What is the basic process of weathering and erosion, that turns rock into soil?
The erosion cycle starts with a large rock, and due to weathering by either rain, wind on the rock, this creates erosion of the rock, this is then transported to another area, where it is deposited before it then solidifies or digenesis.( WETDD)
What is the difference between weathering and erosion?
Weathering takes place in situ
Erosion involves the transport of material to another place.
Give examples of rock – soil linkage in South Africa?
Table Mountain: – Quartzite – Nutrient poor soil, Hard base rock, winter rainfall, so animals have adapted to conditions ∴ There are no grazers ie Herbivores like elephant.
Kruger National Park: - Basalts – Nutrient rich, lots of plants, Acacia’s/grasses in abundance, high summer rainfall ∴ Elephant present as area can sustain plant life.
Why is an understanding of the interrelationship between rocks, soil, climate, vegetation and animals important?
Because if you have a basic understanding of what animals /plants can survive in what areas and why they can or cannot survive in those areas.
What is the difference between weather and climate?
Weather: - Regional conditions on a given day.
Climate:- Long term weather over a specific area.
What is dew point?
Temperature at which moisture contained in the air transfers from a gas to a liquid state.
What is relative humidity?
The amount of moisture contained in the air at a specific time as a % of amount of moisture @ due point.
Which way does air pressure move in the Southern Hemisphere?
Low pressure:- Clockwise
High pressure:- Anti – clockwise
How are clouds formed?
Hot air rises, as it gets higher it becomes less dense, and will cool down until it reaches dew point temperature at some stage, at which point a cloud will form.
What forces can lift air masses?
Moving air mass forced up by a barrier such as a mountain.
Turbulence caused by strong winds and uneven ground surface
Convection – warm air rising
Frontal lift – cold air wedging in under warmer air
What are the three variables in the classification of clouds?
Presence of rain
What are the different types of clouds ?
Layered - Stratus
Heaped - Cumulus
Wispy - Cirrus
High – Cirro-CirrostratusCirrocumulusCirrus
Medium – Alto-AltostratusAltocumulusNot occur at med alt
Low- Strato-StratusStratocumulusNot occur at low alt
Dark & rain bearing - Nimbo-NimbostratusCumulonimbus Not produce rain
Name the weather conditions associated with the following cloud types?
Cumulonimbus: - Rain bearing
Cirrus: - Sunshine/ wispy clouds
How can a thunderstorm endanger a guiding experience?
Lightning: - Stay away from rocky out crops or isolated tall objects
Thunder: - May scare clients
Hail: - Can be painful, and can injure clients it out in the open
Rain: - Can lead to flash floods, so stay out of river beds.
What are the two sea currents that may affect the weather conditions of Southern Africa?
Agulhas current :- Warm current – warm maritime air moving inland, cools down and condense, forming rain cloud as it rises up the great escarpment of the interior.
Benguella current :- Cold current from the Antarctic, on the west coast of Southern Africa – cool maritime air moving in from the coast heats up as it flows over the warm continent. Diminishes the chance of rain as the gap between air temp and dew point is widened and formulation of cloud becomes impossible.
Define the term Ecology?
Means the study of our home – the Earth
Why is knowledge of ecology important for the nature guide?
Because it encompasses all things on earth, whether alive or not. It includes the study of relationships between plants and climate, soils and rocks, animals and plants etc. It also refers to the processes that take place in nature and the way various elements of the natural system interact with one another. Being a nature guide is having to understand these relationships.
Name the levels of the trophic pyramid and briefly explain the level?
Top - Secondary consumers - Meat eating animals
Primary consumers - Plant eating animals
Primary producers - Green plants
Abiotic base - Soil, water,air etc
Running alongside the triangle you have
Decomposers - Break down dead plants/animals, tissue etc to be recycled and returned to the soil.
Explain how energy flow is affected by a transfer from one trophic level to a next?
If one level gets smaller /larger, then the other above/below will also get larger/smaller.
What is an ecosystem?
It is defined as ‘a community of organisms, interacting with one another, plus the environment in which they live and with which they interact’.
Explain the nutrient cycle?
The flow of nutrient will flow upwards in the case of the trophic pyramid, but is in a cyclic pattern also.
Nutrient are taken from the soil, water air, etc buy the primary producers – producer eaten by herbivore (primary consumer) - herbivore eaten by carnivore (secondary consumer). All these produce waste or die, thus their decomposing matter is absorbed back into the soil as nutrients. And so the cycle continues.
The cycle must be maintained in order to sustain life on earth.
