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Challenge Questions


Chapter 1  Introduction to the Marine Environment


Research will be needed to thoroughly complete the answers to these questions.  You are required to answer all of the following questions.  References must be listed and all answers typed to receive credit.  Use the internet and library.  I also have some books that you may want to use.  ( 5 points for each correct answer ).


1.                  Describe the peculiar temperature relationship of water.  At what temperature ( in oC ) is water density the greatest?  What would the marine environment at the poles be like if water had its density increase as the temperature approaches 0 o C?  Discuss.

2.                  Would you expect CO 2 to be limiting to plants for their photosynthesis in the sea ?  Why ?

3.                  The continental shelf extends offshore for up to 400 km off eastern Canada, but extends only a few km offshore along most of the Pacific coast of North America.  Explain this relationship in terms of plate tectonics.

4.                  What does the term ectothermic ( poikilothermic ) mean?  When the water temperature changes, what are the consequences to the physiology of the organism?

5.                  If ectothermic animals like fish live in seawater, which is actually about 0 o C, how come they don’t freeze?  Discuss

6.                  What keeps the various water masses ( upper, middle, and deep ) from mixing?

7.                  Why don’t waves have much effect in disrupting a thermocline?  To what do the terms wavelength, frequency, and period refer in relationship to waves?

8.                  Explain the Coriolis effect.  Why is it not considered to be a real force?  Discuss.

9.                  What is a keystone species?  What is a keystone predator?  How are humans a keystone species?

10.              What mechanism do planktonic organisms use to stay afloat?

11.              What is a copepod?  What is the genus name of most abundant copepod in the sea?  How are copepods important to humans?

12.              Does salt water freeze in the same way a distilled water?  Discuss.

13.              How are deep ocean currents driven by temperature and salinity differences?

14.              Why do waves increase in height and finally break when they enter shallow water?

15.              Sound travels faster in water than in air.  How does this fact influence marine and terrestrial predators that use sound to detect prey?

16.              What are the three larval types which Vance describes?  What are the advantages of each?  Discuss

17.              Why would a protozoan be considered a “ r – selected “ species?  Discuss.

18.              Why would a whale be considered a “ K – selected “ species?  Discuss

19.              Why are there no terrestrial animals with the ability to detect electrical activity in other animals as is the case in marine animals?  Discuss

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