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1. Population 3
1990(1)Q9 3
1990(1)Q12 6
1992(1)Q1b 8
1994(1)Q10 9

2. The ecosystem 11
1989(1)Q7 !
1989(2)Q7 !
1991(1)Q11 !
1991(2)Q4 !
1991(2)Q5 !
1992(1)Q8 !
1992(1)Q9 !
1994(1)Q1 !
1994(2)Q1c !
1995(1)Q9 21
1995(2)Q5 23
1996(1)Q11 24
1997(1)Q3 26
1997(2)Q5 27
1998(1)Q8 29
1999(1)Q4 29
1999(1)Q10 30

3. The economic significance of microorganisms 34

1990(1)Q10 !
1990(2)Q13 34
1993(1)Q10 35
1994(1)Q7 38
1995(2)Q7 38
1996(2)Q7 39
1997(2)Q7 !
1997(2)Q9 41
1998(2)Q7 42
1998(2)Q8 43
1999(1)Q11 44

4. Mans impact on the environment 48

1989(2)Q11 !
1990(2)Q9 49
1994(2)Q9 49
1996(2)Q8 51
1999(2)Q8 51
1999(2)Q10 !

5. Mans responsibility for environment protection and conservation 54

1990(2)Q12 !
1994(1)Q6 54
1994(2)Q8 55
1994(2)Q10 !
1995(2)Q10 58
1996(2)Q9 58
1996(2)Q10 59
1997(2)Q8 60
1997(2)Q10 61
1998(2)Q9 62
Please note that the sign, , represents 0.5

1. Population

HKALE 1990 Biology Paper I

9. Adult barnacles are attached to rocks and they have a free-swimming larval stage. In a
study of the factors determining the distribution of two species of barnacles (A and B) on
different parts of a shore, three experiments were conducted on three different rocky
shores in Hong Kong with similar environmental conditions :

On rocky shore I, the population densities of both species in the upper and lower tidal
zones were recorded throughout a year as shown in Graphs 1 and 2 respectively.

On rocky shore II, rocks with similar densities of species B were obtained from the lower
tidal zone in May and transplanted to the upper tidal zone (Graph 3) as well as to a tidal
pool also in the upper tidal zone (Graph 4).

On rocky shore III, all individuals of species B were removed from the lower tidal zone in
January and any newly settled individuals of species B were also removed every month
thereafter (Graph 5).

(a) On rocky shore I, which species dominates the upper shore and which dominates
the lower shore ? (1 mark)

(b) Describe and explain the changes in population density of species A between
February and June in the upper tidal zone of rocky shore I. (4 marks)

(c) With reference to the data given, identify with reasons the factor that may limit the
distribution of species B in the upper tidal zone. (3 marks)

(d) With reference to the data given, identify with reasons the factor that may limit the
abundance of species A in the lower tidal zone. (3 marks)

(e) With reference to the data given, explain what you would expect to happen to
species B if all species A were removed from the upper tidal zone. (4 marks)
(f) Suggest ONE ADDITIONAL factor that is normally important in determining the
distribution and abundance of organisms in the inter-tidal zone, and briefly explain
how this factor may operate.
(2 marks)

(g) Describe ONE method that may be used to determine the distribution and
abundance of animals and plants on a rocky shore. (3 marks)
Suggested Solution
HKALE 1990 Biology Paper I

12. Over a period of two years, the reproductive cycle (figure 1) and the population structure
(figure 2) of a marine invertebrate with a planktonic larval phase were monitored along
the west coast of the New Territories. In addition, various environmental conditions were
recorded. The results of these observations are shown in figures 1 and 2.

(a) With reference to figure 1:

(i) When does this invertebrate breed ?

(Hint: The release of gametes from the gonads leads to a decrease in their
size.) (1 mark)

(ii) Which environmental factors could act to synchronise reproductive activity in

this invertebrate ? (3 marks)

(iii) Give a single reason for choosing all of these factors. (1 mark)

(iv) Suggest how ONE of these factors might operate. (2 marks)

(b) Suggest ONE environmental factor not shown in figure 1 which might also regulate
reproductive activity in this invertebrate. Briefly explain how this factor could affect
reproductive activity.
(2 marks)

(c) Explain the ecological significance of having a planktonic larval stage. Name ONE
animal phylum having a planktonic larval phase. (4 marks)

(d) Explain the annual fluctuation in salinity shown in figure 1. (2 marks)

(e) Figure 2 shows the relative frequency of different sized animals of this species at the
study area. The results are cumulative data collected over the 2-year period.

(i) If the total number of animals measured over the 2-year period was 1798,
how many animals belong to the most common size group ? (1 mark)

(ii) Although there is a regular reproductive cycle, the population has very few
juveniles. Suggest, with explanations, TWO possible reasons for this
phenomenon. (4 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1992 Biology Paper I

1.(b) Discuss how herbivores and carnivores may differ in

(i) their relative population size.

(ii) their behaviour. (6 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1994 Biology Paper I

10. Two protozoan species (A and B) were cultured together in a water-filled vessel with a
supply of food for Species A. The population of each species was estimated at regular
intervals, and the results are recorded in the following table :

Number of individuals
Time / days
Species A Species B
1 50 10
3 160 30
5 550 70
7 100 300
9 30 150
11 100 50
13 300 30
15 20 200
17 20 80

(a) Plot the data for Species A and B on the same graph. (5 marks)

(b) Describe and explain the pattern of interaction between the two species as shown
in your graph.
(6 marks)

(c) If Species B was removed from the vessel on day 13, the population of Species A
would continue to increase but would eventually die out. Explain this phenomenon.
(3 marks)

(d) Explain why the relationship in ((b) is on the whole beneficial to the population of
Species A.
(1 mark)
(Total : 15 marks)

Suggested Solution
2. The ecosystem

HKALE 1989 Biology Paper I

7. It is often found that certain toxic materials accumulate at much higher concentration in
the tissues of the top carnivores than in other consumers in the food chain Explain this
phenomenon with the aid of an example. (4 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1989 Biology Paper II
7. (a) List the similarities and differences between saprophytic and parasitic nutrition. (4

(b) With reference to a named example, show how the structure of a saprophyte is
related to its mode of nutrition. (4 marks)

(c) (i) Draw labelled diagrams to show the life cycles of a named parasitic animal
and a named parasitic fungus.

(ii) Discuss the common adaptive features shown in the life cycles of both
organisms to their parasitic mode of life. (12 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1991 Biology Paper I
11. Replacement series experiments are a way of investigating the interaction between
two species of plants. In a replacement series, the total density of plants is kept constant
while the proportion of each species is varied.

The following three experiments were set up to investigate the interaction between a
species of grass (A) and a species of legume (B). The two species were grown
separately in a replacement series in pots full of soil. The total yield (above ground
biomass) of each species in each experiment was measured by harvesting after a fixed
period of time.

Experiment I
The two species were sown in separate pots at densities of 4, 8, 12 and 16 seeds per
pot. The results of this experiment are shown in graphs Ia and Ib.

Experiment II
The two species were sown in a replacement series in soil lacking Rhizobium bacteria.
The planting schemes are shown in the table below and the results of this experiment
are shown in graph II.

Seeds per pot

pot 1 pot 2 pot 3 pot 4 pot 5
Number of species A 16 12 8 4 0
Number of species B 0 4 8 12 16

Experiment III
Experiment II was repeated but the soil was inoculated with Rhizobium. The results of
this experiment are shown in graph III.

(a) Explain why graphs Ia and Ib are not straight lines. (3 marks)

(b) Explain why the shapes of the yield curves for species B are different in
experiments I and II.
(3 marks)

(c) What do the yield curves of species A and species B in experiment II show about
the relationship between the two species ? (3 marks)
(d) Describe and explain the differences between the results of experiments II and III.
(6 marks)
(e) In order to obtain the maximum total yield of above ground biomass, with what
proportion of each species should a farmer sow his fields ? Assume Rhizobium is
present in the soil. (2 marks)

(f) Suggest ONE reason why the results of experiments in pots may NOT be a reliable
means of predicting the best seed mixture for use in a farmer's fields. (3 marks)
Suggested Solution

HKALE 1991 Biology Paper II

4. With reference to a field study that you have carried out in a named local habitat :
(a) Describe TWO techniques for investigating the distribution of organisms in this
habitat. (6 marks)

(b) Briefly describe the effects of TWO major physical factors on the distribution of
organisms in this habitat. (4 marks)

(c) Name FOUR organisms found in this habitat and outline their adaptations for life
there. (6 marks)

(d) With reference to this habitat, name examples of any TWO of the following
biological inter-relationships and briefly describe the roles of the interacting
organisms :

(i) predation
(ii) mutualism
(iii) competition (4 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1991 Biology Paper II
5. Describe the problems faced by parasites and discuss how these problems may be
overcome. Illustrate your answer with reference to ONE named parasitic fungus and
ONE named parasitic animal.
(20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1992 Biology Paper I
8. Mussels are cultured commercially for human consumption. However, before a mussel
farm is established, it is necessary to conduct growth trials at potential sites to determine
their suitability for cultivating mussels. The data provided are a summary of the results of
investigations carried out at 2 sites over a 24-month period.

Ropes of four-metre length, with juvenile mussels attached, were suspended from
floating rafts in June, 1988. At regular time intervals, mussels were sampled and various
measurements made as shown in Table 1. the mean shell length of mussels grown at
the two sites is also shown in Figure 2.

Table 1
Mean shell length Mean fresh tissue Mean whole body Mean density
Time (mm) weight per mussel weight* per mussel (No. per rope)
(Months) (g) (g)
Site A Site B Site A Site B Site A Site B Site A Site B
0(June, 88) 0.2 0.4 950 950
6 28.0 44.0 0.44 1.73 1.84 4.21 737 612
12 34.0 78 0.94 13.61 4.45 24.75 543 366
18 57.0 100.0 3.48 23.21 14.82 47.36 368 230
24 66.3 108.0 4.64 28.65 20.88 76.10 269 65
* Whole body weight equals the combined weight of fresh tissue and shell.
Figure 2 Site B


Site A




2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
June,8 June,8 June,9
8 9 Time 0
(a) With reference to Figure 2, compare the growth curves obtained for mussels at
these two sites.
(4 marks)
(b) Suggest with reasons one biological factor contributing to the reduced growth in
the period denoted by 'R' in Figure 2.

(c) With reference to Table 1, during which six-month period and at which site, was

(i) growth in shell length the fastest ?

(ii) an increase in fresh tissue weight the highest ? (2 marks)

(d) Using the formula shown below, determine the Condition Index for mussels from
the two sites, for each six-month period of growth shown in Table 1.

fresh tissue weight

Condition Index (2 marks)
whole body wight

(e) If 20 lengths of 4-metre rope were suspended at each site, calculate the total
production (in terms of whole body weight) for each site at the end of the first
twelve months of growth. (2 marks)

(f) Mussels are only marketable after attaining a minimum size of 6 cm and a
Condition Index of 0.4. which site appears to be more suitable for the culture of
mussels ? State the reasons for your answer. (4 marks)

(g) Discuss some biological characteristics of mussels that enable them to be such
suitable organisms for commercial cultivation and hence to be of benefit to man as
a food source. (4 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1992 Biology Paper I
9. The table shows the amounts of the listed mineral elements in 6 plant species A-F, and
in a soil from a habitat in which all of the plants live :

Mineral content
Plant N P K Mg Ca Zn Pb Mn Al
(mg g-1 dry mass) (g g-1 dry mass)
A 18.50 1.13 10.50 5.38 29.10 18 13 118 123
B 27.50 0.91 11.89 2.54 36.05 39 12 124 62
C 20.00 1.01 17.25 2.73 23.85 34 27 95 202
D 17.20 0.95 20.10 1.48 6.25 11 3 135 32
E 16.10 1.08 15.05 1.63 7.10 22 5 153 71
F 11.50 0.81 13.15 0.79 8.20 27 1 56 40
(mg 100g-1 dry mass) (g 100g-1 dry mass)
0.91 0.14 11.00 19.20 870.00 0.5 0.6 1.8

(a) Prepare a bar chart to show the relative abundance of calcium in each of the
plants. (4 marks)

(b) Species A, B and C are herbaceous plants, species D, E and F are woody plants.
Suggest an explanation for the markedly different quantities of calcium found in the
two types of plants in relation to the structure of each type. (4 marks)

(c) One of the species (A to F) has distinct root nodules and is used as a crop in
agricultural crop rotations. Which one is this ? Explain your answer. (3 marks)

(d) One of the plants (A to F) is capable of photosynthesizing at double the rate of the
others. Which one is this ? Explain your answer. (3 marks)

(e) What term is given to elements such as Zn, Pb, Mn and Al found in very small
quantities in plants when compared with the other elements listed ? Suggest a
possible role for these elements in plant metabolism. (2 marks)

(f) Most of the plants show an ability to accumulate elements in the cell sap to a much
higher concentration than that found in soil.

(i) State how plants can transport materials against a concentration gradient and
given an explanation of a possible mechanism for doing this.

(ii) Suggest an experimental procedure which would inhibit the process outlined
in (i). (2 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1994 Biology Paer I
1. Mosses and ferns are often found in different habitats. Describe the respective habitats
of these two types of plants. What features of these plants are associated with their
existence in their habitats ? (5 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1995 Biology Paper I
9. The feeding habits of an organism can be determined from an analysis of its gut
contents. Samples of a common predatory starfish from the Tolo area of Hong Kong
were collected. Their guts were removed by dissection and the contents examined. The
composition of their diet at different stages of their life is shown in the diagram below :

(a) From the diagram, list the relative proportions of the different prey types in the diet
of the predatory starfish

(i) at a size of 40 mm; and

(ii) at a size of 110 mm.

