Evolutionary Biology Spring 2015 Study Questions
The following study questions are designed to help you think about the lecture material. They are not comprehensive questions. Exam material is NOT limited to the topics in study questions and will not follow this format.
Lecture 1 - Jan 20th 2015
1) What type of adaptation would you expect to see in an organism trying to survive in an environment with visual predators?
2) What’s one possible explanation for powered flight appearing only once in invertebrates and at least three times in vertebrates?
3) Why would it be advantageous for an organism to resemble something else; i.e. a caterpillar that looks like bird droppings or an orchid that smells like carrion?
4) What’s convergence? Can you think of an example we saw in lecture?
5) Do similar traits always evolve to solve the same challenges? For instance, are all brightly colored organisms just trying to get a mate?
6) In what ways can humans be a source of selection to other organisms?
7) What’s the difference between evolutionary change and phenotypic plasticity?
Lecture 2 - Jan 22nd 2015
1) Suppose you observe that the average weight of squirrels on campus is greater than their average weight on Horsebarn Hill. Describe how you would use a reciprocal translocation experiment to test the hypothesis that the difference in weight of squirrels on campus and on Hosebarn Hill is the result of an evolutionary change. Explain what outcome(s) would support this hypothesis. What outcome(s) would not support the hypothesis?
2) In class, we focused on figuring out how to tell if a phenotypic difference was caused by an evolutionary change. What if there's no phenotypic difference between two populations you observe in the wild--could there still have been an evolutionary change? Why or why not?
3) Why do we focus on genetic differences in studying evolutionary change?
4) What is the relationship between Mendelian genetics and population genetics?
5) What are the variables used to describe the genetic composition of a population?
6) In general terms, what genotype frequencies are expected under the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium with 2 alleles? What do you think the proportions are going to be if we’re studying a locus with 3 alleles? Trying drawing one of those box diagrams we saw in class to support your answer.
7) What happens to genotype frequencies in a population under Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in subsequent generations? What happens to allele frequencies?
8) Hardy-Weinberg practice: try the problems here to get practice with describing the genetic composition of a population and determining Hardy-Weinberg proportions.
9) Challenge Problem: What’s the highest frequency of heterozygotes that is expected under HWE for a locus with 2 alleles?
Don’t forget to finish Activity 2 – It should be handed in at the beginning of lecture on Thursday Jan. 29th.