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NATS 1940 York University Animal Clock Gene & Climate Change Integrative Questions

NATS 1940 York University Animal Clock Gene & Climate Change Integrative Questions

Question Description

FINAL INTEGRATIVE QUESTIONS – DUE Thursday, Dec. 17, 8pm (Toronto Time: EST)



The final integrative questions are a take-home final exam so please treat them as such:

  • your submission has to be on time (make sure you leave yourself plenty of time for the upload and a buffer in case you loose your internet connection etc.).
  • This is an individual assessment that you need to complete on your own, in your own words. You are permitted to consult your notes from this course and the course materials but no internet resources (other than those specifically linked to as part of the course).
  • You are not permitted to share electronic files/answers – you have been an great class to teach, please stay honest! You have done a great job so far, I know you can do this!
  • This is the final assessment in this course where you have to show that you have mastered the concepts learned in this course and our equivalent of a final exam, so to keep it fair for everyone I really cannot give you hints about the answer etc. (I can help clarify if you are having trouble understanding the question for grammatical or vocabulary reasons, but I cannot point you in the right direction in terms of the expected answer).

There are five questions in total: four assessment questions (note that two of these have multiple parts) and one Academic Honesty statement question (your submission will not be marked if you do not respond to the Academic Honesty statement). You are expected to answer all questions (i.e. none of these are optional). Please remember that these are short-answer questions so make sure to include the information that is needed to answer the question, but keep it concise and stay focused on addressing the question at hand.

This is an open-book assessment, which can be completed on your own time at any point before the due date. Ensure you leave plenty of time for the submission process. You CANNOT use grace days for the final integrative questions.

Crowdmark accepts only JPEG, PNG, and PDF files.

The easiest way to do your work is to answer one question per page in a Word (or similar) file. Then make this file into a pdf (“print to” or similar function). You can then drag this whole file to Q1. From here, you can then drag and drop page 2 (with the answer to Q2) to Q2, and so on.

However, you can also take a screenshot, or a photo of handwritten work (do NOT take photos of your computer screen). If you are taking a screenshot of your work, ensure that you have left enough “white space” on the borders above, below, and at the side of your answer for grading. If you are handwriting your answers, you should ensure that: a) your handwriting is clear and legible (we can’t mark what we can’t read), and b) there are little to no shadows. For both photos & screenshots, ensure that your words are IN FOCUS.

Answers to most of the assessment questions will be graded out of a total of 4 points (unless indicated otherwise) based on the attached rubric. CHECK OUT THE RUBRIC BEFORE YOU START WRITING YOUR ANSWER(click below on ‘marking scheme for most short-answer questions’ to access the pdf with the rubric).


Q2 (4 points)

In class we learned about the clock gene, its function and what kind of regulatory pathway the protein this gene produces is involved in.

IN YOUR OWN WORDS, explain how the existence of genes like the clock gene help us better understand why some species may not be able to shift their migratory behaviour fast enough to keep up with changes caused by climate change (such as the timing of food availability etc.).

For full points you have to clearly explain WHAT the clock gene (and other genes like it) have to do with migratory behaviour and what controls this behaviour, as well as address exactly WHY that means this behaviour can not change fast enough (aim for 1-2 paragraphs).

Q3a (4 points)

Question 3:

Throughout the course we discussed different technologies and techniques that scientists use to study migration and migratory species. Choose ONE of these technologies or techniques to address the following questions in 3a and 3b (it has to be one that we discussed in the course, but it can be either a traditional low-tech technique or a more recent high-tech technology, that is up to you).


IN YOUR OWN WORDS, briefly and clearly describe how the technique or technology works (make sure you address the general principle behind it).

Q3b (4 points)


IN YOUR OWN WORDS, clearly identify one type of research question about migration that this technology or technique helped answer. Then explain how the researchers used this technique or technology to answer this question.

Keep your answer concise – aim for approx. one paragraph: as in your podcasts and news articles focus on the main message and make sure you get the important parts across so that somebody who is not familiar with the study understands the broad principles of why and how it was conducted, but don’t get lost in the details (i.e. exact sample sizes etc.)

Q4a (4 points)

Question 4

We are in the middle of a biodiversity crisis that is caused by humans, with huge numbers of species declining and threatened with extinction, including many migratory species. In fact, there is evidence that suggests, that in many cases migratory species might be especially affected, with faster declines and facing even greater risks of extinction than resident species.


A scientific study published in 2019 found a concerning decline in birds across the continental United States and Canada, with 3 billion birds lost since 1970. When they took a closer look at which species were affected, they found that it was primarily migratory species that experienced drastic population declines, while the populations of most resident species tended to stay stable or even increased slightly since 1970.

Given what you have learned in this course, why might migratory birds be more vulnerable and decline faster compared to resident species? You should list at least two different reasons and for each reason explain why this factor would affect migrants more than residents.

Q4b (4 points)


Why are scientific studies crucially important if we want to conserve migrants?

Aim for approx. one short paragraph


Many migratory species have declined substantially in recent decades. Given what you know about human threats to migratory animals, suggest two concrete and realistic ways in which each of us could make a difference and contribute towards conserving migratory species (very briefly explain why this action would make a difference). That is, what are two things you could do, that if many people did this, would have a substantial, positive impact on migratory species and why?

Aim for 1-2 short paragraphs.

Q5 (2 points)

Migrants are capable of some astonishing feats and we continue to discover new and fascinating things about them. Describe one migratory feat or scientific discovery related to migration that you learned about in the course that stood out for you (e.g. because it really interested or astonished you) and explain why it stood out for you (must be more than a word or short phrase).

This could be something we discussed in lecture, or something you learned about through one of the course assignments.

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