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Geography of SE Asia

A deck of flashcards for Undergraduate Study of Biology.

The most significant changes that led to the formation of South-east Asia Collision with India, collision with Australia, the formation of the Eastern Indonesian islands, the significant change in climate, sea level fluctuations, development of modern flora and fauna.
What are the most abundant plant classes modern plants originated from? Gymnosperms, Angiosperms and Monocots.
What fauna dominated the earth 200 million years ago? The dinosaurs, until the mass extinction 65 million years ago.
What was Alfred Wegener's 1912 theory on plate tectonics? He proposed that the continents were once compressed into a single super-continent he called Pangaea (meaning "all lands") about 300 million y.a. before continents drifted apart.
What was Harry Hammond Hess's theory on seafloor spreading in the 1960s? He proposed the idea that the seafloor itself moves (and carries the continents with it) as it expands from the central axis.
Seafloor spreading It is the process that occurs at mid-ocean ridges, where new oceanic crust is formed through volcanic activity and then gradually moves away from the ridge.
Palaeomagnetism It is the study of the record of the Earth's magnetic field in rocks, sediment, or archaeological materials.
Radiometric age dating A method used to date rocks and other objects based on the known decay rate of radioactive isotopes, such as Uranium.
Decay rate of Uranium Each ~700 million years, about 50% of Uranium is decayed to lead.
How do we know rotational patterns of plates? Volcanic rocks preserve the direction of the magnetic field at time of formation. The earth magnetic field can switch directions, but the direction of the magnetic field in a rock layer indicates the rotation with respect to N-S axis of the earth.
How do we measure the direction and speed of plates? The direction and speed of the plates can be measured accurately using the GPS-positioning system.
What was the climate and vegetation 55-45 m.y.a? The climate was mostly warm and moist (tropical). Vegetation were mostly montane (mountainous).
Which continents showed more diversity in vegetation? India, with many modern Asian plant lineages.
What were the climate and vegetation 45-35 m.y.a? The climate was mostly warm and moist (tropical). Vegetation changes slightly as many modern flora elements enter Asia via India. Most of the old Asian flora goes extinct as the diversity increases.
What were the climate and vegetation 35-25 m.y.a? The climate started cooling and drying and becoming more seasonal. Vegetation continues to diversify in the Asian flora as Asia continues to subsides and reduce its montane area. Shallow seas and freshwater lakes form.
What were the climate and vegetation 25-15 m.y.a? The climate warm and moist again, expansion of everwet climates. Vegetation starts increasingly largely in tropical forest cover. Extensive peat-swamps starts to develop and Dipterocarps become more dominant.
Dipterocarp A tall forest tree from which are obtained resins and timber for the export trade, occurring mainly in SE Asia.
What were the climate and vegetation 15 m.y.a to present? The climate alternates between cool/dry and hot/wet, but generally getting more seasonal, cooler and dryer (from the ice ages and sea level fluctuations). Savanna vegetation expands, peaks in kerangas/heath forest expansion.
Kerangas forest Kerangas/Sundaland heath forest is a type of tropical moist forest found on the island of Borneo, which is divided between Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Climate The average atmospheric conditions and their variability and trends over an extended period of time at a particular place.
What is the first general rule in Biogeography? Large areas generally contain more species than small areas.
Why would large areas support more species? Large areas have more space, therefore more individuals equals more species and lower extinction risks. Large areas also have more environmental variability. More niches would mean more species.
What is the second general rule in Biogeography? Areas that are close together generally share more species than areas that are far apart.
Why do close by sites share more species? Dispersal could be non limiting, therefore communities are dispersal-assembled. Sites close together have similar species because of similar habitat conditions. Communities can be niche-assembled.
MacArthur &Wilson (1967)'s theory of island biogeography They suggest that small islands can have less species than large islands, isolation from the dispersal source limits the number of species arriving per time unit and that extinction rates are higher in small islands rather than big ones.
Important factors of island biogeography The arrival and survival on islands are both governed by chance (dispersal and extinction) and niche processes (adaptation and competition).
What was Dan Simberloff's results in testing the theory of island biogeography? There exists an equilibrium species diversity on islands based on island area and distance from mainland, reduction in island size caused permanent reduction in species diversity and there is a continuous turnover of species on each island.
Weather The present atmospheric conditions at a particular place.
What are the most influential climate variables? Temperature, rainfall and their variability.
Equatorial climate Where both temperature and rainfall optimal for year round plant growth.
Monsoonal climate Where both temperature adequate, but low rainfall limiting plant growth part of the year.
Subtropical climate Where both temperature and rainfall are limiting plant growth part of the year.
Temperature extremes -40C on Mt Khangchendzonga and +40C in some parts of Burma.
Lowland climate Where it is warm year round, absent of low temperatures, of extremely hot weather and diurnal temperature range larger than annual range.
Solar Radiation It is incoming energy and temperature that depends on the slope, aspect, latitude, season and cloudiness.
Rainfall variation There are two types of rainfall variation which are Monsoon (yearly pattern) and ENSO (irregular multi-year pattern).
Wet forests Has less than 1 dry month with an annual rainfall of >3500 mm.
Moist forests Has 1-5 dry months with an annual rainfall of 1500-3500 mm.
Dry forests Has >5 months with an annual rainfall of <1500 mm.
Asian monsoon winds Winds driven by yearly shifting high and low air pressure systems.
Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) The shifting of rainfall zones due to tilted position of the Earth.
What causes inter-annual droughts in SE Asia? El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD).
What are fogs' water contribution in forests? Fogs can contribute to 0.2-5.5 mm of water per day, and up to 60% of available water during the dry season.
What are the two major types of fogs? Elevation fog (clouds) and Radiation fog (cooling).
The 4 mega droughts that lasted for decades Ming Dynasty Drought, Strange Parallels Drought, East India Drought and The Great Drought.
Important soil properties influencing the vegetation Texture (for water storage), nutrients, acidity and toxicity (usually heavy metals). However, soils tend to co-vary with topography, climate and vegetation.
What are the most fertile soils? Fluvents/fluvisols, Andisols/andosols and Inceptisols/Cambisols.
Fluvents/fluvisols Soils deposited by rivers, often used for rice cultivation.
Andisols/andosols Soils deposited by volcanoes.
Inceptisols/cambisols Soils exposed on or below steep slopes.
Histosols Extreme soils that are organic or peats, they are young soils (<7000 years), commonly found in coastal/flat areas and are extremely acidic and nutrient poor.
Spodosols/podzols Extreme soils on sand usually with kerangas/heath forest, often old and water logged. Found to be nutrient poor and acidic.
Limestone soils Extreme soils that are nutrient rich and not acidic, usually shallow soils and quick to dry out (prone to fire). These soils usually forming habitat islands with many endemics and are steep.
Ultramafic soils Extreme soils that are usually poisonous and poor soils with shrubby vegetation. These poor soils derive from metal rich rocks, making them poisonous because of the high concentrations. Soils are often of strange colours.
Factors that may trigger/enhance lands slides/soil erosion High rainfall, steep slopes, deforestation & roads and earthquakes.
Factors that may reduce land slides/soil erosion Enhanced water infiltration, reduced rain drop impact on soil, stabilizing role of tree roots and removal of soil water through evaporation.
Created by: theecloud