QUESTION TEXT: Biologists found that off the northeast coast …
QUESTION TYPE: Paradox
PARADOX: Plankton have declined 10%, and three fish species have started dying. Scientists think these two things are connected.
ANALYSIS: The correct answer must explain both situations and show that they are related.
The best explanation would provide a common cause for both phenomena, or provide a cause for one decline and show that it causes the other decline.
The right answer shows that a bacteria is attacking both the plankton and the fish.
- The decline in population is recent. Waste dumping couldn’t explain the deaths if it’s been going on for a while.
- CORRECT. This new bacteria could account for the recent deaths in both plankton and fish, as it attacks both species. This answer shows that the phenomena are related.
- This explains the slight decline in plankton population. It doesn’t explain the massive drop in fish populations.
- This doesn’t explain the massive drop in fish populations, it just shows that plankton are contributing.
- This is very broad. The decline in populations is pretty specific: one type of plankton and three types of fish. The stimulus said other species in the ecosystem are unaffected.
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