Short Essay

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Please answer ONE of the following questions below. Answers should be LESS THAN 1000 words in length. The essay is open book, cite any resources that you use. This will be submitted to turnitin.

  1. Using an adaptive radiation of your choice, describe the specific circumstances and series of events that allowed a single propagule to not only establish itself, but give rise to and maintain a new diverse lineage. Consider historical, evolutionary, and ecological drivers that led to to such a pattern of speciation. Do you believe that such radiations are the exception or the rule for explaining patterns of regional or global biodiversity (support your idea with evidence)?
  2. One of the big questions in biogeography in the 21st century is whether and how species will persist in light of rapid, human induced climate change. Specifically, can the adaptation of organisms keep pace with the rate climatic change? In this essay, choose a species or lineage. Using your understanding of the drivers of genetic variation in populations and species, describe how you might expect genetic variation to change over the species's (or lineage) geographic range. What might the consequences of such patterns of genetic variation mean for future range dynamics in the context for changing climates? Would some areas thrive while others go extinct? (Be specific).
  3. The western USA is home to four broad desert regions: the Great Basin, the Mojave, the Sonoran, and the Chihuahuan. While many biogeographers recognize these as distinct deserts, some take a different view. For instance, some believe that the Mojave is simply a transition zone between the Great Basin and the Sonoran deserts. As a biogeographer, what evidence would you use to make this distinction? In this essay, propose biological survey to tackle that question, outlining what the resulting data might look like to support either possibility (of distinct deserts or a transition zone). 
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