1. Carbon cycles through the ecosystem between the atmosphere, organisms (such as producers, herbivores, and carnivores), and decomposers. This natural cycle maintains a somewhat constant level of carbon in the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon into the cycle that has been trapped inside the earth. How does this affect the cycle and what problems can this cause?
2. Using Darwin’s reasoning, explain how four species of lizards, all closely related, came to be separate species on a Caribbean island.
3. During interphase the DNA is not visible through a microscope; it only becomes visible as chromosomes during mitosis. Why isn’t the DNA visible during interphase and why would this be the case?
4. How is it that, in meiosis, you can end up with four “daughter cells” that are all genetically different from one another?
5. Use Punnett squares to illustrate whether a type A female and a type B male can have a child with type O blood.
6. Your friend Gorinda wants to know if there are ever mutations that don’t cause problems. What do you tell him?
7. Compare DNA to a cookbook. The book is kept in a library and cannot be checked out (removed). Start with the letters and words in the cookbook compared with the bases and codons in DNA; end with the amino acid chain being folded into a protein, and a cake being baked.
8. Your friend Thomas wants to know why scientists can’t just take the egg cell, with its own nucleus intact, and shock it to begin cell division. How do you answer him?
9. A very heavy rainstorm floods a mountain river, changing its course and digging a deep canyon through the soft soils of the meadow in the valley below. What happens to the mice on either side of the valley?
10. Given the amount of sunlight that hits the plants on our planet, and the ability of plants for rapid growth and reproduction, how come we aren’t all hip deep in dead plants?