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TALE OF TWO ORCAS Orcinus orca Speciation worksheet



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Name:_______________________________ Student #:__________________________
Name:_______________________________ Student #:__________________________
Name:_______________________________ Student #:__________________________

Similarities between the two populations:
Matriarchal
Genetically VERY similar - (as similar as two isolated human populations)
Xenophobic (literally fear of others) - they have very different cultures and avoid interactions with
each other in the wild. The interactions that have been documented in the wild involve resident orcas
beating up transients.
Mothers teach their young the pods culture, language, hunting strategies
Transient and resident orcas that have been raised in captivity (away from their pods culture) are able
to reproduce with each other and produce viable and fertile offspring.
Have the same evolutionary history:
A proposed phylogeny of Cetacea, which includes orcas:

Dr. Maryam Moussavi (UBC) , Biology 121-225 -NOT FOR RESALE 1


A TALE OF TWO ORCAS Orcinus orca Speciation worksheet

Differences between the two populations

TRAIT TRANSIENT POPULATION RESIDENT POPULATION
Range Somewhat nomadic lifestyle; Northern community and Southern
range from Alaska to Southern community; each community
California remains in the same general area.
Pod structure Smaller pods, loose-knit Large pods, everyone knows
everyone else, tight-knit community
No alliances Pod members form alliances
Members join and leave, group
splits up
Feeding Hunt, kill and consume seals and Feed on fish (lots of salmon)
other marine mammals

Morphology Very robust (thick) jaws (genetically Gracile (fine) jaws (genetically
determined) determined)
The light patches on their dorsal fins The light patches on their dorsal fins
differ. differ.
Behaviour Transient orca dialect Resident orca dialect
Hunt, kill, call other pod members, In some pods it is common to eat fish
eat, then celebrate and play caught on long-lines by fishermen!
Boat-friendly

ECOLOGICAL SPECIES CONCEPT:

1. Do the two orcas have separate ecological ranges or do they have niches that they share? Provide
support/evidence for your answer.






2. Can the ecological species concept be applied to transient and resident orcas? If so, are there advantages
in using this concept? Disadvantages?









3. Based on the ecological species concept are the two orca populations one single species or two distinct
species?


Dr. Maryam Moussavi (UBC) , Biology 121-225 -NOT FOR RESALE 2


A TALE OF TWO ORCAS Orcinus orca Speciation worksheet

MORPHOLOGICAL SPECIES CONCEPT:

4. Are there physical characteristics that are consistently present in all members of one population but are
not present in members of the other population? If so, what are they?





5. Can the morphospecies concept be applied to transient and resident orcas? If so, are there advantages in
using this concept? Disadvantages?






6. Based on the morphospecies species concept are the two orca populations one single species or two
distinct species?


PHYLOGENETIC (GENETIC) SPECIES CONCEPT
7. Are there genetic characteristics that are consistently present in all members of one population but are
not present in members of the other population? If so, what are they?





8. Can the phylogenetic/genetic species concept be applied to the scenario presented in class? If so, are
there advantages in using this concept? Disadvantages?









9. Based on the phylogenetic/genetic species concept are the two orca populations one single species or two
distinct species?




BIOLOGICAL SPECIES CONCEPT:

Dr. Maryam Moussavi (UBC) , Biology 121-225 -NOT FOR RESALE 3


A TALE OF TWO ORCAS Orcinus orca Speciation worksheet

10. Are the transient and the resident orcas able to mate and produce viable, non-sterile offspring? Do the
transient and the resident orcas mate?


11. Can the biological species concept be applied to transient and resident orcas? If so, are there advantages
in using this concept? Disadvantages?










12. Based on the biological species concept are the two orca populations one single species or two distinct
species?














So are the two orca populations one single species or two distinct species? Be prepared to defend your
answer.

Dr. Maryam Moussavi (UBC) , Biology 121-225 -NOT FOR RESALE 4