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The following material will appear on the upcoming exam. Use this preview to familiarize yourself with the material, and guide you in studying. Be sure to look up the definitions of any words you do not know. You are free to discuss this material or ask questions about it.


Use a #2 pencil to fill in the information on your NCS answer sheet. Put your O-Key Account Username in the boxes indicated for LAST NAME and darken the appropriate circles. Write your Name (Last, First) and “Star” or “NoStar” in the space above the boxes containing your O-Key Account Username. Darken the (S) or (N) in the last column of the name circles. Enter the number 1634 and darken the corresponding circles in the first 4 columns of the “Student ID.” Failure to perform this correctly will incur a -10pt handling fee. Read all questions and answers carefully before choosing the single BEST response for each question. Feel free to ask the instructor for clarification.

White Sands National Monument in New Mexico is a unique desert habitat that has existed for only about 10,000 years, less time than humans have been in North America. Bree Rosenblum and colleagues from UC Berkeley are comparing whiptail lizards (Aspidoscelis inornata) and fence lizards (Sceloporus cowlesi) that have colonized the white dunes to the same species in surrounding darker/vegetated areas. A. inornata individuals living on the white sand are light-colored, while those in darker surrounding habitats show the dark, striped pattern that their ancestors did. A small percentage of the ancestral population consisted of white lizards. The color of individual lizards is genetically determined. The scientists also determined that there are fewer birds and snakes (the lizards’ main predators) in the center of the dunes, far from the dark/vegetated margins (Refsnider et al. 2015).


Refsnider, J.M., S. Des Roches & E. B. Rosenblum. 2015. Evidence for ecological release over a fine spatial scale in a lizard from the White Sands formation. Oikos 124: 1624–1631.

Syndactyly is a hereditary condition affecting 1 in 2,500 babies in which certain fingers and/or toes are fused (joined) together. Genetic mutations leading to this condition are generally autosomal dominant alleles.


Some tribes from the Amazonian Rainforest use lianas (vines) to capture fish. They put the liana in the water and fish either becomes inactive or rise to the creek surface in an attempt to gulp air. Thereafter, natives select the fish they use for food, for example, if the fish is young or a female carrying eggs, they release it. If the fish is a male and old, they keep it for food. The lianas release an active compound that affects most but not all of the ATP production during cellular respiration.

Imagine you are an Anthropologist studying the behavior of such tribes in the Amazonian Rainforest in the 18th century and the chief of one tribe invites you to fish. You see the whole activity the chief performs from placing the liana in the water to capturing the fish.

A variety of fish species are brought to USA through the pet trade from the Amazonian Rivers. Sometimes a few of these fish are released into lakes, rivers and creeks. Most of the time they survive and establish a new population.

Vinicius Santos is a senior in a high school at Belem (Brazil). His teacher asked him to develop an experiment where he can observe evolutionary forces such as natural selection, mutation, etc. He collected several females of Poecilia formosa (a mosquitofish) from the nearby creek and selected five that were pregnant. He brought these five females to the lab and put each one in a different container and provided names for each. He designed the table below with his data.


Every spring, the OSU groundskeepers fertilize the university lawns. Often the spring rains wash some of this fertilizer (that includes nitrogen) into Theta pond, stimulating an exponential growth (bloom) of algae, causing the pond to appear green. One toxin produced during some algal blooms is domoic acid, which is known to biomagnify within food chains. Only animals that accumulate high concentrations of domoic acid will experience seizures and sometimes death.

Methylmercury is an organic form of mercury (a naturally occurring metal) that can be released into the environment in large amounts from industrial processes. Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant is an 8,493-acre facility near Karnack, TX that was contracted to produce dynamite during World War II. Caddo Lake is located on the site, and as a result of the industrial processes involved in producing dynamite, is contaminated with methylmercury. Dr. Paul Lucian, is studying the effects of methylmercury on cottonmouth snakes (Agkistrodon piscivorus) and has measured concentrations of methylmercury in the tissues of A. piscivorus as well as in their prey. Mercury in the body is detoxified by binding with a type of protein called metallothionein.

The figure on the below was made with data from the introduced European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and the Myxoma virus in Australia.

From: Ecology: The Economy of Nature, Seventh Edition
2014 W.H. Freeman and Company

Tribolium flour beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), are a well-studied and economically important agricultural pest that colonize grain storage facilities. Tribolium males produce a pheromone (chemicals released into the environment that affect others of its species) that attracts both sexes. There is some evidence supporting the hypothesis that females are attracted to the odors of certain males. Tribolium females often mate again after rejecting sperm packets from males with low phenotypic quality (e.g. starving males). Neither males nor females provide care for eggs once they are deposited. Tribolium flour beetles show distinct male and female differences such as the presence of glands.

Fedina, T.Y. and Lewis, S. M. 2008. An integrative view of sexual selection in Tribolium flour beetles Biological Reviews 83(2): 151 – 171.