Explain energy flow?
The sun produces energy, making the plants grow, plant eaters then consumes the plant, the plant eaters are then eaten by the carnivores again transferring energy. Energy cannot be recycled, but can be transformed and energy is lost /degraded irreversibly into the atmosphere so that it cannot be used again. It is not destroyed it is unavailable for producing work.
What is the Law of the Minimum?
Any organism requires a certain set of environmental conditions to survive successfully. If only one of these conditions is below minimum then it will not be able to survive successfully at that place.
What is Shelford’s Law of Tolerance?
It states that not only too little of a certain factor may be limiting, but too much of the same factor may also be limiting. We can therefore say that an organism lives between the limits of too little and too much of a certain environmental factors. These limits to too little and too much are called the limits of tolerance.
What is a symbiotic relationship?
Two things living closely together, sometimes good, sometimes bad.
What are the types of symbiotic relationships and explain?
Mutualism: Two organisms living together, both benefiting
Commensalism: One benefits, the other does not, but not harmed
Parasitism: One benefits, one is harmed by the relationship
What are the two types of parasitism and explain?
Holo –parasitic: Parasite extracts all its life requirements from the host - Dry rot in wood
Hemi-parasitic: Parasite extracts only what it requires – Mistletoe, only requires water as can photosynthesis.
Name the non-symbiotic relationships and explain?
Predation: intentionally killing their food, especially adapted to hunting.
Intraspecific competition – competition between animals of same species ie fighting for food from same carcass.
Interspecific competition – competition between animals of different species ie herd of zebra and herd of wildebeest competing for water at same waterhole.
What is the purpose of taxonomy?
To classify organisms according to their evolutionary relationships. Giving names to organism in accordance with their classification
What are the five kingdoms of living organisms?
What is the hierarchical order of classification?
What are the major biomes of Southern Africa?
What are the climatic patterns of the Savannah biome?
High summer rainfall
Dry temperate winters
What are the climatic patterns of the Grassveld biome?
High summer rainfall
Very cold winters, can get snow
What is the climatic pattern of the Nama Karoo?
Low summer rainfall
Extreme winter/summer temperatures
What is the climatic pattern of the Evergreen forest?
Rainfall all year
What is the climatic pattern of the Fynbos biome?
High winter rainfall – 250-600mm
Hot dry summers
What is the climatic pattern of the Succulent Karoo?
Low winter rainfall – 200–250mm
Hot, dry summers 45° - 48°c
What is the dominant vegetation of the Succulent Karoo?
Plants: Vygie (mesemb), Crassulas, Euphorbia’s, Quiver trees
What are the main indicator species of mammals, birds and dominant plants of the Fynbos biome?
What are the main indicator species of mammals, birds and dominant plants of the Grassveld biome?
Plants: Turpentine Grass, Red Grass, High Veld Cabbage Tree
Birds: Blue Swallow, Blue Korhaan
Mammals: Black Wildebeest, Oribi
What are the main indicator species of mammals, birds and dominant plants of the Nama Karoo?
Plants: Anker Karoo, Acacia Karoo
Birds: Karoo Chat, Karoo Korhaan
Mammals: Springbok, Gemsbok
What are the shore zones linked to sandy shores?
Low shore to Midshore
What are the shore zones linked to rocky shores?
Lower Balanoid Zone
Upper Balanoid Zone
What is the difference between Sandy shores and Rocky shores?
Sandy shores are more mobile as animals can migrate with the different positions of low and high tide; there is no firm substrate for the animals/plants to attach themselves too.
Whereas rocky shores have a substrate for animals to attach themselves to, the zones are more distinct and life is more difficult, because the organisms tend to stay in one place.
Describe the High Shore Zone and life within it?
High shore emerges every 14days, and is the region where kelp washes up on shore during high tide. It attracts scavengers, like giant isopod, sand hoppers and kelp flies. The isopods and sand hoppers remain underground during the day to avoid desiccation. They constitute an important source of food for shore birds.
Kelp flies, lay their eggs on high shore, hatch every 28days Pupae can float and re-establish elsewhere, larvae feed on kelp.
Describe the Mid shore zone and life within it?
Animal remains accumulate in the mid shore, the scavengers are plough snails that migrate up and down the shore by surfing, if the conditions are not optimal then they bury into the sand ie during high tide.
Name the sub divisions of Spermatophyta and briefly explain each one
Gymnopsermae - Has naked seed - not surrounded by ovary - usually contained in cones - wind pollinated ie Yellowwoods, Cedars
Angiospermae - Has an enclosed seed - has an ovary which develops into a fruit with seed - Pollinated by wind , insects, birds or even mammals - Also sub divided
Name the two sub divisions of Angiopermae ?