Tabulate your answer. (5 marks)

(b) With reference to the diagram, describe and comment on the changes in the
composition of the diet as the starfish grows from the juvenile stage to the adult
stage. (4 marks)

(c) From the composition of the diet, deduce the habitat of the starfish.
Explain your deduction. (2.5 marks)

(d) Given that the starfish feeds by engulfing its prey as a whole,

(i) suggest why it is easier to identify the bivalves than the annelids in the gut
(2 marks)

(ii) suggest which features can be used to distinguish the gastropods (snails)
from the crustaceans in the gut contents. (1.5 marks)
(Total : 15 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1995 Biology Paper II
5. Describe the ways in which living organisms obtain energy from the environment
through different kinds of nutrition. How do the differences in energy acquisition amongst
living organisms determine their ecological roles ? (20

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1996 Biology Paper I
11. In two coastal areas A and B of Hong Kong Island, the densities of the two main
components of the phytoplankton (free-floating algae) community, diatoms and
dinoflagellates, were monitored over a 12 month period. In addition, the levels of toxin in
the tissue of oysters from these two areas were also measured. The results are shown
below :

(a) Describe the fluctuations in density of diatoms in the waters of area A. (2.5 marks)

(b) How does the curve for dinoflagellates in area B differ from that in area A ? (2.5

(c) (i) When were peak levels of toxin recorded in the tissue of oysters from area
B? (1 mark)
(ii) Suggest which phytoplankton component may be related to the occurrence of
toxin in oysters. What evidence supports your suggestion ? How is such a
relationship possible ?
(2.5 marks)

(d) The following table shows the data of various parameters taken at noon and
midnight on a day in April :

Area A Area B Area A Area B
Diatoms density / cells mL -1
870 800 900 854
Dinoflagellates density / cells mL-1 2 100 41 000 2 300 42 400
Dissolved oxygen / mg L -1
8.2 14.3 8.0 0.4

(i) Which area shows a bigger diurnal change in dissolved oxygen ? Suggest
which phytoplankton component is responsible for this. Explain how this big
diurnal change is brought about. (4.5 marks)

(ii) Given that the normal levels of dissolved oxygen in sea water range from 7.6
to 8.5 mg L-1, what is the effect of the big diurnal change in dissolved oxygen
levels to aquatic organisms in the area you have chosen in d (i) ? ( 1.5 marks)

(e) Both areas A and B have advantages and disadvantages as sites for setting up an
oyster farm. State which area you would choose to set up such a farm. Describe
one advantage and one disadvantage of this area. (2.5 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1997 Biology Paper I
3. Why is the pyramid of energy always upright whereas the pyramid of biomass can
sometimes be inverted ? (4 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1997 Biology Paper II
5. Nitrogen in the air enters and leaves living systems by way of the nitrogen cycle.
Describe the events which take place when atmospheric nitrogen molecules move along
a food chain (involving legumes and herbivorous mammals) and eventually return to the
atmosphere. In your answer describe the uptake. processing and utilization of nitrogen
in the bodies of these organisms. (20

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1998 Biology Paper I
8. The following photograph shows the root morphology of a normal leguminous plant :

(a) Identify structure Y. What causes its formation ? (1.5 marks)

(b) Describe the biological association inside Y and its significance. (4 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1999 Biology Paper I
4. In an experiment to study the interaction of organisms, a student introduced some
zooplankton X into a culture of zooplankton Y kept in a jar. The following graph shows
the population changes of X and Y in the jar based on the data obtained from this
experiment. It is known that these two zooplanktons are not competitors, and they have
similar masses and similar turnover rates.

(a) Identify the relationship between X and Y. (1 mark)

(b) (i) Sketch a graph to show what you would expect to find in the population
pattern of X and Y if they were allowed to interact in the natural environment.
(Do not use graph paper.) (2 marks)

(ii) Account for the difference in population pattern when X and Y were allowed
to interact in the natural environment compared to when they were kept in the
jar. (3 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1999 Biology Paper I
10. In a water quality monitoring programme conducted in Hong Kong, the government has
designated several sampling stations in the coastal area. The map below shows the
locations of four sampling stations, A, B. C and D :

Key : = fresh water run-off from Pearl River

= oceanic water from the South China Sea

The water quality at the four stations was monitored by periodically collecting data of
seven selected parameters from surface water. Table I below shows the annual means
of these data :

Table 1

Salinity / Suspended pH Total Total Dissolved Chlorophyll

ppt solids / mg nitrogen / phosphate / oxygen / mg L-1 a / g L-1
L-1 mg L-1 mg L-1
Station A 30 6 8.3 2.9 0.10 10 11.6
Station B 31 4 8.4 0.5 0.05 7 2.2
Station C 28 10 8.2 0.8 0.07 8 3.2
Station 19 46 7.8 4.1 0.70 5 2.6
Key : Total nitrogen = dissolved organic and inorganic nitrogen
Total phosphate = dissolved organic and inorganic phosphates
(a) Account for the data on salinity and suspended solids at Station D with reference
to its location.
(2 marks)







(b) What does chlorophyll a concentration reflect ? (1 mark)


(c) (i) Describe and explain the relationships shown between total nitrogen, total
phosphate and chlorophyll a as indicated by their data at stations A, B and C.
(2 marks)





(ii) How does chlorophyll a concentration affect dissolved oxygen at stations A, B

and C ? (1.5 marks)




(iii) With reference to the data of the other parameters (other than chlorophyll a)
at Station D shown in table 1, explain how these parameters may affect the
dissolved oxygen value at this station. (3 marks)





(d) If you were to set up a marine fish culture zone at one of the stations, B. C and D,
which station would you choose ? Based on the information provided by the map
and table 1, give two main reasons to support your choice. (3.5 marks)







(e) The human population of the area surrounding Station A increased from 80,000 to
800,000 in the past ten years. Station A has the highest frequency of red tide
occurrence in Hong Kong. Suggest two ways to solve this problem if you were the
government official to deal with this phenomenon of red tide at Station A. (2 marks)





Total : 15 marks

Suggested Solution
3. The economic significance of microorganisms

HKALE 1990 Biology Paper I

10. Discuss the adverse effects of agricultural practices on the biosphere. (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1990 Biology Paper II
13. Write an essay which shows that you understand the sources, production and function of
antibiotics and discuss why their indiscriminate use can have serious consequences.
(20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1993 Biology Paper I
10. Oysters are collected from the coastal waters around Deep Bay for sale in local markets.
However, in Hong Kong sewage effluents are discharged into coastal areas and
consumption of sewage-contamined oysters may pose a health risk.

An experiment was conducted in winter and summer to determine the uptake of faecal
bacteria by oysters. Faecal bacteria-free oysters of different sizes were suspended in
coastal waters. The levels of faecal bacteria in oyster tissues were measured at regular
intervals within a 12-hour period. The results of this study are shown in the following
table :

Batches of oysters
Mean shell length (mm) 21 81 114
Mean flesh weight (g) 25 95 140
Mean surface area of gills (cm2) 252 2733 4212
Season Winter Summer Winter Summer Winter Summer
0h 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mean number of faecal bacterial 3h 5 25 14 85 15 120
cells in oysters (per gram flesh 6h 10 48 18 118 25 135
weight) 9h 15 50 22 120 29 199
12 h 16 51 22 119 30 200

(a) What is the relationship between the faecal bacteria concentration in oyster tissues
and the body size of the oysters ? With reference to the data provided, suggest a
possible explanation for such a relationship. (2 marks)

(b) (i) For each batch of oysters, determine the ratio of bacteria concentration in
oyster tissue in winter to that in summer, after suspension in water for 12
hours. (1 mark)

(ii) Give an account of three environmental factors which could explain the
seasonal difference in bacteria concentrations in the oyster tissues. (3 marks)

(c) Would you expect a further increase in the faecal bacteria concentration in oyster
tissues if the oysters were to be suspended in the coastal water for another 12
hours ? Explain your answer.
(3 marks)

(d) In which part of an oyster would you expect bacteria to be accumulated ? Explain
your answer.
(4 marks)

(e) (i) Distinguish between "faecal bacteria" and "pathogenic bacteria ". (3 marks)

(ii) Name a disease that could be transmitted through the consumption of

sewage-contaminated oysters. (1 mark)

(f) Suggest three ways by which it would be possible to minimise the public health
risk of consuming sewage-contaminated oysters. (3 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1994 Biology Paper I
7 (a) What is meant by biodeterioration ?

(b) Describe an example of a biodeteriorative effect caused by, microorganism.

(3 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1995 Biology Paper II
7. Write an essay on : 'Certain diseases are transmitted through contact with the blood of
infected persons while some are diseases of the blood itself.' (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1996 Biology Paper II
7. Describe the ecological roles of microbes in nature. How can these roles be exploited by
man ? Discuss the beneficial and harmful consequences of such exploitation by
mankind. (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1997 Biology Paper II
7. Human parasites belong to different taxonomic groups. Using one example from each of
these groups, describe the various modes of infection and the effects of these parasites
on man. What preventive measures would you adopt to reduce the risk of parasitic
infection ? Indicate the biological basis and rationale for such measures. (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1997 Bioogy Paper II
9. Explain the advantages and drawbacks of the methods of food preservation. Citing
three incidents related to unsafe or unhygienic food which occurred in Hong Kong and /
or overseas, explain the biological basis of the causes of such outbreaks. What
preventive measures would you suggest to the local government(s) to safeguard the
people from similar hazards in the future ? (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1998 Biology Paper II
7. To increase production in agriculture, man has used various methods based on
biological principles. Describe these methods and the principles behind them. Discuss
their benefits and drawbacks.
(20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1998 Biology Paper II
8. What are antibiotics and how do they work ? Describe and explain the consequences of
the indiscriminate long-term use of antibiotics and suggest two possible solutions to
alleviate such consequences. (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1999 Biology Paper I
11. A student collected samples of soil from paddy fields A and B. In each soil sample, he
sowed 100 rice grains. The daily average number of viable seedlings found in the two
types of soil samples is presented in figure I below :

Figure 1: Effect of soil type on viability of rice seedlings

(a) Compare and contrast the viability of the seedlings in the soil collected from paddy
fields A and B.
(4 marks)








(b) Microorganisms were found coating the roots of the rice seedlings. These
microorganisms were isolated and examined. The following photomicrographs
show their morphology :

Microorganism J Microorganism K
Identify the major taxonomic group to which each microorganism belongs. Give
two reasons for each identification. (3 marks)

Major taxonomic group of J : .. Major taxonomic group of K : ..

Reasons : Reasons :

. .
(c) It was found that soil from field A contained both microorganisms J and K whereas
soil from field B contained microorganism J only. According to the observed growth
response of the rice seedlings in each soil type shown in Figure 1, a student put
forward two hypotheses :

Hypothesis I : J is harmful to the rice seedlings and kills them but K overcomes the
harmful effect of J.
Hypothesis II: K is necessary to maintain the viability of the rice seedlings after

To test these two hypotheses, the student added the microorganisms J and / or K
to samples of sterilized soil. Then he sowed the rice grains in these soil samples.
The table below shows the soil treatments and the results of his investigation :
Percentage of viable seedlings observed
Treatment Microorganism(s) On the day 1 day after 3 days after 7 days after
added to the soil of sowing sowing sowing sowing
P None 0 50 100 100
Q J 0 50 40 0
R K 0 50 100 100
S J+K 0 50 80 100
(i) In this investigation, why is it necessary to use sterilized soil in all the
treatments ? (2 marks)




(ii) Compare the results of the following treatments and draw conclusions from
your comparison : (6 marks)

Comparison of the results of Effect of J and / or K on the rice

the treatments seedlings

(1) Treatments Q and P

(2) Treatments R and P

(3) Treatments S and all

the other treatments

(iii) Do the findings support the two hypotheses put forward by the student ? Put
a '' in the appropriate box. (1 mark)

The findings support hypothesis I alone.

The findings support hypothesis II alone.
The findings support both hypotheses I and II.
The findings support neither of the two hypotheses.

(iv) Propose one mechanism by which microorganism K may act to produce the
observed result in treatment S. (1 mark)


Total : 17 marks
Suggested Solution

4. Mans impact on the environment

HKALE 1989 Biology Paper II

11. Write an essay on the present status and the possible future of agriculture in Hong
Kong. (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1990 Biology Paper II
9. Discuss the biological significance of the "greenhouse effect" to plant communities.
(20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1994 Biology Paper II
9. Write an essay on the impact of the different methods of solid waste disposal on the
local environment. As an individual how could you help to reduce the volume of waste
generated ? (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1996 Biology Paper II
8. What are the causes the effects of marine pollution in Hong Kong ? Comment on the
various measures which have been adopted or proposed by the Hong Kong
Government to alleviate the impact of such pollution. (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1999 Biology Paper II
8. Land reclamation in Hong Kong is associated with intensive dredging activities carried
out in the waters of Hong Kong and around Hong Kong.
These dredging activities involve the digging up of the sea floor for sand to reclaim land.
Discuss the impact of these activities on marine organisms and on the marine
ecosystems of the dredged and reclaimed areas. (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1999 Biology Paper II
10. The tropical rain forests on earth are being destroyed rapidly. What are the causes of their
destruction ? Discuss the ecological consequences of this deforestation. (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
5. Mans responsibility for environment protection and


HKALE 1990 Biology Paper II

12. Describe the ways by which the world's food supply has been increased during the last
hundred years. Discuss the current status of supply and demand for food in the world.
(20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1994 Biology Paper I
6. Explain what you understand by the following concepts :

(a) non-renewable resources

(b) eutrophication (4 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1994 Biology Paper II
8. What are the objectives for the establishment of Country Parks in Hong Kong? Describe
the management strategies to achieve these objectives. (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1994 Biology Paper II
10. Discuss the pros and cons of the role of zoos as conservation and educational centres.
(20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1995 Biology Paper II
9. 'Ecotourism' allows tourists to have an intimate experience with nature without intruding
on local wildlife or communities. What is the environmental, educational, and economic
value of promoting 'Ecotourism' in a country ? (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1996 Biology Paper II
9. What is the biological importance of the Hong Kong countryside ? How do the urban and
the rural inhabitants of Hong Kong benefit from the countryside ?
(20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1996 Bioogy Paper II
10. What are the causes the lead to an organism becoming an 'endangered species'? As an
individual, what can you do to contribute to the protection and conservation of
endangered species ? (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1997 Biology Paper II
8. How does tree planting in the urban and rural areas of Hong Kong help to improve the
living environment for man and other organisms ? (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1997 Biology Paper II
10. What functions should coastal conservation areas such as the 'Marine Parks' in Hong
Kong fulfil ? What criteria would you consider in selecting a suitable area in Hong Kong
for establishing a coastal conservation area ? (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
HKALE 1998 Biology Paper II
9. 'Man requires fresh water, yet, the global availability of water is limited. Man through his
activities keeps on polluting this precious resource and the consequences can be far-
reaching.' Write an essay on this. Include in your essay the measures that can be taken
to conserve the use of water and to minimize the pollution of water. (20 marks)

Suggested Solution
Suggested Solution

HKALE 1989 Biology Paper I

7. If the toxic chemical e.g. DDT / heavy metals

cannot be metabolized and excreted,
it would accumulate in the body of the organism and passes from one trophic
level to another.
As energy is lost from one trophic level to another by respiration, reproduction
The consumers at the higher trophic level have to feed on a large number /
biomass of smaller consumers which in turn feed on a larger number /
biomass of producers, thus the concentration of the toxic chemical will be the
highest at the top consumer level.

