Friday, June 24, 2011

Environment and Life Science - Self-Administered Test (True or False, 50 items)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog

Lesson: How much do you know about Biology and Ecology? Take this test and find out your score and rating at the end of this article.

David versus Goliath - which one will win the battle, wasp or ant? See the answer at the end of this article.

1. All living things, whether they are big or small, simple or complex, plants or animals, are made up of cells - except the bacteria.

2. Evolution is the process by which all the organisms that we know today have come about. Hundreds of millions of years ago the first forms of life slowly evolved into complex forms through genetic mutation.

3. Nothing in this world is permanent, and this applies not only to physical things but to living things as well. Biologically then, all living things have been changing – and will continue to change, including us humans.

4. Evolution however, is not always progressive and radical; many organisms in the past have not changed. They are called living fossils such as the algae, insects and reptiles.

5. Charles Darwin, who founded the theory of evolution through natural selection, succeeded in tracing the origin of species, and as well as the origin of life itself.

6. Life begets life, and there is no exception. This principle puts to rest the common notion of Spontaneous Generation, such as mushrooms come out after heavy rainfall and lightning, and flies coming out from the bodies of dead animals.

7. As the chemical world has its organizational hierarchy (atoms to molecules, elements to compounds), so with the biological world (cells, tissues, organs, organ-systems). This is true with algae, fungi, amoeba, paramecium, and other protozoa.

8. The tropical rain forest has the highest biological diversity because this ecosystem contains the most number of living organisms, both in kind and number, as compared with other ecosystems. This kind of ecosystem is found in the tropical region which includes the Philippines, Australia, Northern China, Pakistan, South America and Japan.

9. No two organisms are the same even if they belong to the same species, or even if they are identical twins. This is the basis of forensic science using DNA Analysis. The DNA of leaves belonging to the same plant is however, exactly the same.

10. Today it is possible to have a plant such as corn bred with a bacterium such as Bacillus thuringenis, thus their offspring is a kind of corn containing the genetic material of the bacterium. (Bt Corn) Similarly we have now Bt Cotton.

11. Organisms reproduce by sexual and asexual means, that is through the exchange of genetic materials (generally through union of sex cells), and by vegetative means such as cutting, grafting, fragmentation, spores, etc. Bacteria and protozoa reproduce by both means.

12. The reason why close relatives are strictly not allowed to intermarry is to prevent in-breeding (inbreeding syndrome). The gene pool must be invigorated now and then with new genes, more importantly dominant genes. This principle explains the importance of hybridization, cross-breeding, and the buildup of resistance and hybrid vigor.

13. Nature saw to it that dominant genes must prevail by various means in order that the species becomes capable of facing the ordeals of a changing environment. Certain dominant genes however, though they may be transmitted to the next generation do not contribute at all to the enhancement of species’ survival.

14. If this is the case, referring to the previous question, then recessive genes do not contribute to the wellness or the fitness of the species.

15. Evolution is a thing of the past as we have known the fate of the dinosaurs, the end of the giant ferns that once covered the earth. It means that the organisms that we see today have ultimately reached the highest degree of perfection, with man as the ideal example.

16. The most controversial subject matter between science and religion is Evolution. It has always been confrontational, and the church is likely not giving up its dogma of Creation, or Intelligent Design. For this reason Christian Fundamentalists prohibit the teaching of Darwinian evolution.

17. Hibernation is a tool of survival of organisms trapped in extreme dry and hot habitats. It is a state of torpor which is near death, and when the conditions become favorable again, the organisms – such as reptiles, fish, mammals, shells, and the like, emerge into life and resume their normal activities.

18. Organisms may be found living under extreme conditions, but definitely nothing lives inside the crater of volcanoes where the temperature well exceeds 100 degrees centigrade. And nothing lives underneath the permafrost of the North Pole where temperatures remain way below freezing point.

19. Nature is best cared for in the presence of man, for which reason man was created as the guardian of the earth. Thus, today we enjoy the beauty of parks, resorts, gardens, beautiful sunsets, refreshing waterfalls and streams, and all the aesthetics and amenities of living,

20. When a famous scientist-philosopher was asked, “How can you preserve Nature?” He humbly answered, “Leave Nature alone.” This means that Nature can take care of itself better without Man – indeed a concept supported by facts and scientific proofs.

21. Extraction of the DNA in fossils such as dinosaurs (Jurassic Park) can lead into the re-creation of the extinct organisms – indeed a revolution in science. Actually scientists have already succeeded in this venture.

22. Dolly the sheep was cloned from her mother, the first successful cloned animal. Other animals have been likewise cloned such as cow, horse, dog and cat. One problem these cloned animals have in common is premature aging, becoming senile and dying ahead of their parents.

23. Genetic engineering, the unlocking the code of life, is the latest breakthrough in science. The first two scientific breakthroughs are the splitting of the atom which led us to the Atomic Age, and the invention of the microchip which led us into the Computer Age. All three took place in a span of time witnessed by one generation or in one’s lifetime.

24. Louise Brown is the first test tube baby. After 30 years or so, all over the world there are thousands of people born from the same technology -in vitro fertilization. This gave rise to new technologies involving surrogate motherhood, post menopausal childbirth, multiple birth, and the like. All these made biotechnology a very lucrative business all over the world.

25. The fuel we use in our vehicles is known as fossil fuel. It is because it came from plants and animals formed from Carboniferous forests that were preserved under the earth for millions of years.

26. If this were so, referring to the previous question, then every time you step on the gas you are actually releasing the ancient sun trapped in this fossil remains.

