School Improvement in Maryland

Public Release Item: Public Release items have appeared on HSA forms and then are released for public viewing and use. Releasing items is one step to ensuring that schools, districts, and other stakeholders understand how the core learning goals are assessed on the HSA.

Goal 3 Concepts Of Biology

Expectation 3.5 The student will investigate the interdependence of diverse living organisms and their interactions with the components of the biosphere.

Indicator 3.5.1 The student will analyze the relationships between biotic diversity and abiotic factors in environments and the resulting influence on ecosystems.

Assessment Limits:

  • Abiotic/Biotic factors
    • space
    • soil
    • water
    • air
    • temperature
    • food
    • light
    • organisms
       
  • Relationships
    • predator — prey
    • parasite — host
    • mutualism
    • commensalism
    • competition
       

Selected Response Item - Released in 2003

The diagram below shows the relationships among organisms living in an Atlantic coast estuary. Use the diagram to answer the following.

Which of these is an abiotic factor that affects the organisms in the estuary ecosystem?

  1. the amount of bacteria in the water
  2. the number of copepods
  3. the amount of salt in the water
  4. the number of scavengers
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2003_351_bio49.xml

Correct Answer:
C

Brief Constructed Response (BCR) Item - Released in 2003

A lichen is comprised of a fungus and an alga growing together. The fungus provides a protective structure for the alga, and the alga provides food and other nutrients for the fungus. As part of the lichen, the alga is able to live in dry environments that it would not normally be able to inhabit. Their relationship allows them to live in some of the harshest environments in the world.

When environmental conditions are mild, the alga does not need the protective structure of the fungus to survive. The alga grows slower with the fungus than it would alone. This relationship between the alga and fungus can be described as either mutualism or parasitism.

Describe the similarities and differences between mutualism and parasitism. In your response, be sure to include

  • why lichens can be examples of both types of relationships
  • other examples of mutualism or parasitism

Write your answer in your Answer Book.

/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2003_351_bio50.xml

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Selected Response Item - Released in 2004

Use the information below to answer the following.

Aphids are insects that feed on fluids from the stems of plants. After the aphids ingest the plant fluids, they excrete a liquid called honeydew.

Ladybugs eat aphids, which are a source of protein for the ladybugs. Which of these terms best describes the relationship between the ladybugs and the aphids?

  1. mutualism
  2. parasite–host
  3. predator–prey
  4. commensalism
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2004_351_bio01.xml

Correct Answer:
C

Selected Response Item - Released in 2004

Use the information below to answer the following.

Aphids are insects that feed on fluids from the stems of plants. After the aphids ingest the plant fluids, they excrete a liquid called honeydew.

Some species of ants protect aphids from predators. The ants benefit by feeding on the honeydew produced by the aphids. Which of these terms best describes the relationship between the aphids and the ants?

  1. mutualism
  2. parasite–host
  3. predator–prey
  4. commensalism
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2004_351_bio02.xml

Correct Answer:
A

Brief Constructed Response (BCR) Item - Released in 2005

A population of sea urchins in a kelp forest ecosystem is being overfished. A team of students believe that a decline in the number of sea urchins will affect the organisms in the kelp forest ecosystem. The kelp forest food web below shows the relationships among the organisms in the kelp forest ecosystem.

The students believe that the kelp crab population will decrease if the sea urchin population decreases. Use the kelp forest food web to support or refute the students' conclusion. In your response, be sure to

  • describe the roles of the kelp crab, sea otter, and sea urchin in the food web
  • describe the relationships between the kelp crab, sea otter, and sea urchin
  • explain how each organism in the food web would be affected by a change in the sea urchin population

Write your answer in your Answer Book.

/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2005_351_bio22.xml

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Selected Response Item - Released in 2005

Cholera bacteria live inside copepods, tiny marine organisms. This type of microscopic bacteria harms the copepods by feeding off their internal tissues.

Both of these organisms are found in oceans throughout the world. Unfavorable temperatures or salt levels may cause cholera bacteria to become inactive. When inactive, they do not feed or reproduce. When conditions become favorable, they become active once again.

A cholera population may depend on the population of copepods in the surrounding water. A simple food chain showing this relationship is shown below.

Which of these describes the relationship between cholera bacteria and copepods?