HKALE 1989 Biology Paper II
7. (a) Similarities
Both : are heterotrophic
absorb soluble food

Parasitic nutrition Saprophytic nutrition
Energy derived from living organism Energy derived from dead organic matter 1
Very specific to their hosts Use a variety of food source 1

(b) Any suitable example e.g. Mucor / Rhlzopus
The mycelium consists of a mass of delicate branching hyphae.
These provide a large surface area to volume ratio for contact with the
food. 0.5+0.5
The thin cell wall also facilitates the secretion of
digestive enzymes and absorption of the digested food.

(c) (i) Any suitable animal example e g. Fasclola / Taenia
Any suitable fungal example e.g. Cystopus
Correct life cycle diagrams (2.5 each)

For example :
10 each
Cystopus mycelium

Zoospores Conidis Sporangia antheridia oogonia

male nucleus oosphere


9 each
Tapeworm in gut

cysticerci eaten proliferation of

with meat proglottides

Cysticerci in intermediate fertilized eggs

muscle host : pig

Hexacanths Onchospheres
in gut

(ii) Common adaptive features :

involvement of a vector / lntermediate host dispersal agent to
increase the chance of infecting the host
production of any eggs / spores because of the difficulty of
finding a new host
dormant or resistant phases to overcome the period spent
away from the host
[N.B . In the answer, candidates should make references to
specific stages in the life cycles concerned.]

HKALE 1990 Biology Paper I
9. (a) Species A dominates the upper shore
Species B dominates the lower shore

(b) The sharp increase in population density was caused by settlement of a
large number of free-swimming larvae on the shore
Due to a high degree of intra-speciflc competition / vulnerability of
juveniles, the mortality was normally high when the barnacles first
settled and the population density therefore declined gradually.

(c) Desiccation limits the distribution of species B in the upper tidal zone.
Because species B diet quickly when they were transplanted to the
upper tidal zone (Graph 3), but they survived in a similar pattern as
individuals settled in the lower tidal zone when they were transplanted to
a tidal pool in the upper tidal zone (compare Graphs 4 & 2).

(d) Interspecific competition limits the distribution of species A in the lower
tidal zone.
Because once species B was removed, species A was able to survive in
the lower tidal zone in the same pattern as those individuals living in the
upper tidal zone (compare Graphs 5 and 1).

(e) The removal of all species A from the upper tidal zone will NOT affect
the survival and population density of species B.
Because species B is limited by desiccation, but not interspecific
competition [see answer in 2(b)], the limiting effects of desiccation
exerting on species B would remain the same even species A is
removed from the upper tidal zone.

(f) Wave action dislodge organisms 1+1)
Temperature extremes during aerial exceed the tolerance limit of the 1+1)
exposure animals and plants
Period of submergence / emergence / affect the available feeding time 1+1) any
tidal cycle 1
Salinity exceed the tolerance limit of the 1+1)
Other suitable answers (2)

(g) Transect line / random quadrat / belt transect

Description of the method
Count / estimate Z coverage of organisms inside quadrats in relation to
tidal level on the shore
HKALE 1990 Biology Paper I
10. (a) Dilute clean / fresh seawater with distilled water to give %
Place into a series of cavity slides
each with a measured volume of a particular dilution of seawater
Pick up an amoeba in a pipette and add to each slide in turn
(collect amoeba by viewing with dissecting microscope)
Cover with a coverslip to prevent evaporation during
measurement and allow time to equilibrate to new conditions
View under medium power slow movement allows discharges to be
max. (4)
(b) Assuming the contractile vacuole is spherical and there is complete
discharge of content, and let 2r m be the diameter of the vacuole just
before discharge
Rate of fluid output = r3 no. of discharge per second

(c) As seawater conc. rises, rate of discharge falls

In low concentration of sea water, osmotic potential (O.P.) inside < O.P.
outside so water moves in
therefore vacuole discharges frequently to eliminate excess water
As concentration of seawater rises , difference between the
concentration becomes less deep, so less water moves in at a slower
rate 1
An attempt to explain the steep fall in very dilute seawater (1 bonus)
(d) Chaos may be larger than Amoeba (it is) and hence with a large surface
area for osmotic influx of water. 0.5,0.5)
Therefore, it requires a higher rate of fluid output to prevent bursting
itself any other reasonable argument
e.g. difference in permeability of surface membrane 1.5,0.5)
any 2
difference in osmotic concentration of cytoplasm 1.5,0.5)

(e) Active removal of ions from the contractile vacuole fluid into the
cytoplasm by active transport resulting in a hypotonic fluid.

(f) Use a metabolic poison (preferably not cyanide) in low concentration

and triturate amoeba with it and investigate changes in vacuolar rate
If it stops formation in low ionic strength sea water, suggest an active

OR other suitable method e.g. lower the temperature of the seawater
HKALE 1990 Biology Paper I

HKALE 1990 Biology Paper II

HKALE 1991 Biology Paper I

11. (a) Graphs Ia and Ib are not straight lines because crowding of the plants
leads to intraspecific competition as the density is increased. At higher
densities, environmental conditions (e.g. space, nutrients, water, etc.)
become limiting, and there are more plants but each plant is smaller.
(Alternatively, could be increased mortality at higher densities.)

(b) The shapes of the yield curves are different because in experiment II
there is interspecific competition between the species in addition to the
intraspecific competition in experiment I. Thus the yields of each species
in the mixture are less than the yields in pure culture.

(c) In the mixed plantings in the absence of Rhizobium the yield of species
B is depressed much more than the yield of species A. This suggests
that competition between A and B is unequal, with A affecting B more
than B affects A.

(d) When Rhizobium is added to the soil the yield curve of the legume, B
becomes convex (the yield of B in the mixtures is increased). This
shows that competition between species A and species B has been
This suggests that in experiment III the species are competing mainly
for available soil nitrogen. The addition of Rhizobium bacteria enables
the legume to form a mutualistic root nodule association with the
bacteria and fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. The grass and legume
thus use different sources of nitrogen so the competition is reduced.


(e) Maximum total yield in the presence of Rhizobium occurs with a 50 : 50

grass : legume mixture.

(f) Any reasonable explanation e.g.

plants in pots forced to compete because roots confined to the
same area
other environmental variables, such as pests, water supply or
availability of other nutrients may limit yield in the field
inadequate replications, etc.
HKALE 1991 Biology Paper II
4. A named local habitat
(a) Transects and / or quadrats
abundance and distribution of species recorded etc..
e.g. line transect (0.5)
select a typical stretch of areas of interest in the habitat (0.5)
laid a rope on ground (fixed at the 2 end) (0.5 )
record abundance and distribution of species touching the
rope (0.5)
data graphed (histograms / kite diagrams / etc.) and analysed (0.5).

e.g. quadrats (0.5)

random or along a transect (belt transect) (0.5)
count the number of each species occurring in the quadrat /
estimate the percentage coverage of each species in the quadrat
for random quadrat : repeat a number of times to get the
average (0.5)
for belt transect : repeat along the transect (0.5)
Presentation (1)

(b) The 2 physical factors described must be major ones operating at the
specified habitat for each factor :
correct factor cited 0.5
effect on the distribution of organism 1.5 2 2 factors = 4

(c) The organisms named must be present in the habitat adaptations cited
must be adaptations towards the particular habitat specified general
adaptations not acceptable

for each organism :

correct name (common name acceptable) 0.5
each adaptation described 0.5 (max. 1.5 4 organisms = 6
marks) (6)

(d) The examples cited must be present in the habitat for each inter-relationship :
correct examples (both partners correct) 1
description of the role of each partner 1 2 2 = 4 marks

HKALE 1991 Biology Paper II

5. Definition of a parasite
Problems faced by parasites
(a) Access / attachment to host tissue
the body surface of the hosts are often lined / equipped with a
protective layer / mechanism against invading organisms
(b) Feeding
the parasites must be able to derive nutrients form their hosts but
at the same time, not to kill the hosts to deprive themselves of food

(c) Reproduction and transmission

like any other organisms, parasites must be able to reproduce and
the offspring must be able to find a suitable habitat in which to
develop (i.e. be able to spread from one host to another).

Adaptations to overcome the problems

With reference to a named parasitic fungus e.g. Albugo
a named parasitic animal e.g. Taenia
(N.B. accept other parasitic fungal and animal examples)

(a) Access / attachment to host tissues

Albugo :
through damaged outer tissues or through natural openings such
as stomata
secrete pectinase and cellulase enzymes to digest the cell wall to
gain entrance into the cell
mycelium consists of delicate hyphae ramifying through the
intercellular spaces of the host tissue
Taenia :
enters the host via the gastro-intestinal tract at a stage which is
resistant to the hosts digestive enzymes
possess hooks and suckers for the attachment of the scolex to the
wall of the gut

(b) Feeding
Albugo :
direct absorption of nutrients from hosts cells
via numerous intracellular haustoria
Taenia :
active absorption of predigested food of the host across the
general body surface
the flattened body provides a larger surface area to volume ratio
for the absorption of food

(c) Reproduction and transmission

Albugo :
asexual production of numerous air-borne spores / sporangia beds
(conidiospores) to maximise the chance of infecting a new host
sexually produced oospores can survive in the soil over winter
Taenia :
employs a secondary host (pig) to maximize the chance of
infecting a new host
hermaphroditic thus aiding possible self-fertilization
enormous numbers of reproductive bodies e.g. a larger number of
proglottids, each producing a large number of eggs
eggs remain viable for several months on the soil
absence or degeneration of feeding and locomotory and other
unnecessary organ systems so that more energy / nutrients could
be saved for reproduction

any 20 marks
N.B. If parasites not named, deduct half of the total marks gained.
HKALE 1992 Biology Paper I
1. Organism Habitat

(b) cnidocil / Hydra / Chlorophydra viridissima Freshwater ponds / lakes 0.5+0.5

Obelia Colonies attached to seaweed,
piles, rocks shells

Jellyfish / Aurelia spp. Any appropriate marine habitat

e.g. free-floating in open sea

Sea anemone / Actinaria spp . Rocky / sandy shores

HKALE 1992 Biology Paper I
8. (a) Site A :
In the initial 6 / 7 months (June - November / December), growth is fast /
increasing rate of growth followed by a period of 4 / 5 months from
December to April / May over which growth is minimal.

Site B :
growth pattern : high rate of growth in the first twelve to eighteen months
/ after which growth begins to taper off / diminish with time.

Differences :
growth pattern shows two distinct phases at site A 1)
Mussels at site B are twice the size of mussels at site A at the end )
of the first and second year; hence, annual rate of growth )
any 2
of mussels at site B is approximately twice that of mussels at site A 1)
Growth at site A is seasonal, no clear seasonal growth variation at site B. 1)
Winter / spring is the period of slow growth at site A.

(b) Seasonal variations in


plankton density
food supply
suspended particulate matter

OR spawning activity / breeding season + explanation


(c) (i) Growth in shell length was fastest at site B in the initial six month
period (month 0 - 6).
(ii) Highest increase in fresh tissue weight recorded at site B from
month 6 - 12.

(d) Condition Index :

Time (months) Site A Site B
0 -) 1 mark -) 1 mark
6 0.24) for any 3 0.41) for any 3
12 0.21) correct 0.55) correct
18 0.24) answer 0.49) answer
24 0.22) 0.38)

(e) Total production (in terms of whole body weight) at end of the first 12 months
Site A : 20 543 4.45 = 48,327 g = 48 kg
Site B : 20 366 24.75 - 181,170 g = 181 kg
(f) (i) Mussels at site B reach a shell length of 6 cm within 9 months.

At site A, mussels achieve this size only after 19 months growth;

comparative growth rate twice as slow.

(ii) Condition index of mussels at site A ranges from 0.21 - 0.24, never
achieves 0.4, at site B, C.I. ranges from 0.38 to 0.55 with highest
index reached at 12 months of age. Mussels at site B have a
relatively higher fresh tissue weight.

Hence site B is the most suitable site since mussels achieve their
marketable size within 12 months - short growing period : faster
cash return.

(iii) Production at site B is almost 4 times that of site A by the first year,
therefore, relatively greater quantity available for harvest.

All the above factors suggest a higher net income generated (at the end
of the first year) if mussels are cultivated at site B.
(g) Sedentary
attached to fixed structures by byssus, no need for special
confinement structure;
easy to harvest;
amenable to different types of culture techniques'
e.g., tray, line, hanging rope.

Abundant natural spatfall / high fecundity

plentiful and easily available juveniles for collection for culture
need not spend time and money developing artificial breeding

Filter feeders
no need to feed or develop artificial food.

Widely distributed and tolerant to a wide range of hydrographic

conditions 1
can be cultivated in many areas with different types of
environmental conditions.

All the above shows that mussel culture is a productive and abundant
source of low cost protein.
N.B. 2 marks for each well explained biological characteristic
OR 1 mark for each less well explained biological characteristic
HKALE 1992 Biology Paper I
9. (a) Title of graph
0.5 T
Properly drawn and fully labelled x and y axes
Correct plot
2.5 P
A bar chart showing the relative abundance of calcium in the 6 plant species


Relative abundance of calcium (mg g-1 dry mass)





P la n t s p e c ie s
(b) Calcium pectate is a major component of the cell wall / middle lamella. 1)
Therefore, the amount of calcium per unit dry mass in both the woody and
non-woody plants should be similar assuming that the no. of cells per unit
dry mass are the same for both plants. 1)

any 4
However, woody plants depend on the bulk of secondary lignified tissues
for support, lignin is deposited on to the cell wall of those tissues. 1)
With the amount of calcium pectate remaining unchanged, the addition of
lignin on to the cell walls of a plant would increase the total mass of a plant
and hence a decrease in the relative amount of calcium (per unit dry mass)
[because the denominator becomes larger while the numerator remains
unchanged]. 2)

[N.B. The absolute amount of calcium present in woody plants could be
greater than that of non-woody plants because of the bulk of secondary
tissues formed / the large body size.]

(c) Species B (0.5) - High N (0.5) species will have root nodules which
contain N fixing bacteria.(1)
Used in crop rotation as roots ploughed in increases N content of soil for
other crops benefit(1).

(d) Species A (0.5) - High Mg (0.5) , Mg a component of chlorophyll. (1)

High chlorophyll therefore high photosynthetic potential. (1)

(e) Trace elements

Role as co-factors (0.5) in enzyme-controlled reactions (0.5).

