Evolution of NZ Endemic Plants and animals: Revision

Revision questions at bottom of page.

Check that you know and understand the following. I suggest you print, carefully read and tick off.
  • The meaning of the term endemic, as distinct from native
  • Why NZ has such a lot of endemic species
  • What is meant by the term species and sub-species
  • The split from Gondwana, its timing, and the significance for endemism e.g. why we lack mammals
  • What mutations are and what causes them
  • That most mutations have no effect, that harmful mutations are weeded out and that some mutations can be helpful if conditions change
  • Why the accumulation of random mutations causes genetic drift
  • Why most characteristics such as leaf size show a normal distribution (and what that is)
  • Why the genetic drift of two genetically isolated populations will lead to speciation
  • What factors lead to genetic isolation
  • Why, once new species have been formed this way, they can’t re-combine
  • What selection pressures are
  • The significance of differential selection pressures in leading to new species
  • What is meant by the bottleneck effect, and what causes bottlenecks
  • Examples of major bottlenecks in NZ geohistory, particularly the tertiary marine transgression and the ice ages and why they did this (examples of geological factors)
  • Examples of biological factors that can cause a bottleneck
  • Why major population reduction can lead to extinction instead of bottleneck
  • Why the most rapid evolution occurs at such times
  • What is meant by the founder effect
  • Examples of the founder effect in NZ
  • What is meant by adaptive radiation
  • Why so many NZ species were long-lived and had slow reproductive rates prior to human arrival
  • What effect the ice ages had on NZ forest cover
If unsure, ask.
The password to open this is the first name of the boy who is first in the class alphabetically (in lowercase). Sorry to non-SHC users, but for copyright reasons I have encrypted this. SHC boys - type your answers on this and email them to me for marking.

Revision questions Answers

1. Why is the time that NZ broke away from Gondwana significant?
2. What is biological 'fitness'?
3. Describe the process of natural selection.
4. What is the difference between natural selection and evolution?
5. What is a mutation?
6. Do all mutations have an effect on an organism?
7. Why do harmful mutations not persist in the gene pool?
8. What is a selection pressure?
9 What are biological factors with reference to selection pressures? Give examples.
10. What are the important geological factors that have lead to the high level of endemism in NZ?