in oligotrophic waters autotrophic bacteria  Prochlorococcus is a type of autotrophic bacteria responsible for most of the primary production that takes place in the oligotrophic open- ocean regions.  Marine heterotrophic bacteria are growing on dissolved organic matter  The vast majority of living biomass in oligotrophic open-ocean environments is NOT in the form of large (about 100 micron diameter) phytoplankton cells and herbivorous copepods.  Most of the living biomass in the oligotrophic subtropical gyre regions (i.e., most of the ocean area on the planet) is found within heterotrophic and autotrophic bacteria  The typical ratio of the number of viruses to the number of bacteria in the pelagic environment is about 10 viruses for every bacteria cell  The percentage of pelagic bacteria mortality that can be attributed to marine viruses is 20% to 50%  The pelagic marine virus community is considered to have a Very high diversity of virus groups  Host cells infected by marine viruses typically die from Cell lysi  The level of mortality that marine viruses can inflict upon host populations has a 10- 50% of total mortality  Marine viruses can maintain high genetic diversity among communities of heterotrophic bacteria and/or phytoplankton because of the viruses’ ability to kill “the winners” that would otherwise overgrow the rest of the community  The community of marine viruses IS highly diverse Chemical Oceanography  TRUE statement: Fecal material from copepods and other flea-size crustaceans is an important component of the overall downward carbon flux to the deep ocean  In low nutrient environments most of the nitrogen that is taken up by phytoplankton is recycled as ammonia and taken back up by the phytoplankton  The ratio of New Primary Production relative to Total Primary Production increases with increasing nutrient concentration.  The Biological Carbon Pump is at its most inefficient in oligotrophic conditions  The Eutrophic coastal upwelling region is expected to have an efficient biological carbon pump  Given that Total Primary Production = New Primary Production + Recycled Primary Production, the contribution of Recycled Primary Production will be its most pronounced in the Oligotrophic subtropical gyre region  Biological oceanographers would be most interested in understanding how the nutrient that limits the growth of phytoplankton is cycled through pelagic ecosystems  FALSE statement: Bottom Trawling uses fishing nets that come very close to the seafloor but do not actually contact or disrupt the seafloor.  A Purse Seine is typically deployed to catch Shallow water fish  The global fish catch is currently about 80 million metric tons annually  Larval fish starvation is strongly affected by timing of food arrival relative to the timing of larval fish hatching  A common strategy for avoiding predation while fish are in the larval stage of life is to grow as fast as possible  A popular strategy used by zooplankton to avoid being preyed upon by visual predators is to migrate down out of the surface layer of the ocean during the daytime and come back up to the surface layer at night.  Total fish production summed over all coastal regions is far greater than total fish production summed over all open-ocean regions because many more trophic steps are needed to go from phytoplankton to harvestable fish in the open ocean versus coastal environments  Heterotrophic bacteria are important consumers of dissolved organic carbon in the ocean  Fisheries management attempts to maintain fish population abundance at a level that produces a maximal rate of population growth  TRUE: Using a logistic growth model, Maximal Sustainable Yield is achieved when the fish population is held at 1/2 the carrying capacity of the natural environment  The carrying capacity of the natural environment DOES NOT remain constant over time  The two opposing forces that determine the three phases of water (solid, liquid and gas) are H-bonds and thermal (kinetic) energy  We now have a net addition of heat accumulating in the earth system each year. If more of this net heat energy addition were to go into the ocean versus into the atmosphere or land, the rate of increase in global average temperatures would slow down  The salinity of surface ocean water is determined by the difference between evaporation and precipitation.  TRUE statement: The salinity of the ocean varies greatly from location to location, but the relative proportion of one ion to another does not change.  As the deep water from the North Atlantic slowly moves down and around the Southern Ocean and up into the North Pacific, phosphate concentration increases as the deep water moves from the North Atlantic to the North Pacific  The marine snow (fluffy dead organic material) raining out from above the thermocline region serves as food for microbial growth causing microbial respiration to strongly outweigh oxygen production in this zone; this is responsible for the Oxygen Minimum Zone that is found just below the thermocline  As global warming causes the surface ocean water above the thermocline to warm relative to the deeper water and thereby increase the strength of the thermocline, the oxygen concentrations will become even lower than they are today  CO 2oncentrations are generally lower in the surface layer of the ocean relative to the deep ocean because photosynthesis takes up CO 2  When atmospheric CO in2reases due to fossil carbon emissions, the surface ocean becomes more acidic  The deep ocean is the largest mobile reservoir of CO 2n the planet?  