(f) (i) Any suitable explanation of active transport (0.5)

e.g. membrane bound carriers (1),
ATP involvement / energy requiring (0.5),
specific carriers / selective permeability (1) etc.
any 2
(ii) Addition of respiratory inhibitor inhibits uptake (0.5)
Specific example of inhibitor given (0.5)
Any acceptable procedure
HKALE 1993 Biology Paper I
10. (a) The larger the body size (as reflected by the greater flesh weight and
shell length) of the oysters, the higher is the bacterial concentration.
It is because the larger oysters have a larger gill surface and are able to
take up and retain more bacteria.

(b) (i) The respective ratios for batches A, B and C were 1:3.2, 1:5.4 and

(ii) Better survival and excellent growth conditions in high summer

temperatures facilitate a rapid multiplication rate, hence a
higher concentration of bacteria
OR vice versa
dilution effect of frequent rainfall in summer / rainfall washes
in more sewage
temperature and salinity of surrounding sea water affect
filtration rate

(c) No, there would not be a further increase in bacterial concentration in

oyster tissue
since by about 10 hours, the rate of bacteria uptake and egestion by
oysters was in a steady state so that even though more time might
elapse, the levels of bacteria in the tissue remained more or less

(d) Alimentary canal / digestive tract

Gills act as a filtering system and retain bacteria which are trapped in
mucous layer which are then carried by ciliary currents to the mouth and
hence into the digestive tract
(e) (i) Faecal bacteria are bacteria that constitute the indigenous / natural
microbial flora of the gut and usually have a commensalistic or
mutualistic relationship with their hosts
Pathogenic bacteria are bacteria which are parasitic on their hosts
and cause disease.

(ii) Any one of the following : cholera, typhoid fever, bacterial

dysentery, gastroenteritis, infectious hepatitis, serum hepatitis,

(f) install a system (depuration system) for cleansing oysters before

sale to public
relaying system :
collect oysters from contaminated sites and place in clean water
areas for a period of time before sale

Oysters when placed in non-polluted water will continue to feed and in

time clean / purify themselves of any previously ingested bacteria.
ensure that oysters are properly cooked before consumption,
HKALE 1994 Biology Paper I
1. Mosses
found in damp / moist habitat, shady and cool environment

found in open areas, near to hillside / roadside / on walls, where
moisture is available for certain time of the year (for fertilization)

Features : (1 for each feature mentioned, 2 marks max. for moss and 2 marks
max. for fern) 2x2
max. (4)
Mosses Ferns
Water i. no cuticle, water () and have woody (hairy) cuticle ()
conservation nutrients diffuse () rapidly in can reduce water loss
/ uptake and out, restricted to grow
in moist habitat)
ii. no true roots only rhizoids (), ii. true roots () to facilitate
water uptake is less () water uptake ()
efficient () ( restricted to can stand drier areas
moist habitat)
iii. grow tightly together in the
form of a mat () for water
retention ()
Reproduction male gametes for both are mobile ()
necessity for a water medium () to complete its life cycle

max. (5)
HKALE 1994 Biology Paper I
6. (a) Non - renewable resources

Resources of which their abundance is limited / finite

and which cannot be replaced / recycled.

Their continued use will result in exhaustion, with

harmful social and economic consequences.

(b) Eutrophication
Eutrophication is a process whereby a water body / e.g.

sea or ocean becomes enriched with nutrients (inorganic and organic material) at
rates which cannot be assimilated.

This causes an increase in the growth of aquatic plants

which then results in unfavorable changes to water quality / environment.

HKALE 1994 Biology Paper I
7. (a) Biodeterioration is any undesirable change in the properties of a material

caused by the activities organisms.

(b) Any acceptable example :
microorganism e.g. bacterial spoilage of milk

substrate e.g. fermentation of Lactose (milk sugar)

result of activity e.g. Leads to accumulation of lactic acid

undesirable change e.g. which causes souring of milk

HKALE 1994 Biology Paper I
10. (a) Refer to the graph shown below .
title of graph
properly scaled and fully Labelled X and Y axes with correct units
2 curves labelled or keyed
correctly plotted points for the 2 curves (1 marks for each curve)
(Deduct mark if 1 2 points are plotted wrongly. No mark if > 2 points are plotted
600 The relationship between the population sizes of protozoa species A and B

species A
species B
Number of individuals





0 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17
Time (days)

(b) the curves show predator-prey relationship between A and B.

Species A is prey,

species B is predator.

max. (1)
The two curves show a repeated oscillation / cyclic fluctuation pattern
or (The cycles for the two species being slightly out of phase with each other)

At the beginning (day 13) when Species B (the predator) is scarce (),
population of Species A (the prey) increased exponentially () (day 2 -
day 5) as food supply was adequate ()
The increase in numbers of the prey () supports a subsequent increase
in number of the predator () (day 5 - day 6)

The predators then cause a crash in numbers of the prey (), followed by
an inevitable decline in numbers of predator () due to lack of food
supply (). 1

(max. (6)
(c) population A would grow to a limit because the predator species B has
been removed.
food becomes limiting, and there might be intraspecific competition for
oxygen and space, which combine with
accumulation of toxic end products eventually make the environment
unsuitable for survival for A.

(d) predators keep the size of Species A population in check

prevent intraspecific competitions for food and space among the prey.

If B feeds on A, it removes the weaker / less fit () individuals,
allows more fit to survive (), thereby, contributing to the
envolution of A.
HKALE 1994 Biology Paper II
8. Objectives comprises 3 aspects : Nature conservation
Outdoor education
Informal recreation

I. Function of nature conservation :

To protect various components of an ecosystem which in the case of a
terrestrial ecosystem includes soil, vegetation, wildlife and

Principles through which Nature conservation is based is the inter-

relationship of the above components as follows :
plant cover conserves soil from erosion
soil sustains plants and which then acts as water capture system
plants sustain animals through provision of habitat and a food

Management strategies involve protecting each of these different

components. (Each of the following headings has to be discussed)

(a) Soil and Plants

Soil requires protection from erosion if land is bare, done by
carrying out reforestation programmes. Added benefits are
creation of a water capture system, and creation of structural
diversity in terms of the organization of a plant community.
This may be considered a form of habitat rehabilitation
Another measure would be enhancement of habitats whereby
the structural diversity of the community is increased, e.g.,
planting of a shrub layer and a canopy layer in areas of
Plants can be accorded protection by not allowing or
minimizing the presence of grazing animals (goats, cuttle) in
country park areas.
To protect from habitat destruction through human impact /
pressure, no damage to plants / vegetation (e.g., cutting
down of trees) should be permitted.

(b) Animals
To prevent extermination / destruction of wildlife leading to a state
of impoverished animal species, no killing / capture of animals
should be permitted.

(c) Measures for protection at the ecosystem level Preservation /

Maintenance of habitats
Conservation within the sense of a Country Park seeks to maintain
and protect the pristine quality of a terrestrial ecosystem by including a
variety of habitat types to sustain biological diversity.
A Country Park in Hong Kong to achieve such biological objectives
will comprise the following types of habitats :
upland areas
coastal habitats
This often follows a natural topographic gradation from habitats
representative of upland areas (e.g. grasslands) progressing downlands
to shrubland, wooded slopes and valleys to habitats typical of the
coastal fringe (back of the beach scrub or mangroves)
(Citation of country park areas which have this pattern should be
accorded marks)
All the above utilize biological principles / concepts to protect
nature. 9

II. Outdoor education

Education serves to inculcate interest, knowledge and involvement that

results in the recognition and appreciation of the importance of nature in
order to generate a desire to conserve and to protect it.

Management strategies :
This can be achieved by promoting interest, information and involvement
through specially designed programmes geared for different age groups.
This involves using the country park areas as an outdoor classroom to
arouse interest and to stimulate a sense of quest for knowledge about the
relationship of the natural environment and man. This leads to the
development of an appreciation for nature, generation of values and
attitudes followed by adopting appropriate behaviour which lead to
conservation, protection and avoiding the destruction of the countryside.
Direct ways to achieve this is via the provision of nature trials, guided
walks, tree walks, visitors' centre, and arboretums.
Indirect ways involve the use of media : books, pamphlets, posters,

III. Informal Recreation and Multi-use approach

This also takes into consideration that conservation can be integrated
with human activities. Such a multi-use approach would enhance
protection of the natural environment, which in the long run
sustains the country parks in its recreational value that provides
enjoyment and refreshment of the mind and spirit. 3

Management strategies:
Indirect means to achieve an attitude of appreciation and respect for
ones natural heritage can be through informal recreation activities such
as hiking, walking, barbecues and family picnics, and camping.
Provision of such facilities assists this process.
max. (15)
HKALE 1994 Biology Paper II
9. Impacts : (max 10) (At least 3 different methods of disposal and their impacts
have to be described)

1. Landfills
require large tracts of land, substantial land formation works will
alter the natural landscape
due to anaerobic decomposition activity landfill gas (methane)
formation may present a fire risk hazard
if certain types of chemicals are present in landfills, these can
spontaneously ignite and such fires will burn for long periods and
cannot be extinguished thus polluting the atmosphere
presence of landfill gas will hinder efforts at restoration of site
through revegetation by affecting plant growth
production of landfill leachate is highly polluting and will
contaminate water bodies through seepage if underlying surface is

2. Incineration
Incinerators if not adequately designed or operated will generate smell,
increase the level of combustion gases and airborne particulate
discharged into the atmosphere causing air pollution. High levels of
these will contribute to haze conditions typically formed in urban areas.

3. Composting
not much environmental impact, serves a useful function as
fertilizer and is a means of recycling a waste product into a
beneficial material

4. Direct disposal into water bodies

(a) If solid waste is decomposable :
organic parts lead to high biochemical oxygen demand and
microbial activity which lowers dissolved oxygen and creates
anoxic conditions
have an ecosystem impact in terms of changes to community
structure or destruction of aquatic life
increase in turbidity due to suspended matter will decrease
photosynthetic activity and hence self-reoxygenation ability of
freshwater aquatic system
foul odour from decomposition
hydrogen sulphide generated during decomposition will
combine with iron to produce ferric sulphide (black) in
freshwater systems leading to visual discolouration of
inorganic moiety may have toxic effect on aquatic life, change
community structure

(b) If solid waste is not decomposable :

lead to drainage problem, animal carcases, clinical waste not
much environmental impact, more a problem of a potential
health risk if inadequately disposed

5. Marine dumping of sludges

Mainly ecosystem impacts through
destruction of marine benthic community or leads to drastic
changes in its composition through physical effect of smothering by
overlying layer of sludge.
large organic input will result in organic enrichment creating a
reservoir of nutrients slowly released into the overlying water
through anaerobiosis / decomposition processes facilitating marine
algal growth which may lead to algal blooms.
if currents are strong, increase in the suspended solids and
turbidity of water will occur and affect large areas. Pelagic species
of fish will avoid such areas, i.e., a reduced diversity of species will
occur at the affected site.
marine biological communities such as coral and on rocky shores
sensitive to high turbidity will be destroyed.

6. Pulverized fly ash (PFA) lagoons / coal ash lagoons

require large tracts of land as a storage dump, PFA is an inert
material hence is difficult for plants to colonise therefore these tend
to remain as visually intrusive barren areas
after settlement, PFA attains a cement-Like consistency, hence
further hinders plant establishment
max. (10)
Personal efforts in contribution to waste reduction
Reduce : reduce waste production by reducing use
Recycling :
up to 25% of household waste can be recycled paper - magazines,
newspapers, cardboard cartons
aluminium products - cans, ring pulls
plastic bags

Re-use :
paper - envelopes, glass bottles, re-filling of cosmetic containers
use of re-cycled materials

Write letter to government / manufacturers to suggest ideas on waste
e.g. reduce packaging

max. (15)
HKALE 1994 Biology Paper II
10. (1) Conservation pros 5 marks
cons 5 marks

(a) Pros for conservation as sanctuary and breeding centres

Protection from extermination through hunting, habitat
destruction, pollution, natural disasters, predation
Zoos provide food, shelter, safety, medical care to the captive
animals, as well as breeding programmes (including
advanced artificial methods, etc.) to ensure survival and
increasing the number; can be used for re-introduction of
animals to the wild.

(b) Cons for conservation as sanctuary and breeding centre

To what extent can zoos save animals? Where is the space in
zoos to keep the ever increasing numbers of threatened
confinement / isolation reduces ability to react, and make
animal lazy; bad for proper body development; more and
more dependent on man like a pet; causing distress, affecting
natural mating and reducing chance of successful
reproduction; animals may have difficulty in adapting to
natural environment and may not survive when re-introduced
in the wild habitat
unsuitable management may cause needless suffering ;
undesirable behaviour of visitors causing harm to animals ;
air pollution being harmful to animals in a zoo situated inside
large urban areas
artificial breeding in zoos may be interfering / against natural
selection captivity being against animal rights
danger of inbreeding, development of genetic homozygosity,
lowered genetic vigour, smaller gene pool for future
development of adaptive features

(2) Education (5 marks)

(a) Pros
To provide a variety of wild life in exhibit to educate the public
To raise public consciousness about wild life
presenting exhibits as interactive / interdependent ecosystem
displays e.g. summer work visit programmes to increase
contact of children with animals
as an outdoor classroom, lectures can be conducted
information provided using zoo exhibits to demonstrate how
an animal fits into its environment and its behaviour (foraging,
prey catching, play and exploration)

(b) Cons
animals in long period of captivity may not reflect a true
picture of how they would behave in natural habitats.
knowledge about zoo animals may be very superficial
many people not prepared for gathering knowledge while
relaxing in a zoo.
animals in captivity may lead to an erroneous thinking that
Man is different and all other organisms are inferior to him
videos / TV programmes being a better, more efficient, in-
depth and vivid learning tool than zoos
HKALE 1995 Biology Paper I
9. (a)
(i) 40 mm 26 42 15 12 5
(ii) 110 mm 0 4 94 2 0

Mark deduction : No table, minus 1 mark

correct reading of each prey type in % 1 mark x 5

(b) For the juvenile starfish of size < 40 mm, gastropods (snails) are the
most abundant () item of diet, and followed by crustaceans () Annelids,
unidentified tissue and bivalves are of small proportion () of the diet.

At the adult stage, bivalves become a more important / most abundant

item of diet (). The proportion of gastropods () and the rest /
crustaceaus decreases ().

it can be seen that as the starfish grows from juvenile to adult, it

changes from feeding a wide spectrum / a larger variety of prey type to
feeding on 1 main prey type (1).
OR At juvenile stage, it is an opportunistic / generalist feeder. At adult stage,
it becomes a specialist / actively selects for bivalves (1).

