Use the answers to these questions to assess student understanding of Hopping Ahead of Climate Change in their reading log.
1. Why did biologist Scott Mills originally begin to study the hare population in Montana?
He began the study to understand more about why the lynx population, a predator that depends heavily on hares for food, was dwindling.
2. Why does the book refer to the snowshoe hare as the “cheeseburger of the forest"?
Because they are prey for a wide variety of predators, from foxes to owls and even squirrels. Everyone wants a taste!
3. What happens to the population of lynxes when the population of hares increases?
The population of lynxes increases.
1. What causes climate change?
The burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil trap heat in the atmosphere and cause the temperature of the planet to dramatically increase.
2. Which gas plays the most important role in climate change?
Carbon dioxide, or CO2, plays the most important role.
3. What are some of the effects of the increase in the Earth’s temperature?
Effects include rising sea levels, more extreme weather, increased risk and severity of wildfires, greater spread of invasive species, more human health issues, and increased risk of extinction.
4. What is the most obvious change in winters due to climate change?
The most obvious change would be less snow.
5. What does it mean if a hare is mismatched?
A hare is mismatched if it still has its brown coat when snow has started to fall or it still has its white coat when snow has melted.
6. What is the primary question Scott Mills and his colleagues are exploring?
Could climate change drive snowshoe hares and other molting animals to extinction?
1. What are the two main things that Scott and his team are looking for in each individual hare?
They are looking to see if the hare is mismatched and if the hare is alive.
2. What percent difference between the hare's coat color and its environment is considered a mismatch?
60% difference between the coat color and environment is a mismatch.
1. For how long did the team find hares to be mismatched?
They found that hares are mismatched for an average of one week.
2. Was there a difference in the number of hares that died during the periods they were mismatched? If so, what was the difference?
Yes, more hares died when they were mismatched than when they were matched.
3. What influences when the hares begin to molt?
The length of the day influences when they begin to molt.
1. If climate temperatures continue to increase at their current rate, how many days out of the year will hares be mismatched?
They'll be mismatched for thirty-five days by mid-century and sixty-eight days by late century.
2. How is the snowshoe hare population impacted by an increase in mismatch days?
Snowshoe hares are much more vulnerable to predators during mismatch days.
1. What is natural selection?
It is a concept in evolution that states that individuals better suited to survive in their environment will survive and procreate.
2. How does the concept of natural selection provide hope regarding the mismatch issue with snowshoe hares?
More hares that molt later in the winter and earlier in the spring will survive than those who do not, and gradually hares with a molting schedule more conducive to the warmer climate will become more prevalent.
1. In what other places are scientists beginning to research the effects of climate change and molting time on a species’ survival?
They are condcting research in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Portugal, Ireland, Austria, and Sweden.
2. What is the Bunny Chiller used for?
It is used to conduct a controlled experiment on hare molting and determine if they are aware of if they match their environment and if their molting times can change in response to the environment.
1. What would have the greatest impact on climate change?
Reducing the use of fossil fuels would have the greatest impact.
2. What kinds of energy sources can be used as alternatives to fossil fuels?
Wind and solar power can be used as alternatives.
3. In what ways can we protect the habitats of wild animals?
We could reduce construction and logging.