You should already understand:

  • Niches.
  • Life history strategies, including r vs. K selection.
  • Community structure.
  • Population regulation.
  • Natural selection.
  • Island biogeography.
  • Effects of human intervention in the natural world.

Answer 7 short-answer questions:

Scenario for questions 1–2: As humans began to travel around the world, they brought species from one part of the world to other parts of the world. Many of the species that were brought intentionally are not a problem because they require ongoing human care to survive in the new area. However, some of the species brought intentionally, and many of the species that were transported accidentally, have caused serious ecological and economic problems.

  1. Describe three life history characteristics of an introduced species that is most likely to cause problems in a new area (in contrast to the introduced species that only survive and reproduce with ongoing human care).
  2. For each of the negative effects listed below, choose two ways in which introduced species can cause that effect. Using ecology terminology and specific examples, explain how and why introduced species cause each effect. Cite your sources.

    • Population declines in native species.
    • Change or disrupt native ecosystems.
    • Reduced quality of life or increased costs for human societies.

  3. The animals listed in the table below live together in the same ecosystem and are all part of a simple food chain. Use the general rule of thumb for energy flow in an ecosystem to answer the following questions about these animals and fully explain your rationale for each answer.
Species designationSpecies NameAverage Body SizeCurrent Population
Species ABig-eared Yellow-tails5 kg30,000
Species BFlat-nosed Lemon-sides75 kg200
Species CLong-tailed Green-backs2 g450,000
Species DRuffled Orange-heads30 kg50
Species ESpeckled Blue-bellies1 kg1,500,000
  1. Which species is probably the top predator?
  2. Which species is probably the primary consumer?
  3. Which species is probably the secondary consumer?
  4. Is it likely that Species C is a host-specific parasite to Species A? Why or why not?
  5. Examine the diagram below of three islands. Predict the relative number of species likely to be living on each of these islands and rank them from least species to most species. Explain the ecological factors that influence the ranking you predict.

    Scenario for question 5: Because the population of a town has increased dramatically in the past 10 years, the town needs a new source of drinking water. The easiest solution appears to be building a dam on a nearby creek to create a new lake.
  6. Discuss sixteen potential effects of the new dam (2 positive and 2 negative on each of the following areas: ecosystem upstream, ecosystem downstream, human communities and businesses upstream, and human communities and businesses downstream). Be complete with regard to the most likely outcomes. Cite your sources.
  7. Which one of the three graphs below best represents human population growth (for the planet) for 1500 AD thru 2050 AD? Provide past, current, and predicted population estimates to support your answer. Cite your sources.

  8. If current human population growth rate does not change, what are the 2 most likely effects on ecosystems around the world? What are the 2 most likely effects on human communities around the world? Assume that extra-planetary human colonies are not feasible.


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