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Coral reefs are one of the most fragile

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Coral reefs are one of the most fragile [#permalink] New post 30 Sep 2013, 21:13
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Verbal Review Practice Passage
Passage No.:2
Questions: 7 to 11
Page: 24 & 25
Difficulty:

Coral reefs are one of the most fragile, biologically complex, and diverse marine ecosystems on Earth. This ecosystem is one of the fascinating paradoxes of the biosphere: how do clear, and thus nutrient-poor, waters support such prolific and productive communities? Part of the answer lies within the tissues of the corals themselves. Symbiotic cells of algae known as zooxanthellae carry out photosynthesis using the metabolic wastes of the coral thereby producing food for themselves, for their corals, hosts, and even for other members of the reef community. This symbiotic process allows organisms in the reef community to use sparse nutrient resources efficiently.

Unfortunately for coral reefs, however, a variety of human activities are causing worldwide degradation of shallow marine habitats by adding nutrients to the water. Agriculture, slash-and-burn land clearing, sewage disposal and manufacturing that creates waste by-products all increase nutrient loads in these waters. Typical symptoms of reef decline are destabilized herbivore populations and an increasing abundance of algae and filter-feeding animals. Declines in reef communities are consistent with observations that nutrient input is increasing in direct proportion to growing human populations, thereby threatening reef communities sensitive to subtle changes in nutrient input to their waters.
1. The passage is primarily concerned with:
(A) describing the effects of human activities on algae in coral reefs
(B) explaining how human activities are posing a threat to coral reef communities
(C) discussing the process by which coral reefs deteriorate in nutrient-poor waters
(D) explaining how coral reefs produce food for themselves
(E) describing the abundance of algae and filter feeding animals in coral reef areas
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
B


2. The passage suggests which of the following about coral reef communities?
(A) Coral reef communities may actually be more likely to thrive in waters that are relatively low in nutrients.
(B) The nutrients on which coral reef communities thrive are only found in shallow waters.
(C) Human population growth has led to changing ocean temperatures, which threatens coral reef communities.
(D) The growth of coral reef communities tends to destabilize underwater herbivore populations.
(E) Coral reef communities are more complex and diverse than most ecosystems located on dry land.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
A

3. The author refers to “filter-feeding animals” (lines 23–24) in order to
(A) provide an example of a characteristic sign of reef deterioration
(B) explain how reef communities acquire sustenance for survival
(C) identify a factor that helps herbivore populations thrive
(D) indicate a cause of decreasing nutrient input in waters that reefs inhabit
(E) identify members of coral reef communities that rely on coral reefs for nutrients
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
A

4. According to the passage, which of the following is a factor that is threatening the survival of coral reef communities?
(A) The waters they inhabit contain few nutrient resources.
(B) A decline in nutrient input is disrupting their symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae.
(C) The degraded waters of their marine habitats have reduced their ability to carry out photosynthesis.
(D) They are too biologically complex to survive in habitats with minimal nutrient input.
(E) Waste by-products result in an increase in nutrient input to reef communities.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
E

5. It can be inferred from the passage that the author describes coral reef communities as paradoxical most likely for which of the following reasons?
(A) They are thriving even though human activities have depleted the nutrients in their environment.
(B) They are able to survive in spite of an overabundance of algae inhabiting their waters.
(C) They are able to survive in an environment with limited food resources.
(D) Their metabolic wastes contribute to the degradation of the waters that they inhabit.
(E) They are declining even when the water surrounding them remains clear.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
C


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Last edited by dentobizz on 21 Oct 2013, 20:43, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Coral reefs are one of the most fragile [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2013, 14:49
OE#1: The author focuses on how harmful these human activities are to coral reefs

OE#2 : The word 'suggests' in the question indicates that the answer will be an inference based. The beginning of the passage states that nutrient poor waters (lines 4–5) sustain the thriving life of a coral reef

OE#3: This 'logical structure' question concerns why the author has included a particular detail. The complete sentence (lines 21–24) shows that a higher population of filter-feeding animals is a symptom of reef decline

OE#4 : Waste by-products increase nutrients in the water, and reefs decline as nutrients grow more plentiful (lines 21–24).

OE#5 : The paradox is that the reefs seem to flourish with little food
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Re: Coral reefs are one of the most fragile [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2014, 04:52
For question 1, OG is B. Why is D not an answer ? Doesnt the first para talk about the way food is prepared ..
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Re: Coral reefs are one of the most fragile [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2014, 09:36
Question 2: why isn't the answer E?

It's stated in the first sentence of the article.... they are " one of the most fragile, biologically complex, and diverse marine ecosystems on Earth."

What's wrong with option E?
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Coral reefs are one of the most fragile [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2014, 10:56
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Dear jabhatta,

You need to be very careful with RC questions that ask about the primary purpose. In such questions, don't look at merely the facts; also look at the context in which those facts are presented and the significance of the facts. Ask why the author has chosen to include those facts. Did the author write the passage only to explain how coral reefs produce food for themselves? If so, the second paragraph should have extended this line of thought.

The first paragraph of this passage talks about how coral reefs communities are diverse and describes how they thrive on nutrient-poor waters. The second paragraph doesn't continue this chain of thought. It suggests that a variety of human activities are threatening reef communities, and goes on to list some of those activities and their effects.

How are the two paragraphs linked? The first says how coral reef communities thrive on nutrient-poor waters, and the second says how human activities are, consciously or unconsciously, introducing nutrients into the waters, thereby threatening the existence of the reef communities.

In "primary purpose" questions, the ending of the passage is particularly important. It often summarises the essence of the author's line of thought.

On what note does the passage end? -- with the concern that humans don't understand that coral reefs require nutrient-poor waters and are harming the reef communities. B says this.


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Last edited by prasi55 on 18 Jun 2014, 18:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Coral reefs are one of the most fragile [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2014, 11:03
Dear ronr34,

E is a distortion. The first sentence says that coral reefs are one of the most fragile, biologically complex, and diverse "marine" ecosystems on Earth. If E had compared the reef communities to the other marine ecosystems, it would probably have been correct.

But E compares reef communities to "most ecosystems on dry land". The passage doesn't provide any information about ecosystems located on dry land. So it needn't be true that reef communities are more complex and diverse than most ecosystems on dry land.


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Coral reefs are one of the most fragile   [#permalink] 18 Jun 2014, 11:03
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