Lecture 1 – 4 & Readings Study Questions
Lecture 1 (30)
1. What is the difference between resources and conditions?
2. "Species have ranges of tolerance along environmental conditions"
What does this mean?
a. What are the aspects of performance (4)?
3. What are the most important factors for terrestrial plant survival? Aquatic?
a. Terrestrial animals and aquatic animals?
4. Describe in detail, the global gradients of temperature and rainfall and indicate the
5. What is the adiabatic lapse rate and how is the adiabatic process reversible?
6. Describe the "gear train" model of atmospheric cells.
7. What is the intertropical convergence zone? How does it determine seasonality of a
8. How are prevailing wind patterns created? What are the Horse latitudes? Trade winds?
Equatorial doldrums? Roaring 40s?
9. How would an albatross have adapted to living in the Roaring 40s?
10.What sets the boundaries for biomes? How is latitude related to this (in some cases)?
11.How do temperature and precipitation contribute to climate patchiness on basic
12.Where do the driest deserts occur? Why?
13.Describe how rain shadows occur.
14.Describe an elevational gradient. How do they occur?
Introduction to the Basic Drivers of Climate
15.What is the difference between climate and weather?
16.How does differential heating affect climate? Discuss precipitation patters, global winds,
17.How does the rotation of the Earth affect ocean currents? Deeper currents?
18.How do wind and ocean current relate to heat and moisture?
19.How can microclimates be created? How does it affect an area's ecology?
20.Describe El-Nino Southern Oscillation. How and where does it affect terrestrial
ecosystems? How does it affect marine life?
21.What is a biome?
22.How did the Raunkiaer Classification System work?
23.Describe the seasonal climate in Tropical Forest Biomes. Productivity. Diversity.
a. How are sub-biomes distinguished?
24.Describe the seasonal climates of Savannas. Productivity.
a. How are sub-biomes distinguished?
1 b. What is the role of fires in savannas?
25.Describe the seasonal climates of Deserts. Productivity. Diversity. Dominant plant.
a. In what range of latitudes are these biomes located?
b. How are sub-biomes distinguished?
26.Describe the seasonal climates of Grasslands. Precipitation. Vegetation.
a. Where are they located?
b. How is it an "intermediate" biome?
c. What are the 3 major selective forces that dominate the evolution of plant traits?
i. Give some examples of these traits.
27.Describe the seasonal climates of Temperature Deciduous Forests. Biodiversity (of
plants AND animals).
28.Describe the seasonal climates of Mediterranean Climate Biome. Productivity.
a. Where are they located?
b. How can plants thrive in this climate?
c. What role do fires play?
29.Describe the seasonal climates of Northern Coniferous Forests. Productivity.
a. What are some causes for the slow turnover rate of plant matter?
30.Describe the seasonal climates of the Tundra. Productivity.
a. Where is it located?
b. Dominant plants?
c. Describe the canopy morphology. Why is this ideal for the conditions in the
d. How are nutrients retained in this environment?
Lecture 2 (23)
1. How are some species' geographical ranges limited by habitat? Behavioral choices?
2. How is heat balanced by an organism's body? (5)
a. How is SA:V ratio related to maintaining heat balance?
3. What is Bergmann's rule? Allen's rule?
4. When would maximizing SA:V ratio be best? Minimizing?
5. What are some methods of insulation?
6. How can vascularization enhance cooling? Countercurrent circulation? Evaporation?
a. Describe the evaporation habits of dogs, elephants, and kangaroos.
7. What is physiological ecology?
Physiological Optima and Critical Limits
8. What do critical limits help define? What is a performance curve and where do the
critical limits appear on the performance curve? Describe and interpret the shape of a
9. What is the difference between eurythermal and stenothermal organisms?
2 10.What is the thermal neutral zone? How is this related to Endotherms and Ectotherms?
11.Compare and contrast how endo and ectotherms regulate temperatures. What are
12.Why do animals undergo hibernation? What happens to their body during this time?
13.Why are the Rocky Coastlines ideal for testing ecological theories?
14.How can we predict responses to climate change?
15.Differentiate between fitness and performance.
Homeostatic Processes for Thermoregulation
16.What is homeostasis?
17.What are some differences between poikilotherms and homeotherms?
18.Describe some behavioural means of thermoregulation.
19.What, specifically, is the thermoneutral zone? When are physiological mechanisms of
20.Explain heterothermy. How is it related to BMR? Explain daily torpor.
21.Which systems of the body control thermoregulation? Which part of the brain is
responsible for this? Indicate the difference control of thermoregulation in ecto and
22.Give an example to explicate "some species show plasticity in thermoregulatory
23.Use salmon to show how climate change affects thermoregulation.
Lecture 3 (5)
1. Explain the tradeoff principle as it applies to weasels. Describe 2 reasons why natural
selection produces deeply imperfect organisms?
2. The kangaroo rat deals with extreme water stress as it lives in the Sonoran desert.
Describe its anatomical, physiological, and behavioural tactics for dealing with this water
3. When do organisms engage in evasion? What are some methods of evasion?
4. Describe how some birds that live in mountains are migratory while others are
5. How does the pika endure cold environments?
Lecture 4 (14)
1. What are some fitness limiting components to plants' photosynthesis?
2. What are the pros and cons of the SA:V ratio of leaves?
3. How do leaves deal with overheating?
4. What is the fundamental tradeoff in combating water loss?
5. How is the Palo Verde plant (and more generally, other desert plants) adapted to living
in the Sonoran desert? What about the Santa Rita prickly pear cactus?
6. What do episodic rains have to do with cacti physiology?
3 7. When and how do plants evade water stress and tissue damage?
8. What is the difference between mesophyll and sclerpophyll?
9. Which is better for cooling in plant leaves? Laminar or turbulent flow? How is this
achieved? Where would the leaves grow that you would expect each type?
10.For animals living in cold environments, would laminar or turbulent flow be be