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Environmental Controls on Biotic Distribution

1.1 On a map of the world show the major climatic zones (Tropical, Subtropical,

Temperate, and Polar Zones). Briefly explain the origin of this zonation pattern.

What does bipolar, antitropical, tropical and cosmopolitan distribution mean

(use words and figure(s) to explain)? Search for an example of a modern species

or genus with bipolar or antitropical distribution. Plot its distribution on the

climate map.

1.2 On a map of the world, use different colours, to show, label and categorise

(warm and cool water) the following major surface and bottom currents of the

world oceans.

 The Gulf Stream

 The Pacific Equatorial Currents

 The Pacific Equatorial Counter Currents

 The Kurishio Current (= North Pacific Drift) The Oyashio Current

 The East Australian Current

 The Leeuwin Current

 The Capes Current (WA)

 The Antarctic Circumpolar Current

 The California Current

 The Humboldt Current

 The Global Ocean Conveyor Belt

1.3 Often we hear in the news of rubber ducks (Clerkin, 2007), Lego (Petit, 1998), Nike shoes

(McKie, 1992), or oil spills washing up on distant shores. Many species can also use the

ocean currents as a mechanism for migration/dispersal.

 Conduct a digital literature search to try and find a species that has

colonised/invaded an area by ‘floating’ in on the ocean currents.

 Briefly describe the species and provide its scientific name.

 Construct a map to show the migration pattern of the species

 Discuss its dispersal mechanism and distribution pattern.

1.4 Discuss why the world’s major coastal upwelling systems tend to occur on the western

sides of major continents. How does this influence the distribution pattern of Spheniscus

humboldti Meyen, 1834 (Humboldt Penguin)?

1.5 On a map of the world mark on the major mountain belts and where ‘rain shadows’

occur (orographic effect). Describe how major mountain ranges affect climate systems

and biotic distribution.

5. References

Clerkin, B. 2007. Thousands of rubber ducks to land on British shores after 15 year journey. Mail

Online. Retrieved 31/10/13, .

Petit, C. 1998. Lots of Lost Legos May Turn Up on Your Beach. US News and World Report. Retrieved

31/10/13, .

McKie, R. 1992. Oceanographers Find Lessons In The Great Nike Shoe Spill. The Seattle Times.

Retrieved 31/10/13,


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