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Topics in Depth

The Theme of Test Your Knowledge in Conservation Biology

Biodiversity

1. Currently, the taxon with the highest number of described species is:
a. Bacteria
b. Fungi
c. Plants
d. Insects
e. Mammals

2. What is the term for the number of species in an area?
a. Intrinsic value
b. Species richness
c. A hotspot
d. Ecosystem services
e. Genetic diversity

3. Which of these is not an ecosystem service?
a. Oxygen in the atmosphere
b. Water purification
c. Fish nurseries
d. Protection from storms
e. All of these are ecosystem services.

4. Salicylic acid originally came from:
a. A Madagascar periwinkle
b. The Pacific Yew tree
c. Willow tree bark
d. Philippine Seagrass
e. Photosynthetic bacteria

5. A biodiversity hotspot is defined as:
a. An area with high species richness and a large number of endemic species
b. An area that has lost 80% of its habitat
c. An region that is experiencing rapid climate change
d. A habitat with lower biodiversity than the global average
e. The last remaining habitat after clear-cutting forests

Threats to Biodiversity: Habitat Loss

1. One consequence of habitat fragmentation is
a. Organisms are more connected to one another.
b. Soil erosion increases.
c. Increased reproductive rates of organisms.
d. Organisms become isolated from others of the same species.
e. Biodiversity increases.

2. Habitat loss is
a. Not important to conservation biology.
b. One of the most important threats to biodiversity loss.
c. Important in the creation of new species.
d. A problem that started in the last ten years.
e. Not connected to human activities.

3. Which habitats have already been reduced to 20% of their original land area?
a. Tropical and temperate forests
b. Tropical forests and grasslands
c. Mediterranean ecosystems and temperate forests
d. Grasslands and temperate forests
e. Mediterranean ecosystems and grasslands

4. Which habitat is currently being converted to agriculture the quickest?
a. Arctic tundra
b. Coastal sand dunes
c. The Sahara desert
d. Tropical forests
e. Temperate forests

5. Edges of habitat fragments are:
a. The most desirable habitat
b. Least likely to be degraded
c. The most scenic
d. Most likely to be degraded
e. No different from the interior of fragments

Threats to Biodiversity: Invasive Species

1. Which of these is not a threat posed by invasive species?
a. Habitat modification
b. Competition with native species
c. Pathogens
d. Hybridization
e. Habitat fragmentation

2. Which would be the most vulnerable to invasive species?
a. Sand dunes
b. Islands
c. The Arctic
d. Mangroves
e. Grasslands

3. Match the invasive species to the place it is invaded:
a. North American beavers
b. Brown tree snakes
c. Zebra mussels
d. Cane toads
e. Balsam woolly adelgid

I. Guam and other Pacific islands
II. The Great Lakes region
III. The eastern United States
IV. Australia
V. Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

4. Invasive pathogens in the United States have killed:
a. Half the native zebra mussels
b. Most native bird species
c. Almost all the native chestnut trees
d. A quarter of American mallards
e. Cane toads that are not resistant to disease

5. Which statement is true about invasive species?
a. Most non-native species become invasive.
b. Invasive species are the largest threat to biodiversity after habitat loss
c. Invasive species cannot modify habitats.
d. Invasive species do not interbreed with native species.
e. Some habitats cannot be invaded by non-native species.

Threats to Biodiversity: Pollution

1. Which of the following is true?
a. Ozone is always a pollutant.
b. Ozone is good in the lower atmosphere, bad in the upper atmosphere.
c. Ozone is good in the upper atmosphere, bad in the lower atmosphere.
d. Ozone causes climate change.
e. Ozone causes acid rain.

2. Why has there been a decrease in the effects of acid rain?
a. Plants have evolved to tolerate acid rain.
b. Amendments to the Clean Air Act allow less air pollution now.
c. All the organisms affected by acid rain died a long time ago.
d. We have stopped burning fossil fuels.
e. There are fewer power plants now.

3. Which of these is not a greenhouse gas?
a. Carbon dioxide
b. Methane
c. Fluorinated gases
d. Nitrous oxide
e. Oxygen

4. Which areas will be affected by anthropogenic climate change?
a. Mountaintops
b. Cities and countries at or below sea level
c. Coral reefs
d. All of the above
e. None of the above

5. Which is true about coral bleaching?
a. It only happens when temperatures get too hot.
b. It is irreversible.
c. It happens after algae arrive at a coral reef.
d. It will decrease as the climate changes.
e. It happens when water is too hot, too acidic, or polluted.

