Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Postby gaurav.kandlikar » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:47 pm

Sorry to bring this up again, but I tried to write some stuff for MUT as an attempt to toy with the ecology canon a little bit:

Finals 2 wrote:The doubling time for a continuously growing density independent population is given as the ln of 2 over this quantity, which is equal to the ln of lambda. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this parameter from population ecology which, for a population experiencing density dependent logistic growth, is constantly decreasing.
ANSWER: r [accept little r, accept intrinsic per capita growth rate; prompt on Malthusian parameter]
[10] r is 0 for a population experiencing density dependent logistic growth rate when population size reaches this parameter, which is denoted K. It is the maximum number of individuals of a species an environment can support.
ANSWER: carrying capacity
[10] An organism’s value of r impacts the number of these events it experiences. Semelparous creatures such as the Pacific salmon do this only once in their lives, and an organism’s fecundity describes the rate of this action.
ANSWER: reproductive events [accept words forms, accept equivalents like having kids]


I think this is the sort of thing that Nick and Shan were talking about; hopefully you got a chance to play it [and a few other questions in the set that I think address your comments] at your sites. I was pretty happy with this question, and I'd be glad to hear what you guys think of it. I'm too lazy to post some of the other questions here, but I think the bonuses on E.O.Wilson/Gould/bees, coral snakes/mimicry/sexual reproduction and drift/allele frequency/chi squared are relevant to this discussion also.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Postby Muriel Axon » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:47 pm

I remember being quite happy with the ecology/evolution at MUT, but I actually don't remember any of the particular questions you mention. Honestly, this is probably just a failure of my memory, since I played it more than a month ago. I do remember a bonus on neutral theory which I liked (was that that last one you mentioned? Maybe it was drift, not actually neutral theory...)

EDIT: Thinking harder, I think I remember Wilson/Gould/bees.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Postby gaurav.kandlikar » Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:41 pm

I guess I can stop being lazy:
Kimura hypothesized that most evolutionary changes at a genomic level are results of this phenomenon. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this random mechanism of evolution, whose impact is far more obvious in small populations than in large ones.
ANSWER: genetic drift
[10] In a population evolving solely by drift, any given allele’s probability of fixation is equal to this parameter.
ANSWER: its allelic frequency [accept any answer which mentions the word frequency]
[10] Measured allelic frequencies are often subjected to this statistical goodness of fit with 1 degree of freedom test to measure whether or not they meet Hardy-Weinberg expectations.
ANSWER: Pearson’s chi-squared test


Some species of these snakes are capable of making popping noises from their vent lining, and many species of these snakes are in the genus Micrurus. For 10 points each:
[10] Name these banded snakes, which can be distinguished from the similar looking scarlet and king snakes by using the handy rhyme “red and black, venom lack; red and yellow, a venomous fellow.”
ANSWER: coral snakes
[10] King snakes express the Batesian form of this phenomenon because they expresses the coloration of a harmful organism despite being harmless. If king snakes were harmful, they’d be expressing its Mullerian form.
ANSWER: mimicry
[10] Another biologist named Muller was Herman Muller, who developed his namesake “ratchet” as a hypothesis to explain this phenomenon. John Maynard Smith coined the term “the two-fold cost” of this process.
ANSWER: sexual reproduction [accept sex; accept word forms, prompt on reproduction]


This man developed the study of island biogeography along with Robert MacArthur, and he postulated that humans have an intrinsic attachment to other life forms in his theory of biophilia. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this Harvard professor and ant enthusiast who took much heat from Richard Lewontin for proposing the study of human behavior in an evolutionary context in his theory of Sociobiology.
ANSWER: Edward Osborne Wilson
[10] Another critic of sociobiology was this other Harvard biologist, who developed the theory of punctuated equilibrium along with Nils Eldredge. He also wrote the essays “The Mismeasure of Man” and “Panda’s Thumb.”
ANSWER: Steven Jay Gould
[10] Sociobiology strives to give a biological basis to altruism, which is prominent in these eusocial insects. These insects come in “stingless” and “Africanized” varieties.
ANSWER: bees
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Postby Muriel Axon » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:04 pm

Okay, now I remember them. Yeah, I was pretty happy about all of these, and I think most of them did a better job than many ecology/evolution questions at testing things that are actually important. (Unfortunately, the Wilson/Gould/bees one went to our B team when we played against them.)

I noticed that these were all bonuses, which doesn't surprise me. It seems that for a lot of answer lines on things that are fairly fundamental in ecology/evolution, it's difficult to write tossups that are not either easily fraudable (as in the preceding discussion on endosymbiosis), or rely on clues about obscure research that nobody will get.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Postby Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:51 pm

Amon Goeth wrote:I noticed that these were all bonuses, which doesn't surprise me. It seems that for a lot of answer lines on things that are fairly fundamental in ecology/evolution, it's difficult to write tossups that are not either easily fraudable (as in the preceding discussion on endosymbiosis), or rely on clues about obscure research that nobody will get.

I took an ecology class this semester, so every so often I'd think of writing population biology questions on some of the interesting stuff I've learned, but ended up not doing it for fear they'd be too hard. These posts have certainly encouraged me to go ahead and try it.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Postby Chimango Caracara » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:09 pm

I did notice an increase in the ecology/evolution at MUT. In particular I liked the coral snakes question. Since most quizbowl players should now be able to recognize which color pattern is deadly, I predict a marked decrease in the number of [Snakes on a Plane was a movie released in 2006. You may now return to your regularly scheduled thread. --staff].
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