“Tarnita’s Termites, Pacific Lampreys, and Large Brains”
This week our discussion is focused on animal evolution. For your primary post, respond to one of the following three topics. Also, please reply to at least one fellow student on any topic.
Topic 1 : Population Distribution of Termites in a Savanna. Watch the video (1) describing Corina Tarnita’s research on the spacing of termite mounds in savanna ecosystems, and then address the following:
- (a) What were Tarnita’s findings about the spacing of termite mounds?
- (b) What does Tarnita think is the main factor that governs the spatial distribution of the termite mounds?
- (c) How do the termite mounds benefit other organisms on the savanna?
Topic 2 : Pacific Lampreys. Watch the video about Pacific Lampreys (2)*, then address the following:
- (a) Where do Pacific lampreys fall in the taxonomy of vertebrates?
- (b) What challenges do Pacific lamprey populations face?
- (c) Why are Native American tribes of the Northwest concerned about them? (Please note: take care not to confuse the Pacific lamprey (described in the video) with the Sea Lamprey, which is a completely different species that is considered an invasive species in the Great Lakes).
Topic 3 [article]: Supporting the Energy Needs of a Large Brain. As discussed in the article by Zimmer (3)*, brain tissue is energetically expensive. For a species to evolve a large brain, it may need to make certain adjustments to ensure that enough energy is available to support brain function. Zimmer discusses various hypotheses about such adjustments in the human line of descent. Explain one of these adjustments.
References (in Strayer Writing Standards format).
- HHMI Biointeractive (2015, November 11). Analyzing patterns in the savanna landscape. [Video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/nJGpABrEatc
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. (2012). Taking the initiative to conserve Pacific Lamprey. [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkwfDVAoSXk
- Carl Zimmer, July/August 2011. The brain. Discover, 32 (6), 18-19. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=61992134&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Note: If you have trouble with the link to Carl Zimmer’s article, the following link is to a file with the text of the article: zimmer article for week 9 discussion.pdf