Threats to Biodiversity: Overexploitation

1. What is the term for illegally catching wildlife?

2. What is an alternative to catching fish in the wild?

3. Name two species that were hunted to extinction.

4. What is the tragedy of the commons?

5. What proportion of world fisheries is overfished?

Conservation Strategies: Populations and Species Level

1. When a population has to be above a threshold size for some important aspect of survival, it is known as:
a. Competition
b. Cooperation
c. Adhesiveness
d. Allee effect
e. Threshold effect

2. Which of these is not something that makes small populations vulnerable?
a. Genetic drift
b. Demographic uncertainty
c. Immigration
d. Environmental fluctuations
e. Small populations are vulnerable to all of these things.

3. Which of these conservation methods has worked to increase bird populations?
a. Making birds adopt hatchlings that are not their own offspring
b. Playing bird calls and putting mirrors out to make it seem like more birds are there
c. Burning forests so more young trees can grow
d. a and b
e. b and c

4. When genetic diversity is lost due to random changes in gene frequencies, it is called:
a. Genetic drift
b. Gene flow
c. Genetic mutations
d. Gene trees
e. Genealogy

5. Which of these would you not want to change if you devising a conservation strategy for a population of an endangered species?
a. Birth rate
b. Death rate
c. Immigration rate
d. Emigration rate
e. Genetic makeup

Conservation Strategies: Landscape and Ecosystem Level

1. Which of these is a common goal of protected areas?
a. Allow more fishing
b. Spread invasive species
c. Protect whole ecosystems
d. Protect U.S. economic interests
e. Prevent terrorist attacks

2. Tule elk recovery is an example of a protected area with the goal of:
a. Protecting a single species
b. Preserving biodiversity in an area of high species richness
c. Protecting an entire ecosystem
d. Creating the largest wildlife reserve in the United States
e. Reducing human development

3. Krill are at the bottom of the food chain, but are a conservation target in Antarctica because:
a. Scientists want to protect krill for their intrinsic value.
b. Krill might have important medical benefits for humans.
c. They are the foundation of the Antarctic ecosystem.
d. We need krill to feed to farmed fish.
e. They are the only food source for Chilean sea bass.

4. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is an example of a protected area with the goal of:
a. Protecting a single species
b. Preserving biodiversity in an area of high species richness
c. Protecting an entire ecosystem
d. Creating the largest protected area in Australia
e. Reducing fishing in the Pacific Ocean

5. Why is creating a network of reserves a good idea?
a. Networks might help species respond to climate change by including habitats that might be suitable in the future.
b. Organisms move around without paying attention to reserve boundaries, so a network increases the chances of survival.
c. Networks of protected areas help ease the transition between protected area and surrounding habitat that is unsuitable.
d. All of the above.
e. None of the above.

Conservation Groups

1. Which international organization lists the conservation status of endangered species?
a. The IUCN
b. Ducks Unlimited
c. Conservation International
d. National Resource Defense Council
e. National Wildlife Federation

2. For which type of habitat is mitigation most common?
a. Wetlands
b. Deserts
c. Rainforests
d. Rivers
e. Tundra

3. Which organization is highly involved in wetlands conservation in the US, Canada and New Zealand?
a. The IUCN
b. Ducks Unlimited
c. Conservation International
d. National Resource Defense Council
e. National Wildlife Federation

4. What would be a good first step in habitat restoration?
a. Setting fire to the whole thing
b. Adding lots of fertilizer to the soil
c. Fencing the area off so human activity can do no more damage
d. Adding habitat corridors to connect a habitat fragment to other similar habitats
e. Removing invasive species

5. Which of these activities do conservation groups NOT do?
a. Work with communities on sustainable development
b. Protect habitat for wildlife
c. Research conservation status of endangered species
d. Pass conservation laws
e. Environmental education

Protected Areas

1. What is the name for an area in the ocean that protects fish and other ocean creatures?
a. MPA
b. CPA
c. MBA
d. CPD
e. NBA

2. Which type of protected area is used for conservation on private land?
a. Marine Protected Area
b. Bureau of Land Management land
c. National Parks
d. National Monuments
e. Conservation Easements

3. Which two protected areas does the US Congress have to approve?
a. National Parks and National Wilderness
b. National Parks and National Monuments
c. National Wilderness and National Forests
d. Conservation easements and National Monuments
e. Conservation easements and National Parks

4. Which protected area allows hunting?
a. National Parks
b. National Monuments
c. National Wilderness
d. National Forests
e. None of the above

