1. In flowering plants, pollination is a process that leads to the fertilization of an egg and the production of seeds. Some flowers attract pollinators, such as bees, using visual and chemical cues. When a bee visits a flower, in addition to transferring pollen, the bee can take nectar from the flower and use it to make honey for the colony.
Nectar contains sugar, but certain plants also produce caffeine in the nectar. Caffeine is a bitter-tasting compound that can be toxic to insects at high concentrations. To investigate the role of caffeine in nectar, a group of researchers studied the effect of 0.1 mM caffeine on bee behavior. The results of an experiment to test the effect of caffeine on bees’ memory of a nectar source are shown in Table 1.
(a) On the axes provided, construct an appropriately labeled graph to illustrate the effect of caffeine on the probability of bees revisiting a nectar source (memory).
(b) Based on the results, describe the effect of caffeine on each of the following:
- Short-term (10 minute) memory of a nectar source
- Long-term (24 hour) memory of a nectar source
(c) Design an experiment using artificial flowers to investigate potential negative effects of increasing caffeine concentrations in nectar on the number of floral visits by bees. Identify the null hypothesis, an appropriate control treatment, and the predicted results that could be used to reject the null hypothesis.
(d) Researchers found that nectar with caffeine tends to have a lower sugar content than nectar without caffeine. Plants use less energy to produce the caffeine in nectar than they do to produce the sugar in nectar. Propose ONE benefit to plants that produce nectar with caffeine and a lower sugar content. Propose ONE cost to bees that visit the flowers of plants that produce nectar with caffeine and a lower sugar content.
2. Fires frequently occur in some ecosystems and can destroy all above-ground vegetation. Many species of plants in these ecosystems respond to compounds in smoke that regulate seed germination after a major fire. Karrikins (KAR) and trimethylbutenolides (TMB) are water-soluble compounds found in smoke that are deposited in the soil as a result of a fire. KAR and TMB bind to receptor proteins in a seed. In a study on the effects of smoke on seeds, researchers recorded the timing and percent of seed germination in the presence of various combinations of KAR and TMB. The results are shown in Figure 1.
In a second investigation into the effect of available water on seed germination after a fire, researchers treated seeds with KAR or TMB. The treated seeds were then divided into two treatment groups. One group received a water rinse and the other group received no water rinse. The seeds were then incubated along with a group of control seeds that were not treated. The results are shown in the table.
(a) The researchers made the following claims about the effect of KAR and the effect of TMB on seed germination relative to the control treatment.
• KAR alone affects the timing of seed germination.
• KAR alone affects the percentage of seeds that germinate.
• TMB alone affects the timing of seed germination.
• TMB alone affects the percentage of seeds that germinate.
Provide support using data from Figure 1 for each of the researchers’ claims.
(b) Make a claim about the effect of rinsing on the binding of KAR to the receptor in the seed and about the effect of rinsing on the binding of TMB to the receptor in the seed. Identify the appropriate treatment groups and results from the table that, when compared with the controls, provide support for each claim.
(c) There is intense competition by plants to successfully colonize areas that have been recently cleared by a fire. Describe ONE advantage of KAR regulation and ONE advantage of TMB regulation to plants that live in an ecosystem with regular fires.