4. Discuss soils, ecosystems, and biomes. Include in your discussion what you learned more about the geography of soils; ecosystem essentials; and terrestrial biomes. Also discuss how geoscientists study the planet to come to the conclusions they do. Finally discuss why you think it is significant to study these topics.

Note: This question asks you to summarize chapters 18, 19, and 20. Chapter 18 (“Geography of Soils”) covers soils, soil formation and profiles, physical properties of soils, soil chemistry, and impacts like desertification. Chapter 19 (“Ecosystem Essentials”) covers ecology, biogeography, ecosystems, oxygen/carbon/nitrogen cycles, communities and ecological niches, biological evolution. Chapter 20 (“Terrestrial Biomes”) covers biogeography, plant communities, biomes, ecosystem management and conservation.


I. Overview

II. Geography of Soils

·        Define soil and describe how soil forms

·        Describe soil horizons and a typical soil profile

·        Describe the physical properties used to classify soils (color, texture, structure, consistence, porosity, and soil moisture

·        Explain basic soil chemistry and soil fertility

·        Discuss human impacts on soils including desertification

III. Ecosystem Essentials

·        Define ecology, biogeography, and ecosystem

·        Explain photosynthesis and respiration; describe primary productivity

·        Describe communities and ecological niches and list several limiting factors on species distributions

·        Discuss ecological succession on land and in the ocean

IV. Terrestrial Biomes

·        Explain the basis for grouping plant and animal communities into biomes; give examples

·        Explain the impact of non-native species on biotic communities; give examples

·        Discuss strategies for ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation

V. Science of Geography

·        Define Physical Geography

·        Describe modern geoscience techniques: GPS, remote sensing (RS), and GIS

·        Explain how these tools are used in geographic analysis (give examples)

VI. Significance

·        Discuss why it is important to study the topics above

·        Give examples to show a deeper level of understanding

VII. Summary

·        Include a summary at the end to reinforce the concepts discussed above (see online examples)