(Bonus : Juvenile starfish having a wider diet spectrum, have better

survival value (1).
Adult starfish predation may have a significant impact on
bivalve prey population (1)) (max. 6 due to bonus)

(c) This starfish lives in a soft bottom seabed / sandy shore / rocky shore /
coastal areas / seashore (). The prey types (or name any one) are
burrowing organisms () soft substratum (). Bivalves breathe by gills
() aquatic () ; or; the prey types are attached to rocks / hard
substratum ().

(d) (i) Bivalves have 2 calcareous valves / hard shells () which can't be
digested by gut enzyme () (so that these can be used as an aid in
identification). For annelids their bodies are soft tissues () which
are easily digested (). Thus they are less easy to be identified.

(ii) Gastropods have spiral shell () Crustaceans have a carapace,

segmented abdomen, jointed appendage.(any 2)
(Total : 15 marks)
(Max : 17 marks due to bonus in (b))
HKALE 1995 Biology Paper II
5. (a) Obtain light energy () - *photoautotrophic / *phototrophic /
*photosynthetic (), e.g. green plants ()
Light energy is absorbed by chlorophyll () in the grana of the
chloroplast. This causes the electron(s) in the chlorophyll to become
excited () which then passes through a chain of electron carriers ().
Eventually ATP and NADPH2 are formed. () This energy in ATP and
NADPH2 is further used in the dark reaction when CO 2 is incorporated to
form carbohydrates. () Thus light energy is converted to chemical
energy of organic food.(1)

(b) Obtain chemical energy () - *chemoautotrophic / *chemotrophic /

*chemosynthetic (), e.g. iron bacteria / sulphur bacteria / nitrifying
bacteria ()

Chemical energy is released by oxidation of inorganic substances ()

such as ammonium compound / nitrite / iron (II) compound / sulphur. ()
The energy released () is used for the synthesis of organic food () from
carbon dioxide. Thus chemical energy from inorganic substances is
converted to chemical energy of organic food.(1)

(c) Obtain chemical energy () - *chemoheterotrophic / *heterotrophic ()


These organisms acquire the energy from organic food they take. ()

(i) *Saprotrophism / *saprophytism () - carried out by e.g.

saprotrophic / saprophytic bacteria & fungi () External digestion ()
of dead / non-living organic matter. ()

(ii) *Parasitism () - carried out by e.g. parasitic bacteria / fungi /

protozoans. ()
Absorb food from living host.(1)

(iii) *Holozoic nutrition () - carried out by e.g. () animals

Characterized by ingestion (). Digestive enzymes are secreted to
a digestive region for breakdown of food. ()
(d) Ecological roles

Photoautotrophic organisms / green plants act as major producers(1),

transforming solar energy into biomass / organic compounds. ()

A food chain () is formed by plants and animals with energy flow from
the producers to the consumers. ()

Chemoheterotrophic / heterotrophic / holozoic animals act as

consumers, () herbivores acting as primary consumers; () some
animals are carnivores or omnivores acting as consumers of higher
trophic levels. ()
Parasites are consumers in the food chain. ()

Saprotrophic / saprophytic bacteria and fungi act as decomposers () as

they acquire energy through decomposition. They act to recycle
nutrients to producers and the environment.(1)

Some chemoautotrophic / chemosynthetic bacteria e.g. nitrifying

bacteria also enable the recycling of nutrients between the environment
and biomass in the nitrogen cycle.(1)

Predator-prey relationship, parasite-host relationship, and other species

interaction (any two)(, ) maintain balance in the ecosystem () and play
a role in population control. ()

(max. 20)
HKALE 1995 Biology Paper II
7. A. Diseases transmitted through contact with blood

Several diseases are usually transmitted by the blood of an infected

person getting into the bloodstream of another person. Familiar
examples include AIDS, hepatitis B. gonorrhoea, syphilis, genital
herpes, etc.

The amount of blood needed is only very small for transmission to

occur. This can happen during

(a) sexual activity which may involve contact between body surfaces
that have lesions. Hence the term "sexually transmitted diseases
(STD)' is also applicable for the diseases so caused.

(b) inoculation by an animal vector which carries the pathogen after

the former has fed on blood from an infected human host. An
example is provided by the Anopheles mosquito transmitting

(c) direct contact of wounds with infected blood.

(d) transfusion of blood or blood products.

Well written on at least three of such diseases to get max. of 8 marks.

(Answers should include name of disease and a brief description as well
as the mechanism of transmission. Causative organism, effects and
treatments can be mentioned.)

(a) AIDS - caused by the human immune-deficiency virus (HIV) which

attacks T cells in the immune system, rendering the person
susceptible to opportunistic infections. Asymptomatic period is
highly variable. No definite cure at present.

(b) Hepatitis B - due to a virus that mainly produces lesions in the liver.
No specific treatment.

(c) Gonorrhoea - caused by bacterium which attacks the mucosae of

the reproductive and urinary tracts. Responds will to antibiotics like
penicillin but resistant strains to these antibiotics have evolved.

(d) Syphilis - also caused by bacterium that attacks genital organs like
penis or vagina. Antibiotic like penicillin is still the best treatment
especially at early stage.

(e) Genital herpes - herpes virus results in blister like lesions on

reproductive organs. They are usually more of a nuisance than a
threat to life.

(f) Malaria - causative agent is the protozoan Plasmodium. Bridging

two human hosts is the vector - (Anopheles) mosquito. In man, the
parasite invades red blood cells and produces cyclic fevers.
Effective cure is possible with antimalarial drugs like quinine.

B. Diseases of blood (3 marks for each complete description)


(a) Diseases of red blood cell - Anaemia : number of red cells and / or
concentration of haemoglobin are / is reduced.

Some common causes of anaemia are :

(i) haemorrhage
(ii) deficiency of iron
(iii) deficiency of vitamin B12
(vi) hereditary abnormalities of the red blood cell
e.g. sickle-cell anaemia : base substitution mutation leading to
substitution of amino acid (valine replaces glutamic acid) in beta
chains of haemoglobin)

(b) Diseases of white blood cell Leukaemia : white blood cells

increase in number in a malignant way, causing death from
anaemia and haemorrhage. No known cure for leukaemia.

(c) Deficiency in density of platelets - Haemorrhagic disorders :

abnormal tendency to bleed and greatly prolonged coagulation
Treated by blood transfusion.
(d) Haemophilia - the most important haemorrhagic disease caused by
a disease caused by a deficiency of the antihaemophilic globulin
(AHG or AHF or Factor VIII).
A hereditary disorder transmitted as an X-linked recessive
character. The trait may be inherited obliquely from grandfather to
grandson, skipping the daughter who is known as the carrier of the
No cure except the patient is dosed with preparations of AHG
when necessary.

(e) Autoimmune diseases

The immune system fails to recognize self-antigens and produces
an immune attack against them. Among human autoimune
diseases are glomerulonephritis, hemolytic and pernicious
anaemias. Therapy for autoimmune diseases typically involves
giving drugs to suppress immune responses.

HKALE 1995 Biology Paper II
10. The total number of living species worldwide has been estimated to be
around 1.4 million, comprising of invertebrates, microorganisms, plants,
fishes, birds, reptiles and amphibians and mammals. This number is very
much under-estimated because a lot of species are yet to be identified.
Half of all the species we have today are expected to be driven to extinction
by the year 2050. Pollution, overhunting, monoculturing, and the trade of
wildlife all play a part, but the most devastating act is the fast destruction
of tropical rainforests, which contain at least half of the world's species.

(1) Maintain community stability - diversity of species in a community or a

habitat exist as a food-web inter-related with one another. The loss of
one plant species can cause the loss of as many as 20 kinds of animals
and insects. Reduce species diversity would reduce stability in a
reduce intraspecific competition
enables recycling of materials like N, O. C etc.
enables a better use of resources in habitat (eg. food)

(2) Gene pool - each species is made up of many organisms, and thus
storing a lot of characteristic genetic information. Except for cases of
parthenogenesis and identical twinning, virtually no two members of the
same species are genetically identical. Even if an endangered species
is save from extinction, it will probably have lost much of its internal
diversity and becomes nearly genetically uniform compared to its
ancestral population. Genetic resources taken from the wild are playing
a very important role in sustaining our societies, providing medicines,
food and raw materials for industry. (2 marks each for each of the

(i) Medicines - existing medicines are produced from wild species.

Worth some US$40 billion a year. Before the discovery of
antileukemia drugs from rosy periwinkle in a madagascan forest,
less than a fifth of the sufferer survived, now the remission rate has
increased to over 80%. It is believed that there are 1,400 tropical
plants and 500 marine organisms yield chemicals with the potential
to fight cancer; but many may be driven to extinction before their
function can be assessed. There are many more other diseases
that their remedies are storing in the wild species waiting to be

(ii) Food - the world populations are relying on only a very small
fraction of the world species for food. Just three species - wheat,
rice and maize - provide half the world's food potato, barley, sweet
potato and cassava provide another quarter. Many of the existing
species are not yet explored and have potential to be developed as
new foods for the future.

(iii) Monoculture and large scale agriculture practices rendered the

crops very vulnerable to devastating attack by diseases. E.g. the
Irish Potato Blight in the 1840s had caused a fifth of the countrys
population to die. Crops need to be given new protection every five
to fifteen years, because pests and diseases develop ways around
their existing defense. The only effective way to confer it is to
interbreed them with other strains. often wild one.

(iv) Industry from such daily necessaries as wood and rubber to

luxury items as perfumes and liqueurs, are products or derivatives
of wild species.
Only about one per cent of the worlds species has been propely
studied for its potential value to human in medicines, food and
Millions of the unexplored species are facing extinction due to
human activities. Remedies for incurable diseases, crops for the
future and industrial products wait to be discovered and are
destroyed without even being named.

(3) Enhances evolution maintenance of gene pool diversity allow more

raw materials for natural selection to act upon.

HKALE 1996 Biology Paper I
11. (a) Levels of diatoms are low in January (and February) (), then the density
of diatoms rises to a peak in April (). Its level then drops towards July /
August (). It rises to another peak in September () and drops towards
October () and maintained at low levels in December ()
( max. 2)

(Bonus : The peak in September is smaller than that in April ())

(possible max 3)
(b) area A area B
no seasonal fluctuation in () Seasonal fluctuation () density reaching
dinoflagellate density peaks in April and September ()
low level () of dinoflagellate throughout a higher level than in A () 2
the year

(c) (i) April () and September ()


(ii) dinoflagellates

The pattern of change in toxin level follows s that of dinoflagellates
density fluctuation () but not that of diatoms in both areas ().
OR In both area A and B, the pattern of change in toxin level follows
that of dinoflagellate density fluctuation (1)

Oysters feed on dinoflagellates () which may contain the toxin ()


( 2)
(d) (i) Area B ()
dinoflagellates ().
Dinoflagellates occur in high density (). In the day time, their
photosynthetic rate far exceeds their respiration rate (1) there is a
net liberation of O2
At night, photosynthesis stops but respiration continues (1), using up a
lot of O2 ().

(ii) At night (), oxygen drops to much below normal level (), resulting
in the death () of aquatic organisms.

(e) Area A is a better site. ()

Advantage ( any one ) Disadvantage

very low density of dinoflagellates () hence density of phytoplankton is low () /
consumers will have no risk of getting toxin food for oyster is less, so low yield
from eating oyster () of oyster () limit growth of oyster.
no mortality risk due to O2 depletion at night- (2)
time. (1)

(Total : 17 marks)
HKALE 1996 Biology Paper II
7. Ecological roles of microbes in nature - important in maintaining ecological
balance, energy flow and nutrient cycling through the food chain, and, nutrient
recycling in the ecosystem.

(a) As producers - autotrophic microbes - chemosyntheue bacteria and

photosynthetic microscopic algae build up organic matter using either
light or chemical energy and CO2. They form the base of food chains
providing food and energy source to those that feed on them. Brief
description of chemoautotrophs : e.g. iron / colourless sulphur / nitrifying
bacteria and photoautotrophs. Since they assimilate CO 2 from the
environment, they play an important role in the carbon cycle. Nitrifying
bacteria change ammonia to nitrite, and nitrite to nitrate which enrich the
soil with available nitrogen for the plants.

Energy is continually lost to the environment, the producers serve to

capture light / chemical energy and route them through the food chain to
sustain all life forms in the ecosystem.

(b) As consumers - heterotrophic microbes

(1) Saprophytes - organic matter decomposition and nutrient recycling,

saprophytic fungi and bacteria.
Biodegradation of organic matter and excretory products of
plants and animals results in the natural purification
processes of water bodies and the transformation of organic
matter into a pool of nutrients for the producers, they play a
very important role in nutrient recycling.
Basic of the carbon and nitrogen cycles, a brief description of
the roles of the different microbes in the N-cycle and C-cycle.

(2) Mutualistic relationship - In mutuallic relationship, microbial

symbionts assist with the prrovision of nutrition, e.g. bacteria in
ruminants, flagellate protozoa in termite / insect gut, lichen,
bacteria in root nodules of legumes, mycorrhizae associations in
roots of flowering plants.
(3) Parasites - microbes as pathogens help to check population size in
nature, examples of diseases caused by microbes and their
max. 5
Exploitation of ecological roles of microbes by mankind : beneficial and
harmful consequences
(At least 1 harmful consequence must be mentioned to earn full mark in this

(a) Utilisation of beneficial autotrophic and decomposer roles of micro-

organisms in sewage treatment, pollution prevention, pollution treatment
and recycling.

Sewage treatment provides a facility where the high concentration

of microflora can handle the large volumes of waste.

Biodegradation allows for mineralisation of organic components of

sewage so that discharge will not upset the biological equilibrium
of natural bodies of water.

Use of bacteria to clear oil spill in beaches / oceans and effluents

from silver and copper mines (autotrophic role), bacteria can either
degrade the oil or render the metal effluents harmless.
Waste recycling : Breakdown of farm manure to compost for use in
fertilizing agricultural land.

(b) Utilisation of parasite roles for

(1) Biological control pests.

Biological control utilises the ability of micro-organisms which are

natural enemies to control insects which damage plant crops or are
vectors of disease. These have the advantage of being specific for
a particular species and harmless to others. Both bacteria and
viruses can be deployed to control insects crop pests. This is
preferable to DDT which can be harmful to the environment as it
accumulates in the fool chain.

However this may upset ecological balance in nature.

