AP Biology : Understand trophic levels and flow of energy

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Biology

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Identifying Levels

An animal that eats plants and seeds is a __________.                      

Possible Answers:

herbivore 

producer 

autotroph

carnivore 

Correct answer:

herbivore 

Explanation:

Herbivores are plant-eating organisms. They are classified in the primary consumer trophic level. An easy way to remember this is to break down the word. Herbs are types of plants, so when we see “herb” in herbivore think of plants. Carnivores eat other animals. Autotrophs and producers need not eat anything to get energy, rather, they make their own.

Example Question #11 : Ecology

The latin name (binomial nomenclature) of organisms consists of which two classifications?

Possible Answers:

Class and order

Order and family

Genus and species

Phylum and species

Correct answer:

Genus and species

Explanation:

The latin name consists of the genus and species of the organism. These are the most specific of the taxonomic classifications. The taxonomic classifications are domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.

Example Question #11 : Identifying Levels

Which of the following classification of animal eats both plants and meat?

Possible Answers:

Carnivore

Omnivore

Detrivore

Herbivore

Correct answer:

Omnivore

Explanation:

Omnivores eat plants and meats. Carnivores eat meat only. Herbivores eat plants only. Detrivores eat dead organisms.

Example Question #11 : Ecology

Which of the following is the correct order for an ecosystem, from smallest to largest?

Possible Answers:

Ecosystem, individual, community, and population

Community, individual, population, and ecosystem

Individual, population, community, and ecosystem

Population, individual, community, and ecosystem

Correct answer:

Individual, population, community, and ecosystem

Explanation:

This question requires careful reading of the correct order of an ecosystem on earth. The correct order, from smallest to largest, for an ecosystem is “individual, population, community, ecosystem.” Individual organisms make up populations, which interact with other populations in communities, which in turn belong to ecosystems that have a particular environment, such as desert or rainforest.

Example Question #11 : Understand Trophic Levels And Flow Of Energy

A certain grassland ecosystem consists of grasses that grow on the plains, mice that eat the grains the grasses produce, weasels that eat both the grass and the mice, and hawks that eat the weasels.

Which of these species will account for the smallest proportion of the biomass of this ecosystem?

Possible Answers:

The grass

The mice

The bacteria in the soil

The weasels

The hawks

Correct answer:

The hawks

Explanation:

Trophic energy levels show reduced biomass as you go up a food chain from producer, to consumer, to secondary consumer, and so on due to the loss of energy as heat. The hawks, as a secondary consumer, will have the smallest amount of proportional biomass compared to the other species.

Example Question #1 : Ecology

Which of the given options represents the highest level of biological organization?

Possible Answers:

Ecosystem

Atmosphere

Earth

Biome

Biosphere

Correct answer:

Biosphere

Explanation:

Biological organization extends from the level of subatomic particles all the way up to the biosphere. Within the fields of molecular and cell biology, the atomic, molecular, and cellular levels of biology are most important. In the fields of physiology and anatomy, organs, organ systems, and organisms feature prominently.

Within ecology and population genetics, the higher levels of organization are most pertinent. Several organisms make up a population, which in turn makes up a community, and then an ecosystem. A group of ecosystems make up a biome, and the sum of all the biomes is a biosphere. 

Atmosphere and Earth are not considered levels of biological organization.

Example Question #7 : Ecology

Of the following, which refers to the most inclusive level of ecology?

Possible Answers:

Community ecology

Ecosystem ecology

Landscape ecology

Organismal ecology

Population ecology

Correct answer:

Landscape ecology

Explanation:

Global ecology refers to large-scale interactions between the earth’s ecosystems, atmosphere, landscapes, and seascapes. Landscape ecology refers to the spatial orientation and patterns within specific landscapes or seascapes. Ecosystem ecology observes the interactions, both biotic and abiotic, within a given landscape area. Community ecology is like ecosystem ecology, but applies to communities of organisms. It observes the spatial distribution, abundance, relationships, and interactions between organisms of different species in a given ecosystem. Population ecology refers to the spatial distribution, abundance, relationships, and interactions within the same species in a given community. Organismal ecology studies each organism’s behavior, anatomy, evolution, adaptation, and relative fitness in a given environment. 

Example Question #1 : Ecology

An organism’s measure of success is dependent on various environmental variables. Algae will increase growth and reproduction as their light supply increases. However, there is a point where adding more light no longer increases growth and reproduction, and the algae begin to die due to increased temperature. In this scenario, light is an example of __________

Possible Answers:

variable stimulating 

variable optimum 

variable limiting

variable inhibiting 

both variable optimum and variable stimulating 

Correct answer:

variable inhibiting 

Explanation:

Variable limiting refers to when an environmental variable that is lacking. If light is lacking, the algae will not grow and reproduce; the environmental variable, light, is limiting the algae’s success. The variable optimum is when the variables are perfectly balanced. Variable inhibiting refers to when when an environmental variable is in abundance, to the point where it is harmful. If there is too much light, the algae will no longer continue growing and reproducing, but will begin too die off.  In this situation, light is variable inhibiting. 

Example Question #12 : Understand Trophic Levels And Flow Of Energy

In forest A, moss 1 only grows above the shrubbery, while moss 2 grows below the shrubbery. In forest B (similar to forest A), moss 2 grows both above and the shrubbery; here, moss 1 is non-existent. Which of the following terms refers to the area moss 2 occupies in forest A?

Possible Answers:

Ecological niche

Realized niche

Fundamental niche

Resource partitioning 

Character displacement 

Correct answer:

Realized niche

Explanation:

An ecological niche is the sum of a species’ use of its environment, including both biotic and abiotic factors. Resource partitioning is the differentiation of niches; it is impossible for two species to have the same niche and use the same resources. Resource partitioning allows for differentiation of niches between similar species so they can coexist. A fundamental niche is described in forest B, where moss 2 grows both above and below the shrubbery. It is the niche that could be potentially occupied by a species. The realized niche is the term that refers to the area of moss 2 in forest A. The realized niche is the portion of the fundamental niche that an organism actually occupies. We know that moss 2 can potentially occupy areas above and below shrubbery, but in forest A, it only occupies the area below the shrubbery (its realized niche). 

Example Question #21 : Understanding Ecosystems

Which of the following choices would most likely be characterized as abiotic?

Possible Answers:

Leaf on a plant

Bacteria cell

Bird

Rock 

Correct answer:

Rock 

Explanation:

The term “abiotic” refers to the nonliving components of the environment; therefore, a rock would be characterized as an abiotic part of the environment.

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