1 Campus Life W: Excuse me, I’m new here. Would you be able to give me some information about the Night Ride?
M: The shuttle bus? I sure can.
W: Great, when does it run?
M: Let’s see...I think the schedule has changed since last year, so just let me have a look...okay...here it is. It runs from 8:00 p.m. until 12:15 a.m.
W: Is there a fixed schedule? Does it come at regular intervals?
M: It runs approximately every fifteen minutes.
W: OK. Is that going to change in the winter quarter?
M: No, that’s the schedule for the fall, winter, and spring quarters. Since it’s only here to cater to student needs, it runs on a less frequent schedule in the summer since there aren’t as many students attending classes.
W: I see. So, now it runs Monday through Friday, right?
M: No no, the Night Ride only runs on school nights ...Sunday through Thursday.
W: Sundays, too? That’s great.
M: That’s right, but not Fridays.
W: I won’t need it Fridays. That’s when I review my lecture notes. I can do that at home. So, through the week, can I catch the Night Ride at the library? I usually study at the library.
M: Hmmm...the bus runs on a circuit through campus and the surrounding communities. The pick up points on campus are at Parrington Hall, the Communications Building, the HUB, Garfield Lane, and Meany Hall.
W: Isn’t Meany Hall that old building adjacent to the library tower?
M: Yes, that’s correct.
W: I see. So, I guess I could just catch it at Meany Hall. Where would I get dropped off?
M: There are no specific drop-off points. You just tell the driver where you want to go.
W: Really, he’ll take me right to my doorstep?
M: Sure, as long as your doorstep is within a mile of campus.
W: A mile? Hmmm...I think my place is probably a little more than a mile.
M: Well, you could go in that direction on the shuttle and walk the rest of the way. Or, you could get let off at one of the local bus stops.
W: Hmmm...maybe I’ll just take my bike. Can I take my bike on the shuttle?
M: Good question. I’m not sure. But maybe not. They haven’t got bike racks. Maybe you could do this: take your bike to the bus stop, lock it up, take the bus to school, and then on your way home you could take the shuttle and get dropped off at the bus stop where you left your bike.
W: Do you think my bike would be safe there?
M: Well, of course, those stops are not affiliated with the university, so I can’t really guarantee that. But I know other students haven’t had any trouble.
W: I might as well just ride my bike to school and back.
M: That’s another option. But then again, you can’t really ride your bike in the winter.
W: Why not?
M: Well, the winters here can be pretty harsh.
W: Oh yeah. Well, I guess I can try the bus out and see how well it works for me. Thanks for all of your help. I really appreciate it.
M: My pleasure.
2 Oceanography. M: What exactly are reefs, and why are they so important? I hope this lecture will give you some answers to these two questions. Today, we will consider the history of reefs and the evolutionary changes they have gone through. It is important to understand the changing nature of a reef and how vulnerable it is to environmental influences. A coral reef is a bank of coral, the top of which can sometimes be seen just above the sea. Reefs are some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. An ecosystem includes all the living things in an area and the way in which they affect each other and the environment. Coral reefs have been around for millions of years and have undergone numerous changes over time. We can utilize coral reef ecosystems as indicators of larger, global changes. This is especially important today in assessing the effects human activity may cause on the environment. Reefs may be found in both tropical and temperate areas of the world. They are geological features that support a huge diversity of marine life and provide a habitat for sea life. The shape and form of a reef depend on where it is located and what type of forces the ocean subjects it to. Temperate reefs occur in colder waters where the temperature averages below 18?C. They usually form on existing rocky outcrops. Temperate reefs are not as well known as tropical reefs, but they are still home to a diverse range of species. Seaweeds such as coralline algae produce calcium carbonate that helps build up these rocky reefs. Tropical reefs, on the other hand, occur in warmer waters that average around 18?C and can reach into the high 20s. These reefs are built by the animals that live there, especially algae and corals. Over time, the reef grows by building on top of the calcium carbonate skeletons of polyps. W: Excuse me sir, what exactly are polyps? M: Polyps? Polyps are small simple tube-shaped water animals. The polyps divide and grow on top of their old skeletons or houses. Now, as I said earlier, we can use coral reef ecosystems as indicators of larger, global changes. All sorts of information about the past can be obtained from rocks and coral cores. Coral reefs can tell us things such as which times the Earth experienced a rise or fall in sea levels. They can even inform us about events such as ice ages, huge volcanic eruptions, and meteors falling to Earth causing mass extinctions by wiping out whole species. Modern corals grow in warm, clear, well-lighted and shallow water. Since coral reefs grow best from the low tide line to about a 20-meter depth, even relatively small changes in sea level can have very dramatic effects on coral reef growth. Reefs