Describe a Monocotyledon ?
Floral parts in groups of three
Parallel veins in leaves
Xylem in scattered bundles
Very seldom woody plants
Describe a Dicotyledon ?
Floral parts in groups of 4 or 5
Net veining in leaves
Vascular tissue in rings
Typically woody plants
Name the anatomy of a tree?
Roots, stems,branches,leaves,flowers and fruit
Describe the role of the roots in a plant/tree?
Anchor the plant
Describe the function of the stem ?
Gives rigidity to the plant
Orientates the plant
Gives rise to branching bearing leaves and fruit
Conduit for transporting water and nutrients
Secondary Xylem transports fluids up using - Capillary force - root pressure - Leaf suction
Phloem transports fluids down, also uses gravity
Describe the function of a leaf ?
Produce energy by respiration
Name a local tree and describe its general and medicinal uses?
Bark used in tanning process
Gum used as substitute for sugar
Gum boiled down and used for sweets
What is photosynthesis?
Is the process where leaves absorb carbon dioxide and oxygen from the air and in conjunction with absorbed solar energy , enable the plant to manufacture carbohydrates
What is respiration in a plant?
It is the opposite to Photosynthesis.
It is where the carbohydrates are oxidized releasing energy
What is a decreaser grass and give an example ?
Grass species that end to decrease when the veld is under /over utilized ( often climax grasses)
Blue Buffalo Grass
Common Signal Grass
What is an increaser I species grass and give an example?
Grass that tend to increase when the veld is under utilized
Fine thatch grass
What is an increaser II grass and give an example?
Where grass tend to increase when the veld is over utilized ( mostly sub climax and pioneer grasses)
Curly leaved love grass
Sand quick grass
Carrot seed grass
Briefly describe pollination?
Grain of pollen lands on stigma
Pollen tube grows down style to ovary
Fertilizes egg cell
Name the pollinating agents?
Describe the difference between Thorns, spines and spikes?
Thorns - something that grows , then stops , fall off quite easily, does not develop
Spine - Branch with sharpened tip - will develop branches and leaves
Spike - Has a floral arrangement - is a type of inflorescence
What is the importance of grasses?
They are all staple foods is maize, wheat,rice
What is a Sour veld?
High rainfall - 625mm per annum and higher
Lower temps and very cold winters
High lying areas
Leached soils low in nutrients
Nutrient poor soil lacking in nitrogen & Phosphate
In absence of phosphate and nitrogen plants cannot convert excess carbs into proteins
Plants convert excess carbs into woody tissue therefore unpalatable with low digestibility
Can tolerate heavy grazing
Recovers slowly after heavy grazing due to nutrient poor soils
Palatable only in growing season
What is a sweet veld?
Low rainfall 250-500mm /annum
High temp, moderate winters
Low lying areas
Nutrient rich soils
Abundance of nitrogen and phosphate
Plants can convert their excess carbs into proteins
Plants rich in protein , palatable and nutritious
Sensitive to over grazing
Recovers quickly from heavy grazing due to nutrient rich soils
Palatable through the year
Describe the importance of fire?
Removes old plant material
Recycling of minerals
Germination of seeds
Population control of shrubs and trees
Explain the environmental limitations on growth?
Climate - rainfall and temp
Geology - morphology & soil
Processes - eg wind & fire
Why is bare ground tough for plants?
Low soil moisture retention
V high & v low soil temps
Briefly explain retrogression?
It is the abuse of the veld by overgrazing
Too many fires
Can go back to bare rock
Need to manage veld to climax conditions
What is a cold fire?
Wind speed low
Ambient temp below 20c + humidity is high +50%
Burning with the wind or up a slope
This kind does little or no damage to trees, as only affects the grass layer
Animals can easily dodge such fires, as flames progress slowly
What is a hot fire?
Has strong winds
Low humidity <30%
High ambient temp +25c accompany the fire
Burning into wind /down slope
Due to high temp can kill mature trees
High speed & aggressive propagation of hot fires often trap animals which can/are killed seriously injured
Hot fires very effective in controlling bush encroachment as it kills most small trees and shrubs
What is an arthropod?
What is the difference between Arachnida and Insecta?
Arachnida - 2 body parts - more than 6 legs - Breathe with book lungs
Insecta - Body part in 3 - 6 legs
Briefly explain the external body of an insect?