(2) Biological warfare - Utilization of microbes in biological warfare, this is unethical and cruel.
(3) Utilization of infectious role of bacteria and virus for gene transfer
to plants and animals, e.g. gene therapy, transgeneic plants and
animals. (Note : if just mention recombinant DNA technology is

Uncontrolled use of genetic engineering techniques - production of undesirable

traits which when released to the natural environment may bring undesirable
and unpredictable effects. (H)

(c) Utilisation of the saprophytic role of microbes to transform organic

matter to :

(1) Produce food and preserve food - e.g. beer, wine, cheese, vinegar
production, any examples, the following are for marker's
references :

Organism Substrate Process Product

Yeast Grape juice Fermentation Wine
Yeast Moistened flour Fermentation Bread
*Lactic acid, Milk Fermentation Cheese, Yoghurt
Acetic acid, Wine Oxidation of Vinegar
bacteria alcohol to acetic

*Lactic acid bacteria create low pH (i.e. acidic conditions) that inhibit growth of other
spoilage organisms and, hence, help to prevent deterioration of the milk product. No
harmful consequence.
HKALE 1996 Biology Paper II
8. Causes and effects of marine pollution in H.K.

(a) Huge amount of organic nutrient being discharged into the sea which
exceeds the natural renewal capacity of our sea water.

Domestic sewage, either not treated or undergoes only preliminary

treatment, high population density aggravates the situation.

Livestock wastes discharged into river / stream then to the sea,

this has no or very little treatment.


(i) eutrophication Organic nutrients result in algal /

phytoplankton bloom, high density of
phytoplanktons / algae leads to anoxia
condition of sea water at night causing fish
kills and mass mortality of sessile organisms,
this upsets community structure and balance
in the marine ecosystem.

High density of certain phytoplanktons lead

to red-tide, these organisms contain a toxin
which cause skin and eye irritation to
swimmers, this renders the beaches
unavailable for leisure / recreation / sports.

Other phytoplanktons contain toxins which

can accumulate in the food web, (e.g.
bivalves feed on these phytoplanktons)
causing humans to suffer from shellfish
poisoning or other marine organisms to die
(e.g. kill fish stocks)

(ii) high organic level results in high population of faecal bacteria in

the sea water which produce 2 effects :
direct effect cause ear, eye throat infection to swimmers.

indirect effect cause intestinal disorders to humans as they

consume improperly cooked bivalves /
detritus feeders which accumulate these
bacteria through feeding.

(b) Solid waste due to indiscriminate dumping of rubbish / litter to the sea
by man, blowing of rubbish by wind onto the sea.

Effects : makes the surface of the sea unsightly (visual pollution)

reduces the quality of beach water for swimmers
affects marine life (e.g. plastic bags are mistaken for
jelly fish by turtles, results in death of turtles, plastic
rings of beer cans when become trapped on fish causes
deformed growth.)

(c) (1) Industrial effluents which may or may not be treated before
discharge to the sea

Effects : may contain heavy metals which are toxic to

marine life, or these heavy metals may pass up
the food chain becoming a potential hazard to
human life.

(2) Utilization of recombinant DNA technology to produce bio-

pharmaceutical products e.g. insulin, vitamins, enzymes.

Consequence : improves health but

Might increase the adaptation of microbes to develop more resistant strains (H)

Micro-organisms synthesise and excrete compounds which are

selectively toxic to other organisms. The chemicals are antibiotics
and can be used to cure infectious diseases, e.g. penicillin.

Microbial enzymes can be extracted for use in medicine and

industry, e.g. invertase from yeast.
(d) Utilization of saprophytic role of microbes to provide alternative energy
source. Large quantities of animal waste can undergo anaerobic
digestion in digesters. This serves to reduce the bulk of the waste while
producing fuels (methane and ethanol). The remaining sludge and liquid
effluent, being stabilised, can be used as a fertiliser in crop fields.
max. 8

Contents : 15 marks
HKALE 1996 Biology Paper II
9. Biological importance of HK countryside

(1) Habitat and sanctuary for wildlife.

(a) Diversity of ecosystems

The countryside is made up of a diversity of ecosystems ranging

from upland grasslands, conifer plantations, broad-leaved
woodlands, abandoned fields blending with lowland aquatic
ecosystems such as seedbeds, freshwater wetlands and marshes.
This diversity of ecosystems provides for a diversity of habitats.

(b) Diversity of habitats, hence, a diversity of life

(i) Since many different types of habitats are available, this

support a wide variety of wildlife. The essential provisions for
survival : food, shelter / coves, water and breeding sites exist
in different forms in the habitat.

(ii) Ecotones / "edge effects"

In addition, this wide diversity of wildlife is enhanced by

integrating of ecosystems / plant communities leading to the
formation of ecotones / "edge effects", i.e., the requirements
of any single species (for food, coves, shelter, water and
breeding sites) are seldom found in any one single
ecosystem or plant community. An animal often has to rely on
one or more ecosystems or plant communities. The region
where different ecosystems or plant communities meet is
called an ecotones edge effect. The greater the diversity of
ectones or edge effects, the grater the diversity if animal

Example 1. Herons / Egrets breed in woodland trees on

hillocks or islands but utilise the margins of
lowland creeks, abandoned paddy land and
the margins of fishponds for feeding.
Example 2. Cormorants roost in large trees in the Mai Po
area but fly out to the mudflats and Deep Bay
shoreline to feed at dawn and dusk.

The mosaic and blending of plant communities in the

countryside allows for a high degree of eotones / "edge
effect", hence, this contributes to a high diversity of wildlife.
max. 6

Uniqueness of ecosystem or habitat :

Some of the ecosystems in the HK countryside are biologically

unique in that they occur as the only representative type in Hong

e.g. (a) Gei wais can only be found at Mai Po

(b) Barrage ponds at Lai Chi Wo or Shum Chung.
(c) Reed beds at Mai Po and Luk Keng.
(d) Fung Shui woodlands

Some habitats / ecosystems in the HK countryside are important

because they represent significant remnants of what were
previously extensive area of similar habitats in the surrounding
max. 3

(d) Dredging of sea bed (reclamation activities) result in increase of

suspended solids loading of sea water

Effects Clogging of gills of fish, or causes fish to move

away, result in loss in loss of fish stock for
Smothering of sessile organisms, e.g. corals as
the suspended particles redeposit
Cuts off light for photosynthesis, this affects the
producers and upset ecological balance in the sea

Alleviation measures (accept alternatives which are true)

The government has legislated laws and penalty for offenders.(1)

(a) To reduce organic loading from sewage effluents

A system of sewage pipes is being installed to channel

sewage effluent from the urban areas of Kowloon and Hong
Kong to a sewage treatment plant at Stonecutters Island for
enhanced chemical primary treatment.

(b) Livestock wastes either have to be installed to before

discharge into rivers and streams

For farms which cannot afford treatment facilities, the

government has a livestock waste collection system and the
waste is converted to compost for re-use in agriculture.

(c) Litter floating on the sea - In the Harbour areas, there are boats
which collect litter from the sea.

At gazetted beaches, workers from the Regional Services

and Urban Services Dept. provide a litter collection service.

At non-gazetted areas, litter just accumulates

(d) For the increased suspended solids in sea water, there is no

practical way to minimlze the problem

(e) For industrial effluents and wastes, these are now collected and
taken to the Chemical Treatment plant at Tsing Yi for neutralization
or recycling.

(f) To minimize resuspension of contaminated sediments, government

specifies that whenever possible, the contaminated mud are
covered / overlain with the reclaimed material so that it is becomes
covered with non-contaminated marine sands, If contaminated
sediments have to be removed, then this is taken to a
contaminated sediment dumping site to the east of Sha Chau
where it is placed in trenches and covered with clean marine sand
or mud so that it does not come into contact with the water,
(g) Organic loading of the seabed will slowly remedy itself if the
organic pollution of the overlying water is prevented / stopped.

(h) Tribyltin (TBT) is banned in many countries because of its imposex

effects on marine snails. This has not yet been done in Hong
max. 5
Contents : 15 marks
Example: Mai Po is a classic example. It has a wide composition of
wetland and wetland associated habitats. It acts as a wintering
ground and stop-over point for migrating birds on the East Asian
flyway. Thus, it provides a safe haven when many similar habitats
are rapidly disappearing due to the pressures of infrastructure and
urban development in the surrounding region.

(2) Maintenance of integrity of the land.

In any ecosystem, the integrity of the land and its value to wildlife is
based upon plants by the following methods :

(i) control of soil erosion

(ii) participate in the water recycling system, regulate water flow and
(iii) contribute to the fertility of the soil through organic decomposition
(iv) aid in the recycling and production of oxygen for the maintenance
of life.
(v) provide food, cover and shelter wildlife

Benefits of Hong Kong countryside to the people

The countryside helps to maintain air quality, plants remove CO 2 and

produce O2.
Regulates water supply and preserve the quality of water that people
Prevents soil erosion and the silting of reservoirs so that water can be
stored for human consumption.

(a) For rural inhabitant :

(i) Provides natural resources

Many traditional needs of the villagers are dependant on the

products of the countryside.

e.g. Firewood for cooking

Water from streams and wells for drinking
andhousehold chores
Cosmetics : The glutinous fluid obtained by soaking this
pieces of pond spice in water was used as a "hair gel".
Brushwood from Baeckia frutescens as brooms.
Medicines / treatment of illness : there are a wide
variety of plants in the HK countryside that are utilised
in herbal remedies and traditional Chinese medicine.
Provision of food : various parts of plants (fruits, flowers,
leaves, tubers) are harvested for food.
max. 3

(ii) Provides economic benefits to countryfolk by provision of products

for sale :

e.g. Harvesting of fruits and plants for sale in markets

Collection of wild ginger flower for the floral trade
Collection of the leaves of "Yau Kam Chi" for use as
Provision of grazing land for their cattle, which are
subsequently sold for slaughter.

(b) For townsfolk, the countryside serves many functions :

(i) leisure opportunities

the serene surroundings attract "morning walkers" who take

in the fresh air and exercise in the morning before work.
More rigorous informal or organised recreational activities
such as trailwalking / back-packing and camping needs the

(ii) aesthetic enjoyment

The natural features, landscape and spectacular scenery provide a
sense of enjoyment & contentment for many people who go to the
countryside simply to appreciate nature.

(iii) social benefits : The countryside provides for family outings.

Such activities provides for "sharing" and
enhances family bonds and ties.

(iv) opportunities for nature education the whole countryside provides

for the study of nature and life.

(v) opportunities for cultural education

the cultural and historical heritage of Hong Kong are found in
the land use patterns, villages, archaeological monuments
and cultural artefacts that are abundant in the countryside.

The foundation and fabric of life for HK people in many subtle ways is
therefore interwoven or linked with our countryside.
max . 3
max . 15
Contents : 15 marks
HKALE 1996 Biology Paper II
10. (a) What is an endangered species ?

A species whose natural population is at such low levels that it is in

immediate danger of extinction from a variety of causes.

(b) Causes for endangered status (max. 2 marks on each well written
cause with examples)

The endangered status of a species results from a variety of causes.

1. Commercial exploitation / overharvesting and trading-whether legal or illegal.

This often causes populations to decline to very low levels.

e.g. tiger parts as an exotic food item whales for the use of
their body parts in various manufacturing processes and
whale meat as food

elephants for their ivory

turtles for their shells

2. Indiscriminate hunting / harvest or collection decimates many

wildlife populations, e.g., hunting for sport results in
dwindling of leopards and cheetahs, hunting of bats in Asia
which are pollinators of fruit and tropical plants results in
dwindling of fruit plants.

3. Habitat deterioration / destruction / loss or alteration of land

for economic development results in clearance of land.

(i) Expansion of both urban areas for residential housing or

other infrastructure development such as highway
construction or for agriculture means clearance of
countryside or wilderness areas at the expense of
natural habitats and wild populations.

e.g. Golf course and residential development at Sha Lo

Tung will destroy Hong Kong's best dragonfly

e.g. Bulldozing of Chek Lap Kok for the new airport

would have destroyed one of only three then
known populations of Romer's Tree Frog, had it
not been rescued.

e.g. The Chinese White Dolphin is no longer found in

Deep Bay because of development along the
Pearl River Delta shoreline. Now, the main area in
which dolphins are found, around Sha Chau is to
be used for construction of fuel holding facilities of
the new airport. with many other developments in
areas adjacent to Sha Chau, the dolphins are
subjected to unprecedented amounts of long term

(ii) Pollution acid rain destroys forest

greenhouse effect - global warming,
flooding, kills coastal vegetation, alter
climate of high altitude and latitudes
animals and plants in fresh water
streams and rivers are vulnerable to
chemical discharges and spills from
waste treatment plants and factories.

(iii) Natural disasters - destroy or modify habitats

(iv) Mismanagement by man - e.g. In pest control programs;

in the 1960's many raptors in the USA declined to
endangered levels because of the over-use of DDT.

4. Predation by feral / abandoned animals. Plants on islands are

especially vulnerable to gazing by introduced domestic
animals such as goats.

5. Competition from introduced exotics / obnoxious weeds

which outcompete the native species for food and space.
e.g. In Hong Kong, Kudzu vine (Pueraria lobata) is very
invasive, competing for space and almost always smothers
other vegetation in its vicinity, often killing it.

6. Intrinsic causes. Certain species posses biological traits

which render them vulnerable to extinction. These organisms
live within a narrow range of tolerance and are "specialists" in
their mode of life. e.g. species found on islands have a
restricted range or distinct habitat. They have narrow
tolerance limits to changes in environmental conditions. This
makes them vulnerable to extinction. Some species have a
restricted diet, e.g., pandas survive on certain types of
bamboo and if these die, pandas will be wiped out.
max. 8

(c) Individual's contribution to protect and preserve "Endangered species" .

(1 mark for each acceptable idea, alternative answers suggested by
students other than those listed below should be considered)

Don'ts - for animals

1. Do not buy items such as ivory products, leopard pelts or tiger skins.

2. Do not indulge in banquets / meals for exotic game dishes.

e.g. , Pangolin, bear paw, pheasant.

3. Do not indulge in keeping exotic / endangered animals as pets.

e.g., falcons, hawks, owls and leopard cats.

4. Do not engage in hunting for sport, especially endangered animals.

e.g., Tibetan antelope, Argali sheep.
max. 3

Don'ts for plants

1. Do not damage, uproot, pick or collect specimens of plants

when out for walks or rambles in the countryside.
e.g. camellias, magnolias, azaleas and rhodelias.