  1. mutualism
  2. parasite–host
  3. commensalism
  4. producer–consumer
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2005_351_bio24.xml

Correct Answer:
B

Selected Response Item - Released in 2005

Scientists have recently discovered hydrothermal vent communities on the ocean floor. A diagram of a hydrothermal vent community is shown in the figure below.

The organisms in this community live near heated vents. Inorganic compounds such as sulfides mix with extremely hot water when they are released from the vents. Bacteria use the sulfides to make food for themselves and other animals. Many of these bacteria live in the bodies of the giant tubeworms and the giant white clams that live in this community.

Which of these is an abiotic factor that influences this ecosystem?

  1. food
  2. bacteria
  3. water temperature
  4. giant tubeworms
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2005_351_bio36.xml

Correct Answer:
C

Selected Response Item - Released in 2005

Reef-building coral are marine animals with single-celled algae living in their tissues. The coral provide protection for the algae and the algae provides food for the coral. Which of these statements best explains what would happen to the coral if the algae die?

  1. The coral would grow well because it does not have a competitor.
  2. The coral would die because it needs the food produced by the algae.
  3. The coral would grow well because it does not have a parasite.
  4. The coral would die because it cannot produce food for the algae.
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2005_351_bio50.xml

Correct Answer:
B

Selected Response Item - Released in 2005

A summer camp was built near a lake in the mountains. The campers used the lake for swimming, fishing, and boating. The relationships between three organisms found in the lake are shown below.

Striped fish are affected by biotic and abiotic factors in their environment. Which of these factors is biotic?

  1. water temperature
  2. mineral nutrients
  3. freshwater algae
  4. inorganic sediments
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2005_351_bio52.xml

Correct Answer:
C

Selected Response Item - Released in 2009

Use the information below to answer the following item.

The water quality of the Chesapeake Bay is measured by the Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Monitoring Program. Scientists measure the salinity, temperature, pH, and oxygen levels to help determine the health of the Bay. Healthy water also contains appropriate amounts of nutrients. Monitoring water quality helps communities make decisions about the Bay.

Which of these would likely be the most immediate result if oxygen levels in the Bay decreased by 90%?

  1. decrease in fish populations
  2. decrease in salinity levels
  3. increase in producer populations
  4. increase in water temperature
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2009_351_bio16.xml

Correct Answer:
A

Selected Response Item - Released in 2009

Use the information and the drawing below to answer the following item.

The desert climate is caused by geographic conditions such as location, high atmospheric pressure, and proximity of mountain ranges. Average desert rainfall amounts are usually less than 50 cm per year. Soil in deserts is coarse, sandy, and rocky. Desert plants and animals have specialized characteristics that help them survive in the harsh environment. An example is the Saguaro cactus. The Saguaro has a shallow root system with a main taproot and other roots that radiate out and collect surface water. The trunk of the Saguaro has the ability to expand while storing water. The sweet-nectar flowers of the Saguaro attract white-winged doves, bats, and other animals. These animals feed on the nectar. They are necessary for cross-pollination. Cross-pollination occurs when the pollen of a flower is carried to a flower on another plant. The illustration below shows the Saguaro cactus.

Which of these best describes the ecological relationship between white-winged doves and the Saguaro cactus?

  1. mutualism
  2. competition
  3. parasite–host
  4. predator–prey
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2009_351_bio21.xml

Correct Answer:
A

Selected Response Item - Released in 2009

Use the information below to answer the following item.

Many bird species in the forests of eastern North America have very large geographic ranges. Bird species in tropical forests have very small geographic ranges. Many forest areas within the ranges of these birds are being destroyed. Scientists believe that the destruction of forests affects birds with small ranges more than birds with large ranges.

Which of these is an abiotic factor in both North American and tropical forest ecosystems?

  1. age of trees
  2. intensity of light
  3. number of consumers
  4. number of producers
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2009_351_bio40.xml

Correct Answer:
B

Selected Response Item - Released in 2009

A new species is introduced into an area. This can have harmful effects on species already inhabiting the area. The harmful effects are most likely a result of

  1. succession
  2. mutualism
  3. competition
  4. commensalism
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2009_351_bio53.xml

Correct Answer:
C

Selected Response Item - Released in 2009

Use the information below to answer Numbers 64 through 66.

Use the information below to answer the following item.

