Herring gull picking up after humans.

Biology 215


The purpose of this assignment is to help you.
1) To help you locate web sites that have useful information for biologists..
2) To introduce you to organismal biology.

Type your answers. Refer to the Style Sheet for directions. Print this page in pdf


Read Biodiversity Hotspots.
1. In your own words, define a biodiversity hotspot.
2. How many biodiversity hotspots have been identified?
3. Click on Biodiversity Hotpots; (look at the entire world) to find the hotspot nearest to you. Which hotspot is geographically nearest to you?
4. How many endemic insects are in this hotspot?

Use the Species Database to see the threatened species. PubMed and Google Scholar are indexes to articles published in medical and scientific journals.
5. Check out PubMed and Google Scholar by looking for an article on one of the endemic mammals or amphibians in this hotspot. Give the article's citation in the proper format. Note that PubMed and Google Scholar are not the citation and not in the citation.

Go to The Tree of Life (TOL). Click on phylogeny in the text below the tree.
6. Paraphrase into your own words, what is meant by "the phylogeny of organisms"?
7. Click on the root of the tree. What domain are animals in?
8. Follow that domain. Which of the following is most closely related to fungi? Animals, plants, bacteria


Tipulids (like the pair shown to the right) are common around your home and college.They eat nectar or do not eat at all. Type tipulidae in the TOL search box then follow the links.
9. How many wings does it have?
10. This places it in the order ___________. The hind wings of this order are modified into little gyroscopes. Describe them.
11. Tipulid larvae can be found in streams and lawns. Follow the links on the tipulid page to view the larva. Describe the larva in your own words.

The San Francisco Bay Estuary is the nation's second largest and perhaps the most biologically significant estuary on the Pacific Coast. Audubon California is a helpful reference.

12. How many shorebirds pass through San Francisco Bay each day during winter migration? ______________
How is it possible for such a large number of similar bird species such as avocets, curlews,and stilts to exist in an apparently homogeneous habitat? They all eat aquatic snails, insects, worms, and some small fry of fishes.


American avocet

Long-billed curlew

Black-necked stils

13. Mark the Pacific Flyway route of the Black-necked Stilt, Long-billed Curlew and American Avocet on the map.


14. The birds shown below are found in San Francisco Bay..
Type Birds into the Tree of Life search box and follow the links to identify their family.
a. To what family do they belong?
b. What do they eat?

15. The bird population has changed at Skyline College since the College opened in Fall 1969.
Plot these (California) data and offer an explanation for the two populations. Remember to label axes and title the graph.

16. Read about Invasive Species.
San Francisco Bay has the most non-native species in the world. One example is Caprella mutica (skeleton shrimp).
a. How do invasive species get into the bay?
To answer (b), read the article: Byrnes, J.E., P. L. Reynolds, and J. J. Stachowicz. (2007). "Invasions and Extinctions Reshape Coastal Marine Food Webs." PLoS ONE 2(3): e295. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000295
b. What effect could this shrimp have on the birds in question 14.