2. Do not buy endangered plants for indoor or gardening purposes.

e.g., wild slipper orchids. max. 3
HKALE 1997 Biology Paper I
3. In the pyramid of energy, there is a progressive decrease in energy flowing
through successive trophic levels up a food chain (). This is due to a net loss
of energy to the environment () as a result of processes such as (any two
mark each) respiration / heat loss / dead body / incomplete eating / excreta.
Inverted pyramids of biomass can result when the turnover rate of producers
is fast compared to the consumers (1), thus at any time the standing biomass
of the producer can be smaller () to sustain a larger biomass of consumers
(). (4)
Q3 = 4 marks
HKALE 1997 Biology Paper II
5. Atmospheric nitrogen in air enters by diffusion or gaseous exchange and
leaves the bodies of most organisms without biotransformation. Yet nitrogen
can enter into the living system by the following process : (Deduct 1 mark for
answers in 'points' or 'note' form)

(a) Passage of nitrogen into legumes from N2

(1) Nitrogen fixation () : nitrogen to ammonia () .

biological nitrogen fixation of nitrogen in soil air by free living
bacteria / microorganism / blue green algae in the soil () and
mutualistic bacteria in the root nodules of legumes (1). Ammonium
compounds in root nodules can be used by legumes to form plant
protein () .
lightning / electrical discharge to fix atmospheric nitrogen ()

(2) Nitrification () : by bacteria, oxidation of ammonia or ammonium

compounds in soil into nitrite () , nitrite into nitrate ()

(3) Absorption () : nitrate absorption into root hairs of a legume by diffusion

() and active uptake ()
(b) Uptake and processing of organic nitrogen by herbivorous
mammal from legumes
Feeding along a food chain, organic nitrogen in legume is taken in as
food by a herbivorous mammal () and become transformed into various
biomolecules before excretion

(1) Mastication - In the oral cavity, mechanical breakdown of food by

teeth into small pieces () before entry to the stomach and
duodenum () for digestion by protease / pepsin / protein-digesting
enzyme () into amino acids / peptides () .

(2) Absorption in the ileum / small intestine () - by active uptake ()

and diffusion () into the blood stream.

(3) In the liver (), amino acids may be converted into glucose,
glycogen and fat (). Some amino acids will be deaminated () to
form ammonia which will eventually form urea () an be released
into the blood stream. Most of the urea will be excreted via the
kidney ().
(c) Return of nitrogen to the air

(1) Dead bodies / excreta ( ): nitrogenous molecules are decomposed

and turned into ammonium compounds () by bacteria /
saprophytes / putrefying organisms / decomposers ().

(2) Nitrification of ammonium compounds to nitrites () then to nitrates

() by nitrifying bacteria ().

(3) Denitrificaiton into gaseous nitrogen by denitrifying bacteria from

nitrates (1).

(*The 1 marks to be given once only.)


(d) Utilization of nitrogenous compounds by legumes and mammals :

(1) From amino acids to proteins / peptides ( )

Types of proteins ( ) x 3 Two examples (any 2 for each type,
each, max. 3)
Structural proteins actin, myosin etc.
Functional proteins enzymes, hormones, haemoglobin etc.
Defence molecule sin mammals antibodies, lysozyme etc.
(2) From amino acids to other organic compounds : DNA, RNA,
chlorophyll, ATP etc.
(any two examples, ( ) each. If answer is nucleic acids, only)
(3) Transamination ( ) : to 3C, 4C and 5C compounds and
metabolized to liberate energy ( )
(Alternative answers which are correct should also be awarded marks.)
(max. : 20 marks)
(Possible max. : 22)
HKALE 1997 Biology Paper II
7. A human parasite can be a bacterium, protozoa, sporozoan, fungus, virus,
platyhelminthes and insect. These diverse organisms show different routes of
infection producing different effects on man.
max 13
(1 - 3 marks / example. Examples must be of different types of parasites
according to taxonomic group. Mark to be given on group name mode of
transmission and effect. The mode of transmission must match with the
disease quoted.)

(a) Modes of infection of different parasite Effects on host

(1) insect e.g. flea on hair, Itching
by contact

(2) fungus on skin peeling of skin, itching, detectable external skin

(e.g. Athletes foot) by contact appearance.

(3) bacterium (e.g. causing cholera) toxin from the bacterium causes diarrhea,
by taking contaminated water and leading to dehydration and possibly death.
(4) platyhelminthes (e.g. tapeworm) adult attaches to the intestine causing
by taking in meat containing the abdominal pain and nutrient depletion.

(5) virus (e.g. HIV / human immuno-deficiency virus particles infect T-lymphocytes causing their
virus) lysis, decrease immunity of the human body to
by blood/body fluid contact/sexual infection , no cure, therefore lethal.

(6) Sporozoan / Protozoa (e.g. Plasmodium causes lysis of the red blood cells, host will
causing malaria) experience periodic fever and chill, damages
by female Anopheles mosquito liver cells because reproduce inside liver cells.
carrying the sporozoa sucking blood
of the host.

(b) Preventive measures at a personal level with biological rationale (1

mark each)
max. 6
(1) Good personal hygiene (e.g. regular hair washing), keep
ectoparasites to a low level.
(2) Disinfect / cover wounds seal entrance to endoparasites.
(3) Cook food and treat water properly, will kill / slow down activity of
(4) Good sanitation - keep environment clean, cover garbage, rid of
stagnant and dirty water, help to eliminate breeding places of
parasite, vectors and secondary hosts. 1
(5) Healthy life style (optimistic attitude, persistent exercise, balanced
diet etc.) - ensures a good specific immune defence system
against parasites.
(6) Safe sex for prevention of sexual disease, prevent / reduce
transmission through semen / body fluid.
(7) Vaccination and immunity.
(8) Food preservation.
(For both parts(a) and (b), markers to accept correct alternatives. In
case of doubt, must consult the chief examiner in charge of the section.)
Contents : max 15
HKALE 1997 Biology Paper II
8. (a) Biological significance of tree planting in the rural areas

(1) Provision of habitat

As trees grow, they contribute to habitat formation.
Planting a mixture of tree species provides layering effect in a
forest, this provides shelter, breeding ground and niches for
various terrestrial organisms. (e.g. Tai Po Kau Forest, built by
afforestation over many years is the breeding area for birds)
(Restoration of habitat after hill fire.)
max. 2

(2) Provision of food supply for wildlife

Trees are the basis of primary productivity, they provide a source
of food and contribute as a member of the food web. Planting of
trees can be geared towards enhancing different groups of animals
upon which they depend their food supply:
max. 2

(e.g. As bird food : Celtis sinensis

Schflera octophylla
(e.g. As insect food : Mallotus paninculata)

(3) Soil enrichment and erosion control

leaf litter (especially from deciduous species) enriches soil
nutrients after being acted on by decomposers, this in turn
promotes growth of trees and other plant species;
formation of humus, activities of decomposers and soil
invertebrates improved soil texture (this is important to HK,
due to the nature of parent rock, weathering and previous
forest clearance, soils of H.K. has a poor texture).
the roots of trees bind soil particles together thus prevent soil
erosion. This is particularly important for dry and sandy soil.
Trees to be planted for this purpose must be resistant to
drought and have proliferous lateral root growth. (e.g.
Tristania conferta and Eucalyptus torrelliana.)
trees planted near reservoir and catchment areas serve the
purpose of erosion control and prevent silt accumulation in
the reservoirs. Such trees need to be able to withstand
waterlogged conditions. (e.g. Salix sp.)
max. 3

(4) Water conservation

Tree help to conserve water and recycle it to the air by
transpiration. Different forms of trees have different rainfall
interception abilities. At reservoirs / catchment areas, hardwood
species of low interception ability are planted to allow more water
to be collected by the reservoirs.

(5) Provision of oxygen and removal of CO2

Photosynthetic activities of trees replenishes oxygen supply in the
air upon which all life depends and remove CO2
(b) Biological significance of tree planting in the urban areas

Comprised of trees in vacant sites, roadside, parks and "green belts".

(1) Trees in urban areas primarily enhances urban comfort through

moderation of abiotic
environment in which man lives:
(a) Shading effect
lower ambient temperature, increases comfort as
compared to open areas.
reduce albedo / light glare, thus minimises eye strain or
(b) Screening effect
dust screen, thus reduce dust
noise reduction

(c) Color, fragrance and forms of trees enhances the aesthetic

and pleasantness of urban life.

(d) Bird's songs make people feel pleasant.

(2) Provision of habitat for wildlife

Squirrels, butterflies, birds and ubiquitous insects are adapted to
wooded urban environments. Planting trees as belts serves as
corridors linking patches of woodland in the urban fringes to
facilitate wildlife to travel to and from urban centres.
Contents : max 15
(Deduct 1 mark if answers do not show separate discussion on
urban and rural tree planting.)

HKALE 1997 Biology Paper II

9. (a) At least 4 methods (2 marks each) with critical comments to gain

max mark.
Critical Comments
Method of Preservation Advantage Drawbacks
(max. 1 mark for each method) (max. 1 mark for each method)

1. High temperature safest and most reliable, kills all destroys heat labile vitamins,
vegetative cells and some spores cannot kill heat resistant spores,
alters texture and flavour of food

(i) pasteurization kills bacteria that cause cannot kill other bacteria, therefore
(high temperature tuberculosis milk goes bad easily
for a short time,
for milk and

(ii) sterilization (very kills all spores, best alters texture and flavour of food
high temperature
e.g. canning

2. Low temperature / retards growth and activity of cannot kill spores, forms ice
refrigeration / freezing micro-organisms, convenient and crystals inside cells, alters food
easy texture

3. Dehydration in sun / air slow down microbial activity as alters texture of food
/ apply heat water is withdrawn / decreased
4. osmotic means - inhibit microbial growth by alters natural flavour
immerse in decreasing water content in food
concentrated salt /
sugar solutions
5. Chemicals inhibits microbial growth (e.g. can be mutagenic, changes texture
benzoic acid) and flavour of food
provides unfavourable pH to
bacteria, e.g. acetic, citric and
phosphoric acids
6. Radiation
(i) U-V kills microorganisms at surface cannot kill microorganism deep
inside food

(ii) ionizing radiation kills microorganisms at room uncertain of its side effects on food
e.g. gamma temperature due to high
penetration power
(b) Recent concerns : 3 cases (2 marks / case + 1 bonus mark for good
marks to be given on :
max. 7
description of incident (), causative agent (), place where incident
occurred ()
correct biological rationale for such outbreak and effect ( for each
point, max. 1)
preventive measures ( for each point, max. 1)

e.g. (1) Food poisoning in Japan due to E. coli contamination -

unsanitary food handling, E. coli is natural fauna in meat, cold
storage favours their growth, cause severe diarrhea leading
to death of victim. Prevention : reduce human handling and
improve hygienic condition. Propaganda and education.

(2) Mad cow disease in U.K. - contamination due to prion,

causes damage to nervous tissue. Prevention : kill infected
cattle but costly.

(3) Poison vegetable in H.K. - addition of insecticides / herbicides

close to harvest, these chemicals stay on the foliage, if not
thoroughly washed, will poison the individual. Prevention :
immerse vegetable in water, wash off herbicides before
eating. Propaganda and education.

(4) Shellfish poisoning in H.K. - concentration of algae

(dinoflagellates) that produce toxin by filter-feeders such as
oyster and clams from polluted water with a high level organic
sewage. Prevention : pollution reduction programme,
immerse shell-fish in water before cooking to allow sufficient
time for its filtering mechanism to clear the toxin.

Markers to accept correct alternatives, in case of doubt, please seek advice from
the chief Examiner of the Section.

Contents : max. 15
HKALE 1997 Biology Paper II
10. (a) Functions of coastal conservation area (Marine Parks) in Hong
Kong (1 mark each)
max. 9
(1) Conservation of marine communities against threats of
destruction or degradation due to :
pollution industrial
malpractices in fishing e.g. dynamite fishing
reclamation activities, dredging etc.

(2) Some coastal areas are the natural habitats of threatened /

endangered / rare marine species or rare communities (e.g.
Chinese white Dolphin, coral communities, seagrass beds), their
conservation allows these species / communities to continue to
survive without extinction. e.g. the N.W. waters off Lung Kwu Chau
is a nursery ground for Chinese White Dolphins.
(3) Maintain natural ecological web / system.
(4) Base for environmental protection / testify conservation principles
(5) Some coastal areas are rich in food supply and are the nursery
grounds, breeding / spawning grounds of either threatened /
endangered species or nonthreatened species, their conservation
means the juveniles of these species can flourish in an undisturbed
condition with plenty of food to a mature stage for successful
production of offspring / for completion of life cycle.
(6) If there are more juveniles, some may outflow / leave the
conservation area and grow to adults. This ensures a continuous
supply of food for the people of Hong Kong.
(7) Keep up the livelihood of fisherman as harvest will sustain.
(8) Education and scientific research, unspoiled coastal areas provide
opportunities for research and inculcation of nature education.
(9) Tourism - education tours for the general public promotes
appreciation of nature and wildlife.
(10) Recreational e.g. diving
(11) Provision of job ( mark each)
(12) Generate funds for conservation activities.
(b) Criteria for considering a suitable site for a coastal conservation area : (
mark each)
max. 6
(1) Pristine, relatively unspoiled areas, free or remote from domestic /
industrial outfall.
(2) Good water quality / unpolluted water thus can sustain balanced
marine community.
(3) Areas of outstanding natural beauty / landscape, value for
enjoyment by public.
(4) Diversity of : a. landforms, b. marine habitats, c. marine
(5) Presence of endangered, rare of threatened species or
(6) Free from fisherman intervention.
(7) Sheltered from natural forces such as strong wind or wave.
(8) Near to monitoring station.
(9) Far from busy sea traffic.
(10) Accessible though remote.
(11) Technically financially feasible.
Contents : max. 15
HKALE 1998 Biology Paper I
8. (a) Y is root nodule ()
mutualistic () / *symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria()

(b) *mutualistic / symbiotic association (), the bacteria can fix the N2
that diffuses from the soil air to ammonia (1), ammonia is changed
to nitrogenous compound / amino acids () which are used by the
plant cells for protein synthesis (). N-fixation supplements the
nitrogen () for growth of the whole plant (). In return the bacteria
gain protection () and food () from the root cells.