Latent Heat is transported from one part of the planet to another part through winds that carry water vapor  Water is a highly polar molecule  Water molecules in the crystal lattice of ice are held together with weak hydrogen bonds  When water evaporates from the ocean surface, latent heat is transferred from the ocean to the atmosphere  The relative proportion of sodium to chloride to magnesium, and other ions making up the salt content of seawater, DOES NOT changes dramatically over the surface ocean.  Seawater salinity is initially set at the ocean surface and then when the water sinks into the ocean interior, the salinity remains unchanged except when mixed with other deep- sea water of different salinity  Surface salinity is typically highest in Subtropical gyres  If there were 10 million metric tons of magnesium ions in the ocean and if river input of magnesium were approximately 1 metric ton per year. The average residence time of a single magnesium ion in the ocean would be 10 million years  FALSE statement: Salt ions like sodium and chloride entered the ocean when it was first formed about 4 billion years ago and these same ancient ions have remained dissolved in the ocean ever since this time.  An example of a non-conservative constituent in seawater is Carbon dioxide  The total amount of salt contained in the ocean has not changed for millions of years due to the fact that the modern ocean is constantly receiving new salt every day from weathering rocks on land that washes in from rives and streams, but this input is exactly balanced by chemical processes the precipitate out the exact same amount of salt minerals so there is no net gain over time.  If you boiled 1000 grams of seawater to remove all the water and found 29 grams of salt remaining, then the salinity of the seawater is 29.0‰  The salinity of all ocean seawater (both surface water and deep-ocean water) was originally set at the sea surface through the exchange of fresh water between the ocean surface and the atmosphere  TRUE statement: The salinity of all ocean seawater (both surface water and deep-ocean water) was originally set at the sea surface through the exchange of fresh water between the ocean surface and the atmosphere  FALSE statement: The relative proportion of ions found in seawater varies considerably depending on geographic location (e.g., equatorial versus subtropical)  Surface salinity is highest in the subtropical gyre regions because evaporation minus precipitation is greatest in these regions  Nitrate concentration in the deep ocean (about 4000 meters deep) becomes higher when going from the North Atlantic to the North Pacific because the deep conveyor belt circulation steadily gains particulate organic matter from the surface layer, and as it moves along through time the organic matter is remineralized to nitrate.  FALSE statement: CO 2 is highest in the surfacecean and lowest in the deep ocean  Oxygen concentration is at its lowest point just below the sunlit layer (euphotic zone) of the ocean because respiration fuelled by the raining down of dead organic material from above is used by microbes that also, in turn, consume oxygen  Adding CO 2 to seawater Increases the acidity of the ocean by a chemical reaction with water  Carbon dioxide is high in the deep ocean because remineralization of dead organic material occurs in the deep ocean.  When carbon dioxide is added to the ocean, it reacts with water to form, hydrogen Ions  The ocean WILL get more acidic as atmospheric CO in2reases Rocky Intertidal Communities, Coral Reefs, and Whales  Organisms typically distributed in the rocky intertidal by They live in specific vertical zones of predictable species composition between the high and low tide marks  Physical stress such as temperature or desiccation sets the upper limit in vertical elevation of a given species in the rocky intertidal  When sea otters are removed, kelp forest density decreases  Corals are animals with tentacles that feed on zooplankton, but they also get nutrition from algal symbionts called Zooxanthellae that reside in the coral tissue. 60-90% of the coral s overall nutrition typically comes from algal symbionts  The solid support structure that forms the hard base upon which corals live is composed of Calcium Carbonate  FALSE statement: Corals need space to grow, but they are passive creatures and only grow into spaces that are already open and do not rely on any sort of direct engagement/warfare with other corals for space.  Coral bleaching, and the subsequent coral death, begins when normally expected ocean temperatures increase by about 1-degree C for a few weeks  About 27% of global coral reef loss has occurred over the past few decades  When atmospheric carbon dioxide reaches Kyoto Protocol levels, there is an expected complete loss of reefs  Whales evolved from a hoofed wolf  If you had a chance to jump into the ocean and swim with a whale, a member of the Mysticetes would be less likely to eat you  Whale vocalizations can be used for prey detection, communication, sexual selection, and navigation  There is currently an international whaling moratorium in place, but Japan, Norway, and Iceland continue to hunt whales using loopholes in the moratorium provisions.  Whale songs are typically displayed graphically on a spectrogram with frequency on the y-axis and time on the x-axis and color depicting the intensity at a given frequency and time  The maximum distance that sound will travel from large whales that vocalize at low frequencies is greater than 1000 miles  As anthropogenic noise increases in the ocean due to shipping and oil exploration, the distance over which whales can effectively communicate with each other will decrease El Niño and Other Natural Oscillations  During El Nino conditions the Walker Circulation Cell slows down and/or reverses direction.  