ACT science practice test 40

Directions: Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary.

You are NOT permitted to use a calculator on this test.

Over the past several decades, scientists have seen a rapid decline in honeybee populations worldwide. In an effort to boost population sizes, the European Union recently instituted a temporary two-year ban on neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides thought to be harmful to honeybees.

Two scientists present their viewpoints regarding the value of instituting a similar ban in the United States.

Scientist 1

A short-term ban on the class of pesticides called neonicotinoids is a viable option that should seriously be considered by the United States. Studies have found neonicotinoid concentrations in pollen and nectar that can be lethal to pollinators. Although research has not identified a direct link between neonicotinoids and a reduction in honeybee populations, recent studies suggest that these pesticides may increase honeybees' susceptibility to parasites and diseases. The health of honeybee populations directly affects the agriculture industry and the overall ecosystem. Twenty-three percent of crops grown in the United States are pollinated by honeybees. Some crops, such as almonds, apples, onions, and carrots, are pollinated almost exclusively by honeybees. The reproductive rates of these crops vary directly with the availability of honeybees. Many of the plants that make up the base of the food web in the natural ecosystem also rely on these pollinators. Because the honeybee's role as pollinator is so pervasive, any measures that have the potential to support the health of honeybee populations should be taken.

Scientist 2

Honeybees are important pollinators for both natural ecosystems and the agriculture industry, and the health of their populations should be monitored closely. Instituting a ban on neonicotinoids, however, is unnecessary. Based on current research, the benefits of neonicotinoid use to the agriculture industry outweigh the threat to honeybee health. Though the exact causes are difficult to identify, researchers attribute the decrease in honeybee populations in recent years to weather, environmental stress, disease, and varroa mites. Environmental stressors include nectar and water that is scarce or of poor quality and exposure to pesticides, although researchers have found the latter to have the weakest correlation to honeybee loss of all stressors. Therefore, a ban on neonicotinoids will not be an effective approach for improving the health of honeybee populations. A more effective method should address varroa mites and disease, the greatest known threats to honeybee health.

1. According to the passage, neonicotinoids are a type of:

A. parasite.
B. pollinator.
C. pesticide.
D. pathogen.

2. According to Scientist 1, neonicotinoids:

A. have been directly linked to declines in honeybee populations.
B. affect honeybees by increasing their vulnerability to parasites.
C. provide agricultural benefits that outweigh the risk to honeybees.
D. are the greatest threat to honeybee health in the United States.

3. Scientist 1 identifies all of the following crops as being highly dependent on pollination by honeybees except:

A. cherries.
B. almonds.
C. carrots.
D. apples.

4. The major difference between the two scientists' viewpoints is that:

A. Scientist 1 believes honeybee populations should be saved, while Scientist 2 believes humans should not interfere with honeybee populations.
B. Scientist 1 believes all threats to honeybee health should be addressed, while Scientist 2 believes that efforts should focus on the greatest threats to these populations.
C. Scientist 1 believes honeybee populations are declining in the United States, while Scientist 2 believes that honeybee populations are stable.
D. Scientist 1 believes neonicotinoids are harmful to honeybees, while Scientist 2 believes neonicotinoids do not pose any threat.

5. According to Scientist 1, which of the following graphs best represents the relationship between honeybees and producers in an ecosystem?

Figure 6.3
Figure 6.4
Figure 6.5
Figure 6.6

6. Which of the following does Scientist 2 identify as the greatest threats to honeybee populations in the United States?

A. Varroa mites and disease
B. Neonicotinoids and weather
C. Disease and nectar quality
D. Water and nectar scarcity

7. Which factor affecting honeybee health was discussed by Scientist 2 but not by Scientist 1?

A. Pesticides
B. Disease
C. Parasites
D. Water quality

8. It can be inferred that Scientist 1 believes honeybees' most important role in natural ecosystems is to:

A. act as a host for varroa mites.
B. provide a food source for birds.
C. transfer pollen between plants.
D. compete with other bee species.

9. According to Scientist 2, which graph best represents the relationship between neonicotinoid exposure and honeybee health?

Figure 6.7
Figure 6.8
Figure 6.9
Figure 6.10

10. A doubling of the average honeybee population size in Europe over the next five years would support the opinion of:

A. both scientists.
B. neither scientist.
C. Scientist 1.
D. Scientist 2.

11. Based on the information in the passage, both scientists would support efforts to:

A. institute a one-year ban on neonicotinoids in the United States.
B. improve disease and parasite prevention in honeybee populations.
C. reduce private consumer use of pesticides near honeybee habitats.
D. monitor changes in the size of honeybee populations without interfering.

12. According to Scientist 1, approximately what proportion of the agriculture industry in the United States is dependent on honeybees?


13. If Scientist 2 is correct, which of the following trends is most likely to be seen if a ban on neonicotinoids is enacted in the United States?

A. Honeybee populations will continue to decline at the preban rate.
B. Honeybee populations will begin to increase at a rapid rate.
C. Honeybee populations will continue to decline but at a slower rate.
D. Honeybee populations will begin to increase at a moderate rate.

14. If Scientist 2 is correct, it can be inferred that honeybee health is most strongly affected by:

A. seasonal conditions.
B. resource availability.
C. human interference.
D. biotic factors.