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Thread: “keystone” species

  1. #1
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    “keystone” species

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    Question 2 – 4:
    While the most abundant and dominant species within a particular ecosystem 1
    is often crucial in perpetuating the ecosystem, a “keystone” species, here defined 2
    as one whose effects are much larger than would be predicted from its appearance, 3
    also play a vital role. But because complex species interactions may be involved, 4
    identifying a keystone species by removing the species and observing changes in 5
    the ecosystem is problematic. 6
    It might seem that certain traits would clearly define a species as a keystone 7
    species; for example, Pisaster ochraceus is often a keystone predator because it 8
    consumes and suppresses mussel populations, which in the absence of this starfish 9
    can be a dominant species. But such predation on a dominant or potentially dominant 10
    species occurs in systems that do as well as in systems that do not have species that 11
    play keystone roles. Moreover, whereas P. ochraceus occupies an unambiguous 12
    keystone role on wave-exposed rocky headlands, in more wave-sheltered habitats 13
    the impact of P. ochraceus predation is weak or nonexistent, and at certain sites sand 14
    burial is responsible for eliminating mussels. Keystone status appears to depend on 15
    context, whether of particular geography or of such factors as community diversity 16
    (for example, a reduction in species diversity may thrust more of the remaining species 17
    into keystone roles) and length of species interaction (since newly arrived species 18
    in particular may dramatically affect ecosystem). 19

    Question 2:
    The primary purpose of the passage is to

    A. point out some of the differences between dominant and keystone species
    B. emphasize the complexity of the interactions that occur between two particular species
    C. detail the effect of a particular habitat on the role occupied by a certain keystone species
    D. illustrate the importance of community diversity for the perpetuation of an ecosystem
    E. explain some considerations involved in determining whether a species occupies a keystone role

    Question 3:
    Which of the following, if true, would most clearly support the argument about keystone
    status advanced in the last sentence of the passage (lines 15 – 19)?

    A. A species of bat is primarily responsible for keeping insect populations within an
    ecosystem low, and the size of the insect population in turn affects bird species
    within that ecosystem.
    B. A species of iguana occupies a keystone role on certain tropical islands, but does
    not play that role on adjacent tropical islands that are inhabited by a greater number
    of animal species.
    C. Close observation of a savannah ecosystem reveals that more species occupy
    keystone roles within that ecosystem than biologists had previously believed.
    D. As a keystone species of bee becomes more abundant, it has a larger effect on
    the ecosystem it habits.
    E. A species of mouse that occupies a keystone role in a prairie habitat develops
    coloration patterns that camouflage it from potential predators.

    Question 4:
    The passage suggests which of the following about the identification of a species as
    a keystone species?

    A. Such an identification depends primarily on the species’ relationship to the dominant species.
    B. Such an identification can best be made by removing the species from a particular
    ecosystem and observing changes that occur in the ecosystem.
    C. Such an identification is likely to be less reliable as an ecosystem becomes less diverse.
    D. Such an identification seems to depend on various factors within the ecosystem.
    E. Such an identification can best be made by observing predation behavior.

  2. #2
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage Da_Gr8_Mperor's Avatar
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    E Basically, the passage does not accomplish any of the purposes advanced in the other choices

    B "Keystone status appears to depend on context, whether of particular geography or of such factors as community diversity..."

    D "...complex species interactions may be involved..."
    Last edited by Da_Gr8_Mperor; 04-05-2006 at 09:22 PM. Reason: Automerged post

  3. #3
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Sorry for reviving an old thread.

    I was confused between option C and E for Q2. The sentence "Moreover, whereas ......eliminating mussels. in Para 2 led me to chose option C. I understand why option E is correct, but is option C wrong because it is mentioned only in a particular example?

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    Imo e b b

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