Life in the Freezer - Race to Breed by jamesdauray


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                                 BBC Life in the Freezer
                                           Part 3 – Race to Breed
The spring and summer seasons of Antarctica are very short, running from October through February. This leaves only a
few short months of exposed rock, fresh water from melting ice, and relatively calm weather. Each of the organisms that
occupy Antarctica, including animals, plants, and protozoa, must complete their breeding cycle during this season to have
any chance of passing their traits onto the next generation.

Fur Seals
    1. Describe some of the specific territorial behaviors shown by the fur seals.

    2. What do young bull seals lack that makes them unsuccessful at claiming territory?

    3. List two obstacles in the physical landscape of Antarctica that chinstrap penguins must overcome to
       reach their breeding ground. Describe any adaptations they have evolved to overcome these.

                      Landscape Obstacle                                          Adaptations

    4. The chinstrap penguin parents take turns raising the chicks. Why is this kind of arrangement necessary?

    5. Circle areas of the Antarctic continent that are exposed as the sea ice melts during the height of summer.

Biology Teaching Resources                                                  Page 1
6. What critical factor is present in the summer that allows moss to grow?

7. How do the mites survive over winter?

8. Mites occupy a special kind of niche. They are described as “opportunists.” Explain the meaning
   behind this term.

9. What unusual substrate (surface) can lichens grow on that no other plant can?

10. What causes the pink-colored snow?

11. Adelie penguin parents have the unusual practice of specifically feeding the strongest of their chicks
    first. What is a possible evolutionary reason for this behavior?

12. Arctic skuas are scavengers. They are shown in this episode attempting to eat the afterbirth of fur seals,
    an injured chinstrap penguin, and a adelie penguin chick. Why are scavengers an important niche in an
    ecosystem like this?

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Antarctic Peninsula
  13. The Antarctic Peninsula is the first part of the continent that is exposed as the sea ice retreats in the
      spring. Circle its location on the map below.

  14. Gentoo penguins are found in both South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninsula. List some of the
      unique nesting behaviors exhibited by these penguins in the more Antarctic Peninsula.

  15. The Antarctic Peninsula is a much harsher breeding environment for the Gentoo penguins than South
      Georgia Island. Why then, would a population want to breed here at all?

  16. What do crabeater seals eat?

  17. What feat do Adeile Penguins accomplish in order to find breeding grounds?

  18. What are nunataks?

  19. Snow petrels travel so far inland that they have no access at all to liquid water. Give an example of how
      they use snow in place of it.

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