During El Nino conditions, Peru s coastal productivity declines because the thermocline is pushed deeper and this makes it harder for mixing and upwelling to bring nutrients to the ocean surface.  El Nino conditions are monitored using an array of moored buoys that stretch across the entire Pacific Ocean, orbiting satellites, AND research ships.  The effects of El Nino can reach well beyond regions in the Pacific Ocean because it perturbs the Jet Stream in the atmosphere which can change predominant wind directions all around the world Anthropogenic Global Warming  During the industrial era, the concentration of atmospheric C2 had increased from about 280 to 385 ppm  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a group organized by the United Nations that is comprised of thousands of the world’s leading climate scientists  The earth warmed About 0.8 C, or equally, 1.4 F since the start of the Industrial Era  The sea-level has risen 20 cm since the start of the Industrial Era  The earth has NOT warmed uniformly at all latitudes over the past century  How the “greenhouse effect” works: Short wavelength radiation passes through the atmosphere to warm the earth, which then radiates infrared energy at long wavelengths that are absorbed by greenhouse gases like CO , and2this absorbed energy warms the atmosphere.  The argument that humans are largely responsible for the observed global warming comes largely from comparing results from numerical climate models that include only natural climate forcing and models that include both natural forcing plus human forcing (i.e. increased atmospheric CO ) and2seeing that only the later case matches direct observations.  There has there been a significant loss of the ice cover in the Arctic Ocean over the past 30 years  The current big concern about the Greenland glaciers is that water from melting ice is seeping under the glaciers to lubricate the boundary between ice and land, allowing the glaciers to slide into the ocean faster than previously estimated  Based on geologic records comprising millions of years, sea level typically rises 150 feet when in equilibrium with 550 ppm of CO2in the atmosphere (Kyoto Protocol Level)?  The biggest concern about melting tundra is the release of methane, leading to more warming, and thus more release of methane and even more warming  CO 2ap and Trade is a regulatory method to set a cap on how much total CO 2 can be emitted by granting a finite amount of emission vouchers that can be bought and sold among folks who emit CO and also with folks who sequester CO 2 2  About 20-30% of the energy that is produced at power plants in the United States makes it through the electrical grid system to homes and industries  We could alter the radiation budget of the earth to prevent the warming effect caused by elevated CO levels by launching a bunch 2 of mirrors into earth orbit to reflect sunlight before it reaches earth, putting a bunch of sulfate (dust) particles into the stratosphere to block sunlight from reaching the earth, and artificially making a bunch of clouds to reflect the sunlight back to space  There IS NOT enough land area on earth to grow enough trees to remove an adequate amount of CO f2om the atmosphere and prevent substantial global warming?  The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report DOES state that the evidence that humans are the principle cause of observed global warming is “unequivocal”  Atmospheric carbon dioxide, is called a greenhouse gas because it allows short wavelength radiation coming in from the sun to pass through and absorbs long wavelength radiation emitted by the Earth s warm surface  The global average temperature warmed 1.4 degrees F over the past 100 years  Summer ice sheet cover in the Arctic in 2007 reached the lowest extent ever recorded  The strongest evidence linking global warming to human activities is many distinctly different numerical climate models run by distinctly separate groups of scientists located in Japan, the United States, Great Britain, Germany and elsewhere that all require both natural and human added CO2 to get the models to recreate the observed global warming pattern that has occurred since the industrial era.  An example of a positive climate feedback: Melting tundra permafrost releases large amounts of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) that was frozen in the peat of the tundra. The release of methane gas raises global temperatures that melt more permafrost which releases more methane and further warms the earth, causing still more permafrost to melt.  Neesha Schnepf (a fellow student in this class), Erin Gutbrod (a TA in this class) and 53 other students lined up on Libe Slope to form the number 350 with their bodies because they were trying to raise public awareness that many climate scientists now think that the safe upper limit of 550 ppm atmospheric CO2 set by the Kyoto Protocol is too high and that, in fact, an upper limit of 350 ppm atmospheric CO2 is what is needed to stabilize the cryosphere and maintain healthy Earth ecosystem function  Geoengineering is a type of global-scale engineering that deals with counteracting global temperature rise caused by anthropogenic CO2 increases by removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it underground or in the deep ocean AND by blocking sunlight energy from reaching the earth s surface  Scientists ARE seriously considering growing marine algae instead of corn as a source of fuel to run all the transportation needs of the planet by 2050


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