5. Which protected area can the President of the United States create?
a. National Park
b. National Monument
c. National Wilderness
d. National Forest
e. None of the above

Laws and Treaties

1. Which treaty regulates international trade in endangered species?
a. NEPA
b. ESA
c. CITES
d. CAA
e. CWA

2. Who sets limits on air and water pollution in the US?
a. The US Fish and Wildlife Service
b. The Environmental Protection Agency
c. The President
d. Congress
e. The National Park Service

3. What must federal agencies do to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act?

4. Which time period had the most environmental laws pass in the US?

5. Who maintains the list of endangered and threatened species in the US?
a. The President
b. Congress
c. The Environmental Protection Agency
d. The US Fish and Wildlife Service
e. The National Park Service

Answers

Biodiversity

1. d There are about 750,000 insect species, but scientists estimate there might be as many as 5-10 million species.

2. b Species richness is a way to count biodiversity. It is the number of species in an area

3. e These are just a few of the ways humans benefit from biodiversity.

4. c Salicylic acid was isolated from willow trees originally, but now is manufactured synthetically

5. a Biodiversity hotspots are also usually threatened by habitat loss or other human activity

Threats to Biodiversity: Habitat Loss

1. d Isolation can be countered by creating habitat corridors between fragments.

2. b Habitats are being destroyed and fragmented at alarming rates all over the world.

3. c Humans have been living in and near these habitats for a long time, and converted much of them to agriculture in North America and Europe.

4. d The world has already lost most of its temperate forests.

5. d Edges are exposed to the open, making them more likely to be degraded compared to the other parts of a habitat fragment.

Threats to Biodiversity: Invasive Species

1. e Habitat fragmentation is a threat to biodiversity, but usually happens because of human land use, not invasive species. Unless you consider humans an invasive species…

2. b Although all habitats and ecosystems can have invasive species, island ecosystems are particularly threatened by them because islands have high rates of endemic species and usually few, if any, large predators.)

3. Match the invasive species to the place it is invaded:
a. North American beavers (V)
b. Brown tree snakes (I)
c. Zebra mussels (II)
d. Cane toads (IV)
e. Balsam woolly adelgid (III)

I. Guam and other Pacific islands
II. The Great Lakes region
III. The eastern United States
IV. Australia
V. Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

4. c Chestnut blight killed off most of the chestnuts before people studied the effects of it, so we don't know how many chestnut trees there once were.

5. b Invasive species have large impacts on ecosystems around the world, and are actively being eradicated in many areas.

Threats to Biodiversity: Pollution

1. c Ozone blocks UV rays in the upper atmosphere but causes smog and health problems in the lower atmosphere.

2. b The Clean Air Act was amended in 1990 to limit emissions that cause acid rain.

3. e All of the other gases listed are greenhouse gases produced by human activities.

4. d Every place on Earth will be affected by climate change, and the effects are especially apparent in the places listed here.

5. e Sometimes corals recover from bleaching, but not always. Coral bleaching can happen for a few different reasons, but warm temperatures and acidic water are often to blame.

Threats to Biodiversity: Overexploitation

1. What is the term for illegally catching wildlife?
Poaching.

2. What is an alternative to catching fish in the wild?
Aquaculture, or farming fish.

3. Name two species that were hunted to extinction.
Great auks and passenger pigeons.

4. What is the tragedy of the commons?
Tragedy of the commons is when a common, publicly-owned resource is overexploited or degraded so that it can no longer be used. Overfishing is an example of a tragedy of the commons.

5. What proportion of world fisheries is overfished?
Almost two-thirds of fisheries are overfished.

Conservation Strategies: Populations and Species Level

1. d
2. c Immigration would generally be good for small populations because it would increase their numbers.
3. e
4. a
5. e

Conservation Strategies: Landscape and Ecosystem Level

1. c
2. a
3. c
4. b
5. d

Conservation Groups

1. a
2. a
3. b
4. e
5. d

Protected Areas

1. a
2. e
3. a
4. d
5. b

Laws and Treaties

1. c
2. b
3. What must federal agencies do to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act?
Before authorizing any work, federal agencies must do an Environmental Assessment (EA) to determine how their proposed work will impact the environment. If there will be a significant impact, the agency must also propose alternatives.
4. Which time period had the most environmental laws pass in the US?
The late 1960s and early 1970s is when most environmental laws in the US were created. Since then, laws have been updated but few new laws protecting the environment or attempting conservation have been passed since then.
5. d

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