Sunday, 10 January 2016

Latest Ecology Interview Questions and Answers

41. What do numeric pyramids represent?
Numeric pyramids represent the number of individuals in each tropic level of a food chain.
Image Diversity: numeric pyramids

42. In a numeric pyramid to which tropic level does the base always refer?
In a numeric pyramid the base corresponds to the first tropic level, i.e., to the producers. The top level of the pyramid corresponds generally to the last consumer order of the food chain (since the number of individual decomposers, most of them microorganisms, is too large to be represented).
Image Diversity: decomposers

43. In a numeric pyramid, is it possible the base to be smaller than the other levels?
Since the numeric pyramid represents the quantity of individuals in each trophic level of the food chain, inferior tropic levels with fewer individuals than the superior tropic levels may exist. For example, a single tree can serve as food to millions of insects.

44. In the short range what will happen to the levels above and below a population of secondary consumers of a numeric pyramid if a large number of individuals from this population dies?
If an intermediate level of a numeric pyramid has its variable dimension decreased, i.e., if the number of individuals of such level is reduced, the number of individuals of the level below will increase and the number of individuals of the level above will be reduced. That happens because the individuals of the level below will face less predators and the individuals of the level above will have less available food.

45. What do biomass pyramids represent?
Biomass pyramids represent the sum of the masses of the individuals that participate in each tropic level of a food chain.
Image Diversity: biomass pyramids

46. What is dry mass?
When biomasses are compared often, the concept of dry mass is used. The dry mass is the total mass less the water mass of an individual. The total mass is also called fresh mass. To use dry mass instead of fresh mass is utile because among living beings, there are differences related to the proportion of water within their body and such differences can distort the quantitative analysis of incorporated organic material.

47. What do energy pyramids represent?
Energy pyramids represent the amount of available energy in each tropic level of the food chain.
Image Diversity: energy pyramids

48. Into which type of energy is the light used in photosynthesis transformed.
The luminous energy used in photosynthesis is transformed into chemical energy.

49. Can the amount of available energy in a given tropic level to be larger than the available energy in inferior tropic levels? What does that condition means to the conformation of the energy pyramids?
A superior tropic level always has less available energy than inferior tropic levels. This is because in each tropic level only a fraction of the organic material of the level below is incorporated into the consumers (into their bodies), the other part is eliminated as waste or is used in the metabolism as energy source. Therefore it is never possible to have energy pyramids with inverted conformation, i.e., with the tip to the bottom and the base to the top. It is also not possible to have superior tropic levels with variable dimension larger than inferior ones. In every energy pyramid, from the base to the top, the size of the variable dimension decreases.

50. What is the gross primary production of an ecosystem? How does GPP relate to photosynthesis?
Gross primary production of an ecosystem, or GPP, is the quantity of organic material found in a given area in a given period.
Since only autotrophs produce organic material and photosynthesis is the main production process, GPP is a result of the photosynthesis.

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