Review Questions for Honors 301T

HOL Ch. 6: Life in a Changing World

1. Review plate tectonics processes from previous lectures, handouts, and the course Web page for HOL Ch. 6. When did Rodinia and Pangea exist and how and why did their existence correlate with patterns of marine animal diversity worldwide?

2. What is a province? What are examples of provinces on the West and East Coasts of North America and what keeps them distinct? From lecture, how have they changed through recent times? If New Zealand has ecological conditions (e.g., water temperature and patterns of seasonality) similar to British Columbia, why is it still considered a separate province?

3. According to Cowen, what is the most important characteristic about tropical latitudes that might explain their higher diversity than at higher latitudes? Are there any exceptions to the general correlation, and do these contradict or support his general explanation?

4. How do islands and continents compare in their climate? Compare the relative diversity of coastal marine organisms such as molluscs (snails, clams, chitons, etc.) in the following: a) oceanic vs. continental regions; b) fragmented land mass vs. single continental mass. From lecture, how does the distance of an island from a continent influence its: a) overall species diversity; a) proportion of endemic species?

5. How has Jack Sepkoski divided the post-Cambrian marine animals into "Three Great Faunas"? How do they compare in terms of the ecological roles represented in each fauna?

6. What is Geerat Vermeij's ("gary vermay's"; see also here) hypothesis for why there has generally been higher diversity of organisms in the sea since the Mesozoic Era, dubbed the "seafood" hypothesis more recently.

7. David Raup and Jack Sepkoski analyzed patterns of extinctions large enough to qualify as "mass extinctions." List the six events they found from earliest to latest, and plot them (see p. 74) onto Figs. 6.9 (p. 70). What are some physical global phenomena that might act together to cause one of the six "mass extinction" events that have occurred since big bilaterian animals evolved? For each of these six events, list the presently favored explanation (if any) that is best supported by current evidence.

8. The largest of all the mass extinctions is the Permo-Triassic event (P-T event; marking the end of the Paleozoic Era corresponding to the boundary between the Permian and Triassic Periods). Characterize the P-T event extinctions in the sea and on land in terms of: a) percentage of species that went extinct in each habitat type; b) major Paleozoic groups of animals that went extinct; c) likely causes.

9. What are two alternative do mass extinction events tend to be followed by recovery events?

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