Head - Thorax - Abdomen
Head - Antenna, eyes, mouth parts
Thorax - legs , wings
Abdomen - Segmented (usually 11), ovipositor (egg-laying organ), (males) have claspers, Cerci - sense organ ( mayflies)
What are the three different types of insect life cycles?
What is an Ametabolic life cycle and give an example?
Where no metamorphosis occurs
What is a hemi-metabolic life cycle and give an example?
Where there is partial metamorphosis
Egg –nymph – adult
What is a holo-metabolic life cycle and give an example?
Has a complete metamorphosis
Egg – larva- pupal - adult
What is the difference between the dragonfly and damselfly?
Dragonfly sits with wings open
Damselfly sit with wings closed
What is the ecological role of insects?
Maintaining balances in nature
Name two differences between insects and spiders?
Spiders have 2 body parts & 8 legs
Insects have 3 body parts and up to 6 six legs
What is the difference between moths and butterflies?
Moths have feather shaped antenna
Butterflies have clubbed antenna
What are the two sub orders of spider and briefly explain?
Araneomorphs: Web living spiders, have fangs going inwards, one set of book lungs
Mygalmorphs: Live on ground, fangs strike downwards and two book lungs
Name spiders that have neurotoxic venom?
Black button spider
Brown button spider
Name spiders that have cytotoxic venom?
What is the difference between venomous and poisonous?
Poison is something ingested
Venom something injected
What are the two main families of scorpions called and what are the differences?
Buthidae – very venomous, small pinchers, fat tail, sting always treated as life-threatening
Scorpionidae – Large pinchers, thin tails, sting painful but not normally life threatening
What is the difference between millipedes and centipedes?
Millipede: Cylindrical body – 2 more pairs of legs per body segment – detrivores – Poisonous secret a poison that can make you very sick
Centipede: One pair of legs per body segment – Body flatten – carnivores – venomous, have fangs that inject venom into prey
What are the characteristics of amphibians?
Animals with back bone
Central nervous system
Start life as water living, gill breathing animals
Second stage is lived on land as lung breathing animals
Regualte body heat from external means
What are the characteristics of a frog?
Smooth moist skin
Long hind legs
Small & dark in colour
Teeth in upper jaw
Variety of habitats
What are the characteristics of a toad?
Shorter hind legs
Screte toxins ^ gland behind eyes
Deosn't swim well
Laeger with cryptic colouration
Most of life on land
Generally live in burrows
What is the life cycle of the frog and toad?
Adult - Egg - Tadpole - Adult ( metamorphosis -breath by gills in water)
What are the mating positions called and describe?
Auxillary clasp - where they are the same size and male holds female under arms.
Inquinal clasp - where male is slightly smaller, so holds female in front of hips.
Adhesion clasp - If male is very small will glue himslef onto back of female.
How do toads and frogs lay their eggs?
Toads lay eggs in a string
Frogs lay eggs in a cluster
What are the different types of nests of frogs/toads, and describe?
Leaf folding - Make a cup wiht leaf, female glues it together, eggs fall into cup - tadpoles develope in leaf - crawl out and drop into water below.
Foam nest - Churn up the jelly with thier hind legs as she lays the eggs, males excrets sperm to fertilize - foam will dry out as tadpoles emerge - they drop into the water below - can stay in foam for as long as 20days meaning they are ahead of other tadpoles and so a important adaptation to avoid predation.
Rain frogs - independant of water, burrow in soil and lay eggs inside a jelly mass - Eggs hatch and tadpoles go through metamorphosis inside the jelly mass
What is the advanatage of laying eggs in a jelly?
It is sticky prevneting them from being swept away by currents
Detrial particles stick to the mass and help to conceal them
Acts as a shock absorber,protecting the embryo
Provides a barrier for fungal infections
What is meant by the word Benthic?
It is animals that dwell on the bottom of a water body
Inhabit the sediment in lakes, river etc
Feed algal crusts, leaves, and detritus
Mouth adapted to enable scraping of food particles off surface.
What is meant by Nectonic ?
Organisms live in open water, can propel themselves independant of currents in the water.
Tadpoles feed on plankton
Have capability of fast motion and maneuverability, linear and angular acceleration with great agility
Long tail enables them to remain suspended while feeding on plankton
Name the characteristics of the Bufonidae family?
Include toads, have paratoid glands, rough dry skin
Stout with short limbs
Inhabit open country and water habitats
Briefly describe the rain frogs?
Are grossly globose and increase this by inflating the body
They burrow in sand
Use the adhesion method for mating
Describe the Platannas?