27. The virus is the ultimate unit of a living thing because it cannot be seen even under the ordinary microscope. It is only through the electron microscope that its image can be viewed.
To illustrate its minute size, millions of viruses can reside on a single cell or bacterium.

28. Mad Cow Disease or BSE (Bovine Spongiosform Encephalopathy) is caused by a virus. This disease is similar to the CJD (Cruetzel-Jakob Disease) which affects human. This disease emanated from Britain in the eighties and spread to Europe, US, Japan and other countries.

29. These epidemic diseases – Ebola, SARS, Meningococcemia, HIV-SARS, Bubonic Plague, Influenza are caused by viruses, a proof of the extreme virulence of this kind of pathogen.

30. Nature knows how to heal herself every time a calamity such as typhoon, earthquake, flood, or drought strikes. The healing process, though it may take time, results ultimately to homeostasis (dynamic balance).

31. Energy cannot be created; it can only be destroyed. Example: The sun’s energy is transformed into chemical energy (manufacture sugar through photosynthesis), transformed into mechanical energy (muscular movement on the part of the eater of the plant). The use of this energy means its destruction.

32. These organisms make a food chain in this order. Algae <– snail <– duck <– man.

33. These organisms make a complete food web without excluding any one: rice plant, grasshopper, spider, frog, heron, carabao, man, snake, monitor lizard, dragonfly.

34. A thing is considered to be living if it possesses these criteria. A. It has a definite form and structure. B. It has the ability to reproduce itself. C. It can respond to stimuli and can adjust to the changes of its environment. D. It has the capability of metabolism.

35. The Kyoto Protocol was attended by most countries of the world with the agenda to reduce gas emission into the atmosphere. All countries signed the Protocol, a manifestation of global unity when it comes to solving a common global problem.

36. The Ozone layer is progressively being destroyed by CFC gases emitted by Freon coolants, atomizers, paints, etc. Today the Ozone hole which is about the size of continental US hovers above the Arctic region.

37. The main effect of global warming is extensive drought throughout the world, thus resulting to desertification, that is the transformation of productive lands to arid lands.

38. Scientists predict that global warming will precipitate the coming of another Ice Age, which is likely to start at the end of this century. This phenomenon occurs in a cycle of several thousands of years - even without the intervention of man.

39. Acid rain is formed by the reaction of water and these gases in the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, chlorine and Sulfur dioxide. These are emissions of vehicles and industries, other than those that are occurring naturally.

40. When lightning strikes tons and tons of nitrogen are fixed into nitrates, a compound that fertilizes the fields, lakes, mountains and seas. Lightning also fixes other elements to form phosphates, sulfates, carbonates, and the like, making them available for the use of plants and other organisms.

41. The reason farmers intercrop legumes (such as mungo and peanut) with corn is because corn is a heavy feeder of nitrates, while legumes convert nitrogen into nitrates through the Rhizobium bacteria that reside in their roots.

42. These are biological clocks with which we read Nature. June beetles emerge with the coming of amihan. Hovering dragonflies signal the coming of a typhoon. Ring (halo) around the moon means fine weather the following day.

43. These are other biological indicators. When earthworms crawl out of their burrows, drought is coming, When the leaves of acacia starts to fold it’s already morning - it’s time to wake up.

44. Weekly rhythm has a biological basis; that’s why people all over the world and has been adopted to it. After the French Revolution in the 18th century new leaders changed the 7-day system into a 10-day system, but the new system lasted only for some time, and the old system restored.

45. In fractional distillation of fossil fuel, among the products obtained are Kerosene, Diesel oil, Gasoline, Jet gas, LPG, Lubricating Oil, and Asphalt - in this order from top to bottom by density or specific gravity.

46. Among these alternative fuels that have great potential in solving the energy crisis - Wind, Water, Geothermal, Biogas, Solar, Tide, Hydrogen – it is Deuterium or heavy water that lies under the depth of the Philippine Deep. This frontier holds virtually an indefinite supply of energy.

47. The Water Cycle first involves the evaporation of water from sea and land, followed by cloud formation, and consequently rainfall. Where the land is barren and dry, clouds are attracted to fall, rather than areas that are covered with forests or wetlands – because the latter are already saturated.

48. When there is too much rainfall, the soil becomes saturated and water moves over land as runoff. The abundance of trees helps trap water and deposit it into the ground for future use, rather than directly consuming it and losing it through transpiration.

49. Habagat wind becomes laden with clouds that bring rains, while Amihan wind is dry and cool because it originated in Siberia, for which reason we call it also as Siberian High.

50. If a red rose is crossed (pollination-fertilization) with a white rose, their progeny will consist of all pink roses. If two of these pink roses are crossed, their progeny will consist of a proportion of 1 red, 2 pink and 1 white rose. (25-50-25 percent, respectively).

ANSWERS:
1f, 2f, 3t, 4t, 5f, 6t, 7f, 8f, 9t, 10t, 11f, 12t, 13t, 14f, 15f, 16t, 17f, 18f, 19f, 20t, 21f, 22t, 23t, 24t, 25t, 26t, 27f, 28f, 29t, 30t, 31f, 32f, 33f, 34t, 35f, 36f, 37f, 38f, 39t,40t, 41t, 42f, 43f, 44t, 45f, 46t, 47f, 48t, 49t, 50t

Answer to caption of photo: The ant (hantik) will will, by sheer number and cooperation (social network)

RATING: How did you fare?
47 to 50 Outstanding
41 to 46 Very Good
35 to 40 Good
30 to 34 Fair
25 to 29 Passed
24 and below – Tune to the program regularly

ASSIGNMENT: Give the reason or reasons for the FALSE answers.

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