Scientists have observed that when a largemouth bass tries to eat a whirligig beetle, the fish is likely to get more than just a meal. Once inside the mouth of a bass, the beetle releases a foul-tasting substance into the fish’s mouth. The fish responds to this by swishing the beetle around in its mouth, spitting the beetle out into the water, and scooping the beetle back into its mouth. The bass is exhibiting a “flushing” behavior. Unlike other insects, whirligig beetles do not release all of their foul-tasting substance the first time they are pulled into a predator’s mouth. Each time the bass scoops the beetle back into its mouth, more of the substance is released. The bass must exhibit “flushing” again and again. If the bass tires of “flushing” before the beetle runs out of its foul-tasting substance, the beetle can avoid becoming the bass’s next meal.

The ecological relationship between largemouth bass and whirligig beetles is best described as

  1. predator–prey
  2. parasite–host
  3. mutualism
  4. commensalism
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2009_351_bio64.xml

Correct Answer:
A

Selected Response Item - Released in 2009

Use the information below to answer the following item.

Scientists determined that excess fertilizer from farms entered a shallow lake. The fertilizer caused an increase in aquatic plants in the lake and then a decrease in oxygen in the water. Next, organic debris collected on the bottom of the lake. Over several years, the lake gradually filled in with organic sediment.

As the fertilizer levels increased, the population of consumers in the lake declined. Which change most likely caused this decline?

  1. increase in light intensity
  2. decrease in available oxygen
  3. increase in temperature
  4. decrease in carbon dioxide
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2009_351_bio69.xml

Correct Answer:
B

Selected Response Item - Released in 2009

Use the information and the drawing below to answer the following item.

The pitcher plant is a carnivorous plant that consumes various small organisms such as spiders and frogs. The pitcher plant is often found in areas with soil that is very acidic and contains few nutrients. The pitcher plant consumes organisms that help supply the plant with nutrients that are not in the soil. A diagram of the pitcher plant is shown below.

Which of these best describes the relationship between the pitcher plant and the insects?

  1. symbiotic
  2. competitive
  3. parasite–host
  4. predator–prey
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2009_351_bio73.xml

Correct Answer:
D

Selected Response Item - Released in 2006

Corals are marine animals that often live in tropical seas. Many types of corals have unicellular algae living in their tissues. The algae provide up to 98 percent of the corals' food. The corals provide protection and inorganic nutrients for the algae.

Algae leave the coral when the water is too warm. What kind of factor is temperature on this relationship?

  1. biotic
  2. abiotic
  3. parasitic
  4. commensalistic
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2006_351_bio28.xml

Correct Answer:
B

Selected Response Item - Released in 2006

The deer tick feeds on the blood of the red squirrel, deer, and deer mouse. Which of these best describes the role of the deer tick in the forest food web?

  1. parasite
  2. producer
  3. carnivore
  4. omnivore
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2006_351_bio35.xml

Correct Answer:
A

Selected Response Item - Released in 2006

When gypsy moth caterpillars hatch, which of these populations benefits first?

  1. red oak
  2. deer tick
  3. blue jay
  4. carpenter ant
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2006_351_bio36.xml

Correct Answer:
D

Selected Response Item - Released in 2006

Black skimmers are water birds that live along coastal beaches, bays, estuaries, and marshes. They fly just above the surface of the water using their lower jaw to catch small fish, shrimp, and other small crustaceans.

These birds nest in simple, unlined depressions in the sand. Scientists have observed a decline in the number of nests. Some causes of this decline include a lack of suitable nesting sites, beach erosion, and human disturbances.

When people approach their nests, the birds become aggressive and chase away intruders. Other animals, like crows, will take advantage of the unprotected nests and feed on the eggs.

Which of these best describes the effects of human disturbance on the black skimmer's eggs?

  1. a biotic factor
  2. an allele
  3. a niche
  4. an abiotic factor
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2006_351_bio44.xml

Correct Answer:
A

Selected Response Item - Released in 2006

Black skimmers are water birds that live along coastal beaches, bays, estuaries, and marshes. They fly just above the surface of the water using their lower jaw to catch small fish, shrimp, and other small crustaceans.

These birds nest in simple, unlined depressions in the sand. Scientists have observed a decline in the number of nests. Some causes of this decline include a lack of suitable nesting sites, beach erosion, and human disturbances.

