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Topics in Depth

The Theme of Test Your Knowledge in Biogeography

Earth's Climate

1. At what latitude are most major deserts found?

2. Why are temperatures at the equator hotter than the poles?

3. Which of these is not an example of a biome?

a. Tundra
b. Tropical rainforest
c. Temperate grassland
d. Equator
e. Chaparral

4. What is the name for deflection of winds at the equator?

5. True or false: The amount of sunlight an area receives varies with longitude.

Distribution Patterns

1. Which of these organisms has a cosmopolitan distribution?
a. Bay checkerspot butterfly
b. Southern beech
c. Brown rat
d. All of the above
e. None of the above

2. What type of distribution does Homo sapiens have?

3. What are the names of the northern and southern landmasses that formed when Pangaea separated into two?

4. If a sea formed in the middle of a terrestrial species range, what kind of distribution would result?

5. Before the idea of continental drift was accepted, how did scientists explain disjunct distributions?

Current Patterns of Diversity on Earth

1. Which continent's species were more successful in the Great American Faunal Interchange?

2. What relationship do species-area curves show?

3. What part of Earth has the highest species diversity?

4. Which country is the location of the land bridge connecting North and South America?

5. What is evapotranspiration?

Island Biogeography

1. According to the island equilibrium model, if you look at two islands of the same size, but one is 10 miles away from the mainland and one is 50 miles away from the mainland, which island will have higher immigration rates?

2. If you consider two islands that are both 50 miles away, but one is 10 square miles in size and the other is 100 square miles, which will have higher extinction rates?

3. What are three things that influence species diversity that the island equilibrium model does not take into account?

4. Why do big islands have higher immigration rates than small islands?

5. Knowing what you do about island biogeography, which type of island would maximize the number of species on it?

Answers

Earth's Climate

1. At what latitude are most major deserts found?

Most major deserts are found at 30 degrees from the equator. There are also deserts at the poles (90 degrees), but there is less land there, so less desert.

2. Why are temperatures at the equator hotter than the poles?

Sunlight hits the Earth more directly at the equator than at the poles. Also, the equator receives equal light year round, while the poles tilt away from the sun half of the year.

3. d. Equator The equator is not a biome. In fact, many different biomes exist along the equator.

4. What is the name for deflection of winds at the equator?

The Coriolis effect.

5. True or false: The amount of sunlight an area receives varies with longitude.
False. The amount of sunlight an area receives varies with latitude because of the shape of the Earth.

Distribution Patterns

1. c. Brown rat Cosmopolitan means occurring all over the globe. Unfortunately, brown rats live everywhere.

2. What type of distribution does Homo sapiens have?

Cosmopolitan. Humans live all over Earth. You could also say we are endemic to Earth, since we occur nowhere else.

3. Northern: Laurasia; Southern: Gondwana (or Gondwanaland).

4. Disjunct.

5. Before the idea of continental drift was accepted, how did scientists explain disjunct distributions?

If dispersal was out of the question, land bridges that connected continents were thought to be the only reasonable explanation.

Current Patterns of Diversity on Earth

1. Which continent's species were more successful in the Great American Faunal Interchange?

Species from North America were generally more successful than species from South America. The reason is unknown, but it might be because North American species had more history of expanding their ranges.

2. What relationship do species-area curves show?

Species area curves show the relationship between the size of an area and the number of species in it.

3. The tropics.

4. Panama.

5. What is evapotranspiration?

The evaporation of water from plants and the soil.

Island Biogeography

1. According to the island equilibrium model, if you look at two islands of the same size, but one is 10 miles away from the mainland and one is 50 miles away from the mainland, which island will have higher immigration rates?

The closer island will have more immigrants arriving because of "spillover" from the mainland.

2. If you consider two islands that are both 50 miles away, but one is 10 square miles in size and the other is 100 square miles, which will have higher extinction rates?

Under the island equilibrium model, the smaller island will have higher extinction rates. The bigger island will have more resources and more ecological roles to fill.

3. What are three things that influence species diversity that the island equilibrium model does not take into account?

The island equilibrium model does not take into account disturbance, evolution, or competition.

4. Why do big islands have higher immigration rates than small islands?

Bigger islands are like bigger targets for immigrants. Birds flying above are more likely to see a big island than a small one, and more things wash up by chance on a bigger island than a smaller one.

5. Knowing what you do about island biogeography, which type of island would maximize the number of species on it? A large island close to the mainland would have the most species. A small island far from the mainland would have the least.

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