Evolution and Ecology of a Species Penguins

Evolution and Ecology of a Species


Q1.What kingdom does your organism fit into?

Q1. Avian Kingdom.

Q2. Give 5 characteristics it has that makes it fit the definitionof a living organism?

Q2. It is made of cells.

It reproduces (makes off springs)

It adapts to its environment

It grows and develops

It obtains and uses energy

Q3. What ecosystem or community type(s) does your organism occurin?

Q3. The organism occurs in a natural marine ecosystem.Penguins are mostly found in the Antarctica region.

Q4. How does your organism obtain its food?

Q4. The organism obtains its food from the marine habitat.Penguins’ favorite food is a type of shrimp called krill and othertypes of small fish.

Q5. How does your organism interact with members of its species?

Q5. Penguins of the same species have sexual, breeding andgeneral behaviors. They mate with each other, attack and charge andthus fight with each other. As a breeding behavior, penguinsparticipate in mutual preening, done by couples as a sign of love.

Q6. How does your organism interact with members of other species?

Q6. Penguins exhibit aggressive behavior towards members of adifferent species. They defend their territories and safeguard theirecological niches from the varying species. Penguins show threateningstares, point and gape, bill charging and beaking once they sensedanger from another species. They even proceed on to fight. They alsocompete for food and territories with members of other species.

Q7. How has your organism been modified by natural selection to besuited for its way of life?

Q7. Penguins have dark black backs that act as asurvival strategy when they are in water so that their majorpredators, the Leopard seal cannot see the penguins clearly from theabove against the dark see floor. They also have a white front thatacts as a camouflage that prevents the seals from seeing them frombelow against the bright sky above. Their special feathers help themto trap air as a form of better insulation from the cold airprevalent in their habitats. They have adaptations that allow them tostay without breathing for a long time while submerged in water.

Q8. How does it meet its need for water?

Q8. Penguins stay in water rich regions a marineecosystem. However, they have an adaptation to drink sea water andexcrete the salt from a special gland near the eye.

Q9.Where does your organism occur in terms of patterns ofbiodiversity- in areas of high or low biodiversity, or somewhere inbetween? Be specific.

Q9. Penguinsoccur in areas of low biodiversity. The Antarctica region has onlythe types of fish that can survive the extreme temperatureconditions. Hence, this restricts other forms of biodiversity whichare mainly found in warm waters. Penguins occur in cold marineregions only.

Q10.Does your species have direct impacts on humans that make itspecifically important to us? If so, in what way(s)?

Q10. Penguins are found in isolated and very cold areas of the earth.They don’t have a direct relationship to humans because humanscannot survive in their habitats. However, they affect humansindirectly, in their food web or food chain.

Q11.Does your species perform ecosystem services that make itindirectly valuable to us?

Q11. Yes. Penguins feed on krill and other types of small fish thatalso feed on phytoplankton. In turn, penguins are feed by leopardseals that are also eaten by whales and sharks. In the overall foodweb, humans also feed on fish for their nutritional value and othercosmetic purposes.

Q12.What role do wind/global air circulation play in determining whereyour organism lives?

Q12. Theflow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current plays an important role inthe energy exchange between the atmosphere and the sea. Penguins aremajorly found where the air circulation brings in more nutrients inthe marine world so that phytoplankton can grow sufficiently andtherefore other marine lives would flourish that will serve thepenguins with food. Penguins will hunt where this energy system isbalanced. Wind currents also affect the migration of penguins aroundthe different parts of the Antarctica.

Q13.What role does climate play in determining where your organismlives?

Q13. Theclimate in the Antarctica is the coldest, snowy and icy with extremefreezing temperatures. Penguins’ adaptations make them suitable forthis environment type as they can only survive in the marineconditions of these extreme temperatures.

Q14.What role does the earth’s tilt play in determining where yourorganism lives?

Q14.The earth has an axial tilt at an angle of 23 degrees. The tiltscauses the different seasons experienced on earth in relation to thesun’s position. The tilting shapes the Antarctic’s climate byproviding it with temperature extremes that are effective forpenguins’ adaptation, survival and existence.

Q15.What role does the rotation of the earth on its axis play indetermining where your organism lives?

Q15. Duringthe time when the Antarctica has suitable temperature for breeding,the penguins would come out of water for breeding. This is when thereis enough sunshine that would protect the young ones form extremecold.

Q16.Do ocean currents, upwelling, and or topography play a role inyour organism’s distribution?

Q16. Yes,they play a role. Penguins would avoid strong ocean currents and staywhere there is no disturbance. However, they settle on areas withupwelling where food is most likely to thrive in abundance. Penguinsare mostly seen in areas of flat ice cover where there movement isnot localized.

Q17.What role does the earth’s greenhouse gas layer play?

Q17.Greenhouse gases cause global warming that affect the natural habitatof penguins. These gases bring in acidic nature in the ecosystem andthe melting of the Antarctica’s ice coverage, and also causing arise in temperatures that would lead to decline of penguins sincetheir survival would be deemed impossible.

Q18.What microclimate does your organism occur in?

Q18. Somepenguins such as the African penguin and the Galapagos island penguinare found in microclimates that are modified by global warming.Hence, this is a warm modified microclimate.

Q19.How does it deal with temporal heterogeneity? If this is a factor

Q19. Penguinsare found in interactions with other species that are directlyrelated to it. Temporal heterogeneity serves to bring in competitionand predation from its rivals. For instance, penguins are aggressivein protecting their ecological niche by being aggressive towardsdifferent species.

Q20.Draw a climograph for the region in which your organism occurs

Q20. Penguinsare mostly found in the Antarctica continent where the climate isextreme coldness. The following climograph represents the region.

Figure1- Antarctica`s Climograph

Q21.What roles do dispersal, behavior, and/or habitat selection playin determining the distribution of your species?

Q21. Allspecies of penguins will at least survive in freezing temperatureconditions. So, the Antarctica is the only region with this type ofclimate and hence the species are distributed in this continent.

Q22.Give one role of biotic factors in determining the distribution ofyour species.

Q22. Penguinsfeed on other biotic (live) forms. They mostly feed on krills.Therefore, this feeding factor would determine their distribution byway of positioning the penguins in regions with large and sufficientamounts of their food.

Q23.Give one role of abiotic factors in determining the distributionof your species.

Q23. Iceis abiotic, it is not alive. Penguins are found in this icyecosystem. Sea water is also abiotic and it is where the penguinstend to hunt for their food.

Q24.Does your species occur in any biodiversity hot spots?

Q24. Yes.Penguins are mostly found in the moderately concentrated biodiversemarine ecosystem of the Antarctica. It is a biodiversity hotspotsince it is mainly in a region that would be greatly affected bygreenhouse effects of global warming that would lead to the collapseof this delicate ecosystem and hence the extension of thebiodiversity.