Have visible lateral lione snese organs
Toes are webbed, fingers are not
Skin secretation are toxic
Eat food by ripping apart by holding in mouth and using back legs to claw/rip apart until pieces small enough to eat/swallow
Name and explain the different types of frog calls?
Advertising - Advertise ready to mate
Territorial - Establishing territory
Aggresive - Makes others keep quite/retreat
Distress/Release - Startling effect & if gets male instead of female for mating
Explain Topor in frogs/toads?
Is where they can slow their metabolism down , the heartbeat and temperature go down
Bull frogs can go in a state called Aestivation which is a state of torpor during drought and intense heat.
If water scarce dig into the ground and shed several layers of skin which forms a water tight cocoon around the body. Only nostrils left open.
Can survive for a year or longer, until rain returns, then will break out
Breifly explain toxicity in frogs?
Is the most important means of defence
Secrete toxins via their skin
Have mucous glands and granular glands
Mucous glands all over body
Granular glands situated in specific region ie paratoid posion gland behind head in toads
Red Toads, Rubber frogs and Bufonidae are toxic
Plantanna have posionous mucus all over body, will see heron wipe frog on ground first to get rid of the mucus before eating
Water mogoose will turn toad over and eat from belly to avoid the poison glands
Decribe colouration in frogs?
Colour is used for protection have different types:-
Cryptic colouration - Conceals the frog, countershading common , upper body darker than lower body, also found in frog eggs
Flash colouration - At rest animal is cryptically coloured,but when moving bright colours are displayed. when frog stops moving predator fooled because it is still seeking the bright colour
Aposematic colouration - found mainly in rubber frogs where red or orange is displayed against a black background
Thermoregulatory colouration - Enable frog to make better use of sunlight during colder parts of the day by adopting a darker colour. Lighter colouration used during heat of the day.
What are the characteristics of reptiles?
What are the three reptile orders?
Chelonean :- Tortosie, Turtle, Terrapin
Squamata :- Lizards,Gecko, Agama,Chameleons,Skinks,Scally lizards,Leguaans and Snakes
Crocodylia :- Crocodiles
What are the main characteristics of tortoises?
Incubation temp decides the sex
31°c to 34°c – female above 34°c egg will die
26°c to 30°c – male below 26°c egg will die
Largest tortoise in SA is Leopard tortoise
Most endangered Geometric tortoise
Smallest Speckled padloper
Describe the main characteristics of terrapins?
Fresh water living
Cannot withdraw into shell have to fold neck in sideways
Has a gland under armpit that secretes a foul smelling liquid as defence mechanism
Are carnivores and ostophagia (eats bones)
If no water can hibernate underground in mud until water pans fill up again.
Important decomposers in eco-system
Describe the characteristics of the turtle?
Live in salt water
Land bound for breeding
Temp defines sex: - 32°c -34°c female lower males
SA species Leather- backed Turtle and Green Turtle
Describe the characteristics of crocodiles?
Temp decides sex: - 31°c to 34°c – male –
27°c to 30°c – female
Four chambered heart
Can hear, breathe and see effectively under water
Teeth continually replaced
Valve in of back of throat
Describe the main characteristics in the order Squamata?
Geckos: - No eyelids, Clean eyes with tongue, Can produce sound, Modified toe structure, Autotomy; can lose an appendage ie tail.
Agamas: - Frog like head, Autotomy but tail will not regrow
Chameleons: - Prehensile tail to use to hold onto things, Opposing toes to hold onto things, Two eyes move independently, Can change colour due to environment, if angry get very dark and hiss at you, when amorous will intensify in colour.
Name the different types of snakes?
Describe the main characteristics of the blind snake?
Small teeth upper jaw
Feed on termites
Found under rocks or in termite mounds
Describe the main characteristics of thread snakes?
Blunt head and short tail
Teeth in lower jaw
Live on termites
Preyed on by scorpions and other snakes
Describe the main characteristics of pythons?
Solid teeth in both jaws
Feed by constricting their prey
Can survive a year without food can turn off their digestive system
Nose has heat sensitive pits to detect warm blooded prey
Describe the main characteristics of typical snakes?
Have solid teeth in both jaws
Have back fang in top of jaw
Includes Boomslang and Vine snake which have slow acting haemotoxic venom.
Describe the main characteristics of cobras and mambas?
From the family Elapidae
Have front fixed fangs and poison gland
Have Neurotoxic venom apart from Mozambique , black and black necked spitting cobra
Includes coral snake, Cape cobra, Black Mamba, Rinkhals