When people approach their nests, the birds become aggressive and chase away intruders. Other animals, like crows, will take advantage of the unprotected nests and feed on the eggs.

Which of these terms best describes the relationship between the crows and the black skimmers?

  1. mutualism
  2. commensalism
  3. parasite–host
  4. predator–prey
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2006_351_bio45.xml

Correct Answer:
D

Selected Response Item - Released in 2007

Use the relationships in the food web below to answer the following question.

Which of these lists all of the predators shown in the food web?

  1. cougars only
  2. cougars and snakes
  3. cougars, snakes, and shrews
  4. cougars, snakes, shrews, and mice
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2007_351_bio19.xml

Correct Answer:
D

Selected Response Item - Released in 2007

Use the relationships in the food web below to answer the following question.

The relationship between the mice and the insects is an example of

  1. commensalism
  2. mutualism
  3. parasite–host
  4. predator–prey
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2007_351_bio20.xml

Correct Answer:
D

Selected Response Item - Released in 2007

Use the information below to answer the following question.

A scientist wanted to find out if low numbers of fish found in a nearby lake were related to acid rain. During his three-year study, he analyzed rainwater and lake water samples. By gathering samples of fish, he estimated the number of fish in the lake.

Each year he found that both the rainwater and lake water became more acidic, and the number of fish decreased.

His data suggested that acid rain may be responsible for the decrease in the number of fish found in the lake.

The lake ecosystem includes frogs, freshwater algae, and inorganic sediment. Which of these is an abiotic factor contained within the lake ecosystem?

  1. frogs
  2. algae
  3. fish
  4. sediment
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2007_351_bio49.xml

Correct Answer:
D

Selected Response Item - Released in 2008

Use the information below to answer the following item.

An insecticide is a chemical that kills insects. Most insects are killed the first time they are exposed to an insecticide. However, some insects carry a gene that enables them to survive their first exposure to an insecticide. When these surviving insects reproduce, this gene may be inherited by their offspring. The number of insecticide-resistant insects usually increases over time because increasing numbers of offspring with this gene are able to survive and reproduce.

What is the ecological relationship between insects and crops?

  1. mutualism
  2. competition
  3. predation
  4. commensalism
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2008_351_bio12.xml

Correct Answer:
C

Selected Response Item - Released in 2008

Use the information below to answer the following item.

Hummingbirds need large amounts of energy to flap their wings between 60 and 200 times per second. Their wings beat so rapidly that it is difficult to see them move. They often appear suspended in air for extended periods of time without changing their location. Hummingbirds have long bills and grooved tongues to reach into flowers to feed on flower nectar. They also feed on insects.

Which term best describes the ecological relationship between hummingbirds and insects?

  1. mutualism
  2. parasite–host
  3. predator–prey
  4. commensalism
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2008_351_bio36.xml

Correct Answer:
C

Selected Response Item - Released in 2008

Use the information and the figure below to answer Numbers 43 through 45.

Use the information and the figure below to answer the following item.

Many plants that grow in tropical rain forests have specialized roots that anchor them to the branches and trunks of trees. They do not harm the trees. These plants get food and water from various sources, including the air and dead organic matter found on the trees.

One example of these plants found in tropical rain forests is the bromeliad. Its leaves form a cup-like structure that is able to hold water. This water provides a feeding and breeding area for many insects and frogs. Snakes and lizards also come to these plants in search of food and water. A cross-section showing the inside of a bromeliad is shown below.

Snakes and lizards come to the bromeliads to feed on frogs and their eggs. The relationship between the snakes, lizards, and frogs can best be described as

  1. mutualism
  2. parasite–host
  3. predator–prey
  4. commensalism
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2008_351_bio43.xml

Correct Answer:
C

Selected Response Item - Released in 2008

A protozoan lives inside a rat and takes its nourishment from the rat’s body. Because the protozoan damages the rat’s brain, the rat loses its fear of cats. A cat attacks an infected rat; the protozoan enters the cat’s body and completes its life cycle.

Which of these describes the relationship between the protozoan and the rat?

  1. commensalism
  2. parasite–host
  3. mutualism
  4. predator–prey
/share/clg/xml/public_release/science/2008_351_bio48.xml

Correct Answer:
B