will always grow to the level of low tide. The location of fossils in a reef is very important because by observing fossils in a reef, we can accurately estimate sea level at the time the reef was formed. Therefore, fossils help us chart the various changes in sea level that have occurred over the years. Thanks to research by marine scientists, we know that sea level change has been going on continuously during the evolution of corals and reef organisms. There have been 17 cycles of sea level rise and fall in the last 2 million years. So, how do marine scientists get their information? One method they use is called coral coring. By drilling a vertical core through the reef, it is possible to see periods of growth and decline in the reef. It is possible to date these periods of growth and decline by looking at fossils in the rock and measuring the types of atoms present in the rock. The type of atoms present in the rock can tell scientists lots about how old the rock is and what the climate was like at the time. Sea level rise and fall may be caused mainly by movements of the Earth’s crust and changes in the amount of water locked up in the polar ice caps. As the polar ice caps melt or freeze, sea levels around the world change. So, coral is not just pretty to look at, it is also a great source of information.
3 Psychology W: We hear a lot of criticism from the baby boomers about the younger generations. The stereotypical idea is that your parents’ generation thinks that young people are lazier, less respectful, less goal-oriented, and so on. Now, perhaps this kind of criticism is common to generation pairs, but there’s actually been some interesting research in this area. Let’s take a look at what it shows. Is the younger generation really so bad, or are the baby boomers looking through distorted glasses, comparing their children to their adult selves instead of themselves at the same age? How is it that we can research such a topic? Well, psychologists have been giving various psychological tests to samples of the adolescent population since the 1960s. By comparing the data from these tests for your generation against the data from your parents’ generation, we can get a picture of what, if any, significant differences there are. One major test was the IQ test. IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient. Intelligence is an idea that scientists use to describe why some people are better at academic tasks than others. The results of looking at IQ test scores from the past and from today show that the younger generation today is significantly more intelligent than their parents were in their adolescence. How significant? 10 points. This is a fairly large amount considering that IQ is only really measurable within a range of 70 to 130 points. This means that, on average, humans are increasing in intelligence by one IQ point every four years. Interesting, isn’t it? So, why would this be? Well, we have a few theories. First off, nutrition may be a key factor. More different kinds of food are more readily available today than ever before. This has been true for many, many years, so every new generation is privileged with better nutrition when developing in the womb. This is a critical period in the development of the brain. Nutrition makes a big difference during childhood as well. Think about what your parents used to eat for breakfast. Bacon, eggs, sausage, ham, steak...not a lot of vitamins! Another theory is that as the world becomes more and more complex, our brains have to develop more in order to cope with it. The brain works just like a muscle. The more you use it, generally, the stronger it gets. A good example is computers. My daughter is six years old and has learned how to navigate the Internet, burn a CD, save files to folders, and a number of other tasks that her grandparents certainly can’t do! You know, when I was six, all I had to learn how to do was turn on the TV and flip between 3 or 4 channels. Your improved intelligence might also have something to do with your upbringing. Responsibility and self-reliance are both available and necessary at a much younger age than when I was a child. There are very few stay-at-home parents anymore. Many of you probably knew how to cook, clean, and do laundry by the time you were in high school. Sad to say, I never learned these things until I was in my mid-twenties. So you’re smarter. Is that it? Well, no. You’ve also scored higher than your parents on tests of extroversion. This means you are more outgoing, more open with yourself, and less shy in social settings. This is a great advantage in networking and getting desirable jobs. If you are socially adept, an employer is more likely to hire you. So, why are you more extroverted? Well, once again, necessity is the mother of invention. You spend a lot more time outside of the family unit and with many different kinds of people. Also, you are much more likely to move away from your home town for university or for work, and you will probably move more times in your life than my generation did. This means you have to get out there and meet new people in order to maintain a network of social support. There is one disadvantage though. The young generation today is more anxious and neurotic than their parents were at the same age, meaning that youth today worry more. I suppose this is understandable given the state of the world today, but it is also, of course, a negative factor for health and well-being in general.
