AP Biology : Use the taxonomic classification system

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Biology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Use The Taxonomic Classification System

Which of the following would not be considered an organism?

Possible Answers:

A bacterium

A prion

A fungus

An archaebacterium

A plant

Correct answer:

A prion

Explanation:

Prions are simply proteins, typically in a misfolded shape. They are simply molecules that can cause disease by inducing other proteins to misfold.

The qualifications for life include growth or reproduction, nutrient absorption, and composition of cells. Prions fit none of these criteria. Bacteria, archaea, fungi, and plants are all major classes of living organisms.

Example Question #2 : Use The Taxonomic Classification System

Which of the following is classified as eukaryotic?

Possible Answers:

Protista

Bacteria

Prokaryotes

Archaea

Correct answer:

Protista

Explanation:

All species can be defined as either prokaryotes or eukaryotes. Prokaryotes are always single-celled and have no membrane-bound organelles. All bacteria and archaea are prokaryotes. Eukaryotes can be unicellular or multicellular and have membrane-bound organelles, including a nucleus. Protista is a sub-category of eukaryotes that are unicellular.

Example Question #3 : Use The Taxonomic Classification System

What type of microorganism is composed only of a protein capsule encasing genetic material?

Possible Answers:

Fungus

Virus

Protozoa

Helminth

Bacteria

Correct answer:

Virus

Explanation:

A virus is the smallest of the microorganisms, consisting genetic material and a protein coat. The virus takes over the host's cellular functions to reproduce, and carries no organelles of its own.

Bacteria prokaryotic cells, while fungi are eukaryotic cells. Protozoa are a sub-classification within the protista kingdom and are unicellular eukaryotes. Helminth are parasitic worms composed of eukaryotic cells.

Example Question #4 : Use The Taxonomic Classification System

Which of the following is not considered to be living?

Possible Answers:

Halophiles

Obligate anaerobes

Cyanobacteria

Viruses

Fungi

Correct answer:

Viruses

Explanation:

Viruses are not considered to be living organisms because they do not meet many of the criteria for "life", as defined by biologists. Viruses are incapable of energy metabolism, growth, response to stimuli, and independent reproduction. Viruses are simply a core of genetic material surrounded by a coat of protien, and require a living host to multiply. 

All other answer options are specific examples of living organisms. Obligate anaerobes are a classification of bacteria that require minimal levels or lack of oxygen to survive. Fungi are a kingdom of organisms in the domain Eukarya. Cyanobacteria are a phylum of bacteria that obtain energy through photosynthesis. Halophiles are organisms that best survive in high salt concentrations.

Example Question #4 : Use The Taxonomic Classification System

The probability a diagnostic test will return a positive test result when the organism or condition is present is known as the __________ of the diagnostic test.

Possible Answers:

false positive rate

accuracy

specificity

predictive value

sensitivity

Correct answer:

sensitivity

Explanation:

All diagnostic tests have the chance probability of not detecting the condition. Thus, the percentage of samples for which the test is accurate with a positive result is the sensitivity of the test.

Example Question #1 : Use The Taxonomic Classification System

Bdelloid rotifers are microscopic freshwater organisms whose females develop from unfertilized eggs. Which of the following best describes this form of reproduction?

Possible Answers:

Parthenogenesis

Binary fission

Gynogenesis

Sexual reproduction

None of the choices

Correct answer:

Parthenogenesis

Explanation:

Parthenogenesis is a type of asexual reproduction that can be found in plants, fish, birds, reptiles, and several others. This type of reproduction does not require fertilization to form an embryo, rather the embryo develops from an unfertilized egg. 

An advantage of this system is that it does not require energy to search for a compatible mate, and allows the species to continue if organisms are isolated from one another. A disadvantage is the lack of genetic diversity, which does not help the species as much in the long term. 

Example Question #5 : Use The Taxonomic Classification System

General nomenclature classifies humans by the name homo sapiens. This means that homo belongs to which level of classification?

Possible Answers:

Species

Family

Order

Genus

Kingdom

Correct answer:

Genus

Explanation:

The order of classification from top to bottom is: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species. Binomial nomenclature includes the two most specific classifications of an organism. Homo therefore falls into the genus level of classification.

Example Question #1 : Understanding Building Phylogenies

A characteristic present in a clade, but not its ancestors, is a __________.

Possible Answers:

shared ancestral character

shared derived character

paraphyletic character

polyphyletic character

convergent character

Correct answer:

shared derived character

Explanation:

The characteristic is found among all members of the clade, which makes it shared. It is not present among the ancestors of the clade, but was derived from the last common ancestor and is unique to that clade. These attributes make the trait a shared derived character.

An example of a shared derived character is hair in mammals: all mammals have hair, but no ancestors of mammals (that are not mammals themselves) had hair.

An example of a shared ancestral character is backbones in mammals: all mammals have backbones, and so do other vertebrates. There was a common ancestor between mammals and other vertebrates that had a backbone; however, when comparing all vertebrates to invertebrates, a backbone becomes a shared derived character, as backbones are unique to vertebrates.

Example Question #5 : Use The Taxonomic Classification System

What is a clade?

Possible Answers:

An ancestor and all of its descendants

The set of descendants from a common ancestor that have become extinct

An ancestor and a specific subset of its descendants

All of the descendants of a common ancestor, but not the ancestor itself

An ancestor and none of its descendants

Correct answer:

An ancestor and all of its descendants

Explanation:

A clade is a group of related species all descending from a common ancestor, including that ancestor. They have at least one shared derived trait unique to the clade and differentiating them from all other clades. Clades can be nested within each other: the mammalian clade is part of the vertebrate clade, which is part of the animal clade.

Example Question #6 : Use The Taxonomic Classification System

Which is not true about the theory of punctuated equilibrium?

Possible Answers:

Species are typically in a state of stasis

Times of change are rapid and rare

It stands in contrast to gradualism 

Times of change are slow and continuous 

Correct answer:

Times of change are slow and continuous 

Explanation:

Punctuated equilibrium is one theory within evolutionary biology that seeks to explain the rate of evolution over time. This theory describes most species being in a state of stasis, with little change occurring. When change does occur, however, it is rapid. The theory of punctuated equilibrium stands in opposition to the theory of gradualism and is supported by the fossil record.

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