Longino Lecture 1, misc. notes

A statement of a historical contingency approach to explaining tropical diversity:

"...we propose ... that differences between temperate and tropical floras reflect a physiological barrier to colonization of temperate zones that can be crossed only by the evolution of freezing tolerance mechanisms. Thus, the relatively low diversity of angiosperm trees in temperate areas arises because of the difficulty of colonizing temperate regions, rather than, or in addition to, any intrinsic limits either on species production or on coexistence of species within temperate areas. Accordingly, explanations for latitudinal gradients (actually disjunctions) in diversity can be traced to historical and evolutionary factors rather than to contemporary ecological interactions." Latham and Ricklefs 1993

Potential Exam Questions

What is the difference between the primary scientific literature and scientific journalism?

What is the basic structure of a scientific data paper? How does is differ from a scientific review paper?

Define "latitudinal gradient." Give an example. Are there longitudinal gradients?

Define the biological species concept. What are some practical difficulties of applying it? Is it easier to count species locally or over large areas? Why?

By what order of magnitude (10, 100, 1000, etc.) is ant species richness greater at La Selva Biological Station than in Thurston County?

Do global diversity patterns change depending on what taxonomic rank (species, genus, family, order, class, phylum) you examine? Give examples.

Explain the dilemma of "pattern vs. process" in ecological and evolutionary studies.

Give an example in which a pattern of correlation between two variables is used to argue causation, and propose an alternative hypothesis in which a third variable controls both of the correlated variables.

As a beginning point in studying the distribution of diversity on Earth, the number of species in any defined area is a result of two processes: ______________ and _____________.

What is the difference between equilibrial and non-equilibrial explanations for species diversity?

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John T. Longino, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505 USA. longinoj@evergreen.edu

Paul Butler, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505 USA. butlerp@evergreen.edu

Last modified: 14 January 2002