4 Paleontology. M: All right, let’s get down to living fossils. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Uh...make sure you take notes because there’s always a question about this on the primary exam. Where was I? Ah, yes living fossils. Well...certainly, not all species on Earth have followed the usual pattern whereby species last about 2 to 3 million years before they are replaced. This number varies between different phyla, but that’s an average figure. Evolution does its work, and older species often die out because of climate changes and natural catastrophes. Species that adapt well survive in the new conditions, and the cycle continues. Some hardy species, though, have weathered the ages and remain with us today. It’s truly amazing to think that these plants and animals have adapted to so many changes. In some cases, perhaps, there has been stability in their environment, too. Nonetheless, these survivors are a scientific wonder because of their success. First of all, it’s important to realize that we have what are deemed “living fossils,” but this isn’t precisely the same as a “lazarus taxon.” I’ll explain that term soon. For now, let’s stick with living fossils. A living fossil is a species of plant or animal that has existed since far back in the geological record and has never disappeared. These species haven’t changed their form at all over an extensive period of time. What I mean is that they have lasted much longer than the average of 2 to 3 million years that I mentioned a few minutes ago. A great example of this is the tuatara lizard in New Zealand. This wonderful reptile has been around longer than the dinosaur. And we can find consistent evidence of its existence as far back as 200 million years ago. Tuataras are a single living species with no close living relatives, but which are the survivors of a large and widespread group in the fossil record. Another well-known example of this is the ginkgo tree. Ginkgo trees used to be part of a large group of plants, but, like tuataras, they’re now one of a kind. Perhaps this has contributed to humanity’s fascination with them, imbuing them with supposed healing properties. Anyway, that’s beside the point, I suppose. The key thing is that, as with all true living fossils, at no point have ginkgo trees disappeared from the fossil record. A lazarus taxon, or lazarus species, on the other hand, has done just that. Having disappeared from the fossil record for a long stretch, a living specimen is suddenly found. This is the case with the famous coelacanth. That’s a tricky one to spell, so I’ll write it on the board. Coelacanth: C-O-E-L-A-C-A-N-T-H. This fish was formerly thought to be long extinct. In fact, scientists can find no evidence of the coelacanth in the past 80 million years of the fossil record. Against all expectations, a living one was caught by fishermen near South Africa in 1938. Like the biblical character Lazarus, the species seemed to miraculously come back to life after everyone thought it was dead. It’s a mystery why scientists can’t fill in that missing fossil information. Of course, species do not just appear out of thin air, so all living lazarus species are nonetheless considered living fossils. They’re merely in a special category. Should a more recent example of a coelacanth fossil be found, the missing link would be filled, and coelacanths would cease to be a lazarus taxon. They would be reclassified as just a regular living fossil. OK, it’s time to wrap this up, I’m afraid...in summary, a living fossil is a species that appeared long ago in the fossil record, and it is still around in the same form. It has survived against the odds, whereas most of its relatives have died out. Lazarus taxons share these characteristics, but they form a special class of living fossils because there is a gap in their fossil history. Because of this gap, scientists formerly thought these species had become extinct. Their sudden discovery on Earth today places them in the lazarus category. Until that fossil record gap is filled, they remain in that special category. I see we’re almost out of time. Do any of you have questions?