UNIVERSITY OF MALTA ISLANDS AND SMALL STATES INSTITUTE MA –ISSS: SEMESTER EXAMINATION MAY-JUNE 2010 SESSION ISS5012: PRINCIPLES OF ECOLOGY AND BIOGEOGRAPHY OF ISLANDS Time: 16.45 – 18:45 Answer any THREE questions. Your answers should take the form of essays. All questions carry equal marks. Use a separate booklet for each question. 1. Geographers and ecologists have different definitions of ‘islands’ while in ecology, what is an ‘island’ for one species, may not be for another. Discuss. 2. In his book ‘Systematics and the Origin of Species’, Ernst Mayr wrote “The most significant way to cut off a population is by geographical isolation.” Illustrate this statement with reference to real islands. 3. In general, speciation on islands takes place at a faster rate than on mainlands. Discuss. 4. Extinction is common on islands. Discuss why. 5. Insularity (= isolation) is the key property of islands that determines all aspects of island ecology and the evolutionary history of island biota. Discuss. 6. One of the greatest threats facing island biotas is the introduction of alien species. Explain why.