Questions About Community Ecology

1. Select the correct example of coevolution.


a. Milkweed plants evolved a toxic substance to avoid being eaten by insects. The monarch butterfly was able to evolve the ability to eat the substance without becoming sick.

b. The tiger swallowtail caterpillar evolved a color pattern that looks like bird droppings.

c. One of the crab spiders evolved to have a color that is bright yellow like the flower it lives on. This makes it hard for other animals to see it.

          d. All of these are examples of coevolution.

2. In Mullerian mimicry ____________.

          a. The model is toxic and the mimic is not toxic.

          b. The model is not toxic, but the mimic is toxic.

          c. Both model and mimic are not toxic.

          d. Both model and mimic are toxic.

3. Choose the statement that gives an example of exploitative competition.


a. Dragonfly nymphs and chorus frog tadpoles occur in the same ponds. Dragonfly nymphs eat chorus frog tadpoles and if there are enough dragonflies, they eliminate the tadpoles from the pond.

b. Where the barnacles Balanus and Chthamalus occur together in the ocean Balanus eventually outcompetes Chthamalus for resources. Therefore, Chthamalus is eliminated from the area.

c. In the spring house sparrows move into purple martin houses and take them over before the purple martins migrate back to Kansas. Therefore, the purple martins can’t use the martin houses.

          d. All of these are examples of exploitative competition.

4. Grubs eat plants. Songbirds eat the grubs. House cats eat the songbirds. Which organism is a secondary consumer?


          a. cat 

          b. songbird 

          c. grub 

          d. plant

5. An autotroph is a __________.


          a. primary producer 

          b. primary consumer

          c. detritivore 

          d. omnivore

6. A community is made of _____________.

          a. organisms that all belong to the same species

          b. all of the living organisms in an area

          c. all of the abiotic factors in an area

          d. both the biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem

7. There are two bird species that occur in Europe and the Middle East. They have very similar diets and similar beaks where they are allopatric. The only place the two species occur together is in Iraq. In Iraq one of the species has a large beak and eats different foods than the other species. In areas where the two species DO NOT overlap, they have identical niches and look identical. The shift in beak size and diet that occurs where the two species are together is an example of _________.


          a. biotic potential 

          b. a fundamental niche

          c. character displacement 

          d. the Principle of Competitive Exclusion

8. The green anole is a lizard native to the southeastern U.S. Several decades ago the brown anole was introduced into Florida. It is more aggressive than the green anole. In places where it has become established it out-competes the green anole and eventually green anoles disappear from that place. This is an example of ___________.


          a. symbiosis 

          b. the principle of competitive exclusion

          c. character displacement 

          d. coevolution

9. Rabbits have single-celled organisms that live in their guts and break down grass. Rabbits cannot digest grass without these organisms. The organisms get a safe place to live and plenty of food. This is an example of ______.


          a. mutualism 

          b. predation 

          c. parasitism 

          d. commensalism

10. The definition of a keystone species is ____________.

          a. A keystone species is always the biggest species in the community

          b. A keystone species is always the major predator in the community

          c. A keystone species is always the longest living species in the community

d. A keystone species is always the species that has the strongest impact on the composition of the community

11. If a tall tree in a forest dies and falls, it will knock over smaller trees and open up a clearing in the forest. This leads to a small area of the forest in the earliest stages of succession. We call this _____.


          a. primary succession 

          b. character displacement

          c. intermediate disturbance 

          d. fecundity


12. Select the pair of terms that both mean the same thing.


          a. aposomatic coloration = warning coloration 

          b. aposomatic coloration = cryptic coloration

          c. cryptic coloration = warning coloration 

          d. aposomatic coloration = mimicry