HKALE 1998
1 998 Biology Paper II
7. Definition of Agriculture : Growing of plants and animals for food and material products,
involves manipulation of natural processes and food chain to improve quality and increase yield.
Agricultural methods based on biological principles
[at least 5 different methods and principles to get the max.15 marks for
contents; for each, a max. of 3 marks i.e. method and principle 1 mark,
benefit(s) 1 mark and drawback(s) 1 mark;
to get the 1 mark under benefit(s), at least two benefits if briefly mentioned or
one benefit in detail; same for the 1 mark under drawback(s); if all methods/
principles mentioned are applied only to animals, deduct 1 mark from the
style; same for plant methods / principles; deduct only when the essay has
the max. 15 marks for contents;
for minor agricultural practices such as, monoculture, ploughing, burning,
liming, irrigation, a max. of 1 mark should be given; others like crop rotation, a
max. of 2 marks]

(a) Selective breeding at organism level :

Hybridization or crossing of individuals / breeding
Principle :
work on gene action to develop adaptive characteristics
Methods :
Plants : self-pollination to produce homozygous varieties or production of polyploid
Animals : artificial insemination
Benefits :
to develop adaptive and more desirable characteristics, to increase vigour
Drawbacks :
usually limited to intraspecific crosses, available genes for transfer
will be limited by the gene pool of the species
time taken to the development and selection of pure variety is long
( usually 7-9 generations)
polyploid results in low fertility or sterility

(b) Selective breeding at cellular / tissue level :

Principle :
Work on gene action to develop adaptive characteristics
Methods :
Cell fusion, cloning, culture of tissue, use tissues / cells / nucleus as
vehicles for transferring genes within / between species
Benefits :
allow for interspecific hybridization
time taken to achieve results is short
Drawbacks :
High cost and research development are needed, successful results
cannot be guaranteed

(c) Selective breeding at molecular level : molecular biotechnology

Principle :
Manipulation of DNA at gene level
Methods :
Genes can be isolated and synthesized for transfer to different organisms
Benefits :
Can potentially be used to solve problems that cannot be tackled by the
conventional techniques
Drawbacks :
High cost and research development are needed, successful results
cannot be guaranteed

(d) Fertilizer application (plants)

Principle :
To supplement / enrich soil nutrients to increase yield, requires
knowledge of specific nutrient requirements of the plants
Methods :
Spraying, dusting etc.
Benefits :
Quick and easily absorbed for inorganic fertilizers, broad spectrum of
nutrients provided. For organic fertilizers : not easily leached
Drawbacks :
Disadvantages of organic and inorganic fertilizers
organic fertilizers may carry parasites / pathogens
inorganic fertilizer : surface run-off / if improperly applied, may lead
to eutrophication of nearby water bodies
use of inorganic fertilizers over a long time will change soil texture
and make soil acidic, this will suppress microbial activity in the soil
hence affects soil fertility

(e) Use of stock feed (animals)

Principle :
High protein feed to increase yield and improve quality
Method :
Can use treated animal carcases
Benefits :
Feeds can be specially designed to match the growth demands of the
livestock at various developmental stages
Drawback : Expensive, spread of disease, e.g. reason for the spreading
of madcow disease

(f) Growth promoter / modifiers

Principle :
Actions of plant / animal hormones to accelerate / control growth
Methods :
Spray, injection, feeding
Benefits :
easily applied
favourable characteristics can be well controlled
increase milk production, meat production in livestock
shorten the production cycle for poultry, etc.
production of seedless fruits, etc.
Drawbacks :
hormone treated products may cause health hazard to man
loss of natural flavour / texture from fast growing stocks

(g) Manipulation of growth environment

Principle :
Energy intake is geared for biomass production
Methods :
restrict / minimize movement of some poultry
greenhouse management of plant
Benefits :
Shorten growth time, increase production in small areas
Drawbacks :
against animal rights, animals kept in congested condition is cruel
and stressful to the animals
disease spread fast and can cause great loss in crowded place
costly to produce greenhouse plants

(h) Pest / disease and weed control

Principle :
To eliminate parasites, predators and competitors
Methods :
Use of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, antibiotics for animal, and
biological control; knowledge of biology needed in determining what
stage to spray insecticides coupled to stage of growth of plants for
maximum effects
Benefits :
reduce competition of non-crop plants
limit damage done by pest and eliminate disease
Drawbacks :
development of resistance
animal and plant product may contain residues of pesticides and
antibiotics if taken in by man, may affect health
biological control is slow and more costly
Contents : max. 15
HKALE 1998 Biology Paper II

8. (a) What are antibiotics

max. 2
Antibiotics are chemicals produced synthetically and / or naturally from
microorganism for their natural defence mechanism and / or survival
mechanism. Its primary action is to kill or eliminate competitors or other
microorganism (including bacteria and fungi, but not virus ) in the vicinity
for food. In so doing, the antibiotic-producing microorganism becomes
the dominant species in a particular environment.

Chemotherapy against infectious disease in man

(b) Action
(1) Inhibit cell wall synthesis
(2) Inhibit protein / nucleotide synthesis
(3) Injury to plasma membrane
(4) Interfere with nucleic acid replication and transcription
(5) Cause cell lysis

(c) Consequence of indiscriminate use

(1) The infectious bacteria will become resistant to the antibiotics in

Development of resistance :
Initially, the antibiotic can kill off the infectious bacteria in
controlling infection. However, if a resistant mutation occurs,
the mutated bacteria with resistance to antibiotics will
proliferate to replace the original non-mutated ones. As a
consequence, the resistant infectious bacteria will become
the dominant type within the bacteria population. In addition,
asexual mode of replication will further enhance the rapid
reproduction of bacteria with identical, favourable survival
characteristics, i.e. resistance.
max. 8
The two biological processes of mutation and selection are
needed for the development of resistance.

(2) Indiscriminate use of antibiotic may also rid of beneficial mutualistic

bacteria in the body / upset balance of microflora and microfauna
in the body.

(3) Heavy use of antibiotic in meat / dairy and poultry production may
result in the transfer of resistant bacteria to man through tainted

(4) Retention of resistant gene in the gene pool of microorganism has

a potential danger of allowing the transfer of their resistance to
other pathogens.

(5) Development of allergy certain antibiotics will lead to immune

response, such response may be lethal to certain individuals on
subsequent use of the same antibiotics

(6) Previously treatable infectious diseases will be without effective

drugs for treatment.

(7) Untreatable individuals harbouring the resistant antigen will spread

the antigens to others. This will eventually lead to epidemic of
infectious diseases and difficulty in providing effective medical
treatment. In addition, more intensive patient-care, elaborate and
prolong treatment procedures are needed which will increase
medical costs.

(8) Without effective treatment, productivity of the disease-stricken

people will be reduced.

(9) Development of the new antibiotics will also have to keep pace
with the mutation for resistance which will demand more resources
from society.
(N.B. parts (a) + (b) + (c) max. 11)

(d) Possible solutions (any two )

max. 4
(1) Proper use of antibiotics :
(a) Avoid the use of a single type of antibiotic in treating the
infectious disease of a population.
(b) Use narrow spectrum / specific antibiotic.
(c) For individuals, take the complete course of antibiotics
prescribed by doctors to avoid development of resistance.

(2) Development of new drugs based on different mechanism in killing

the infectious bacteria.

(3) In short term situation, implement effective measures to control the

spread of infectious bacteria and to eliminate the sources of
contamination / good hygene.

(4) For long term purpose, provide funding for research in the
understanding of disease mechanism and the development of new
and innovative treatment.

(5) If possible, explore and use alternative but effective treatment for
the same disease, such as, Chinese herbal medicine.
Contents : max. 15
HKALE 1998 Biology Paper II

9. (a) Fresh water supply

(1) Requirements / Uses of water by man
industry (25%)
agriculture (70%) crop irrigation, water for livestock
man's domestic use (5%), importance of water to man
Thus most usage is on producing food that man consumes. World
demand for fresh water triples about every 20 years due to
population increase, yet quantity of water remains the same.
Demand for fresh water is increasing for home use and is
becoming even more critical for food production.

(2) Utilizable water is limiting / Water as a finite resource

Uneven distribution of water :
97% sea and ocean
2% ice
1% freshwater in river, lakes and underground aquifers, this
component is most utilized by man.
(Accept 1 to 3% fresh water )
max. 3
(b) Types of water contamination due to various human activities

(1) industrial effluent discharge of toxic chemicals, e.g. PCBs; heat, dye, kill off
aquatic life, upset ecosystem
(2) domestic sewage increases its organic loading, pathogenic and parasitic
organisms, health hazard (e.g. diarrhoea, cholera etc.)
(3) agricultural sewage increases its organic and inorganic loading, fertilizers /
farmyard manure, insecticides / herbicides, toxicity affects life
(4) oil / chemical spillage accidents from shipping, vessels, oil tankers, pipelines
(5) suspended particles siltation from infrastructural development, and municipal
waste sedimentation from land erosion, floating garbage or
(6) emissions form acid rain which contaminates fresh water sources
(c) Consequences of water pollution
(1) unfit to drink transmission of disease
(2) increase nutrient loading of water eutrophication (e.g. red tide)
threatens aquatic life,
affect BOD / DO, affects
recreational use of water,
reduces yield of aquatic
(3) food chain hazard bioconcentration effect of toxic chemicals
through the aquatic food chain, threatens
man's health as man is a consumer, may
cause cancer, birth defects, impaired
immunity, lower human fertility
(4) increased sediment loading of water clogs gills of fish, blocks
light for
photosynthetic algae,
changes flow pattern
of rivers, may lead to
flooding of coastal
(5) affect tourism bad smell, rubbish in river / sea, affect scenery
(6) hazardous to aquatic life oil spills on sea surface form a cover on
birds' bodies, oil spills decrease light
penetration to aquatic flora
(N.B. Parts (b) and (c) must be related for each type &
consequence, 1 + 1 max. 10 marks)

(d) Measures to conserve water (cut down consumption) and minimise


(1) domestic level use low-flow shower heads max.1

use smaller size water bowls
(2) individual level close water tap max.1
shower rather than bath
(3) industrial level recycle water for cooling max.1
(4) agricultural level use treated sewage for irrigation of crops max.2
micro-irrigation / drip irrigation whereby
smaller amount of water is supplied directly to
plant roots through pipes buried along rows of
(5) government level user pays principle max.1
build sewage treatment system and recycle max.1
treated waste water (e.g. for flushing purpose
in households)
develop compact processing facilities for max.1
farmyard waste / manure and re-use as max.3
fertilizer for crop production
protect existing water resources such as max.1
rivers, streams, lakes and ponds by setting
rules and prosecute polluters
education in school or for general public max.1
monitor water quality max.1
Contents : max. 15





HKALE 1990 Biology Paper II

12. Ways employed to improve food supply

eating low on the food chain save energy loss during trophic transfer
improve genetic strain more productive varieties.
better pest control technology existing 1/3 or 1/2 of agricultural product is lost to pest.
better resource management and pollution control improve soil quality, determine
maximum sustainable yield, better use of fertilizers, better pollution control and
resources conservation.
better post-harvest technology e.g. at present 1/20 of fisheries produce is lost to
culture in addition to capture fish farming etc. would increase productivity significantly.
increase arable areas e.g. by reclamation, deforestation, contour farming etc.
biotechnological advancement e.g. SCP etc.

Current status of supply and demand

current supply & demand are largely unbalanced : surplus exist in some regions (e.g.
USA) while hunger in the others (e.g. Africa). A billion people suffer from starvation and
malnutrition at present.
although it has been predicted that food shortage will soon occur since human
population will grow exponentially, while food supply will not be able to match human
population growth. However, remarkable improvement in farming methods have
exponentially increases agricultural production, so that amount of food per person has
actually remained roughly constant or improved slightly in the last 200 years. Such trend
is likely to maintain in the for see able future.
the main problems of economics the insufficient buying power of under-developed
countries, rather than insufficient food production capacity in the world.
HKALE 1990 Biology Paper II

9. Advantages / disadvantages of greenhouse effects for plants

Advantages :
Greenhouse effect is a temperature rise
causes by increasing level of CO2 and other greenhouse gases such as methane, in the
this increase is caused by fossil fuel burning of man and deforestation (since industrial revolution)
thus increased temperature leads to greater metabolism of plants.
may lead to greater growth rates.
both on land and in warmer seas
faster growth leads to more use of CO2 and could bring a rebalance of CO2.
but CO2 production is far more greater than the use even under warmer conditions.
furthermore higher CO2 causing greenhouse effect will allow greater growth of
plant (beneficial up to 0.15%) only if not limited by water or nutrients + improved water
use efficiency as stomata can be fewer or open shorter time for same CO 2 uptake.
warmer air will lead to greater transpiration of plants leads to more humid
atmosphere which is also to the advantage of plants.
leads to more cloud cover which means perhaps less light for photosynthesis.
so could be advantages or disadvantages.

Disadvantages :
warming leads to melting of polar ice-caps.
so raises water levels giving less land surface for plant growth.
no disadvantage for algae and marginal plants.
higher could cover could reduce growth through light limitation
also more cloud poor conditions for insect pollinators less seed set and colonisation.
warmer conditions puts pressure on temperature plants broadleaves die
most rainforest is low lying river marginal so water level rising leads to inundation death.
removal of remaining rainforest reduces CO2 conversion still further so grreenhouse effect gets worse.
but by this time land surface reduced to 20% of present, mostly prime productive land.
so man has to stop production and return to caves !
so long before this mans production will cease, CO 2 will cease so CO2 will fall.
also greater sea plant growth may bring farming of marine algae / fresh water plants.
may benefit plant growth by selective breeding or disbenefit by over cropping.
HKALE 1989 Biology Paper II

11. (a) Agriculture in Hong Kong includes the production of vegetables, fruits,
flowers, staple and farming of pigs, chicken, pigeon, duck ant pond fish,
mostly in the New Territories.

(b) Most of the farms are small in size and are intensively cultivated and
managed. This includes plant selection, irrigation, application of
chemical fertilizers, weed and pest control.

(c) The local agricultural products only fulfill a small portion of the
requirement of the population. Most of the products are imported from

(d) The steady decline in agricultural production in recent years may be due to :

(i) scarcity of land available for agriculture - land is needed for

housing, commercial, industrial development and road
(ii) the cost of production is high and return is low compared with other
sectors of the economy
(iii) lack of investment and labour - many of the farmers have either
changed Job or moved to other countries
(iv) lack of government support and protection as in other countries
(v) cheaper to buy products from China, Taiwan or other Asian or
western countries - due to lower production cost, improved
methods of transportation and storage of fresh foods.
(vi) difficulty in removing agricultural wastes e.g. piggery and chicken
wastes, land wash containing pesticides, fertilizers and

(e) The problem Hong Kong faces today will be more acute in the - future.
More investment is needed for pollution control and waste disposal.

(f) Like Taiwan and Japan, Hong Kong should turn to the newer and more
innovative farming technology e.g. by hydroponics, improved. Strains
through genetic engineering, tissue culture etc. More government
support and private investment are essential. (20)