New SAT Reading Practice Test 27: Colony Collapse Disorder Passage

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Colony Collapse Disorder Passage

Colony collapse disorder, sometimes referred
to as CCD, is a phenomenon that has garnered
much attention over the past few years from both
the scientific community and the media alike. The
05disorder, which causes entire honey bee colonies
to mysteriously disappear, is a major threat to both
the environment and the economy. Honey bees are
the world's natural pollinators, and are responsible
for the production of about one-third of everything
10we eat. Without honey bees, produce that we're
used to having in our diets, like apples, blueber-
ries, strawberries, and nuts, would no longer be
available. Honey bees also have an effect on the
meat industry in the United States. They pollinate
15the various types of feed used by beef and dairy
farmers. The services of the honey bee population
are invaluable, and the survival of many different
species depends on their well-being.
When colony collapse disorder was first
20recognized, beekeepers and scientists assumed that
a pathogen was to blame. For example, there are
several known viruses and pests that can kill off
entire hives of honey bees quickly and be extremely
hard to prevent. Mites, fungus, and bacterial
25infections are all common killers. Because of how
often they're seen in hives, farmers assumed that
these common plights were responsible for colony
collapse disorder. However, as time passed and the
disorder was studied, researchers noticed some-
30thing odd. In many cases, there were simply no
dead bees to discover. While common killers of the
honey bee left telltale signs, colony collapse
disorder left nothing behind but empty hives.
Scientists attributed the rapid disappearance of
35the bees to a form of altruistic behavior. When a
bee gets sick, it flies away from the hive so as not
to spread its illness to the other bees. It naturally
prioritizes the overall health of the hive over its
own. Although this behavior explained the bees'
40disappearing act, the cause of the disorder is yet to
be understood and the list of possible explanations
just keeps getting longer.
One team of researchers hypothesized that
fluctuations in the earth's magnetic field might be
45doing damage to the magnetoreceptors, or built-
in homing devices, that bees use to find their way
home to their hives after flying all day. Honey bees,
as well as birds and fish, use the earth's magnetic
field to identify their location. Sunspots, which
50cause the strength of the earth's magnetic field
to fluctuate, might be damaging the honey bee's
biological tools.
While solar activity is outside the control of
humans, another theory about the cause of colony
55collapse disorder points to the human invention
of pesticides. Pesticides, which are chemicals used
to prevent pest infestation of crops on a large scale
around the world, are often picked up by honey
bees during their foraging and pollination flights.
60Scientists have found that more than one pesticide
can be found in the honey of one hive. They are
currently studying the interaction of two or more
pesticides, which travel into the hives and are stored
by the bees in the pollen they use for protein. While
65the presence of one pesticide in a hive would cer-
tainly limit the life spans of bees and impair their
navigational skills, it could be that it is the interac-
tion of two or more pesticides that cause the entire
colony to collapse. There are many ingredients
70in pesticides that are not regulated by world
governments, and this leaves a lot of ground for bee
scientists to cover when doing their research.
Research over time usually helps to narrow
down the field of possible causes of a disorder, but
75in the case of colony collapse disorder, scientists
feel farther away than ever from finding the root
cause and a cure. Many people around the world
are taking up the cause of keeping honey bees alive
by keeping bees in their backyards or on their
80roofs. Some cities and towns have relaxed regula-
tions on beekeeping in response to the honey bee
population crisis. Hopefully, community initia-
tives and research can both help to save the world's
honey bee population.

1. The passage's primary purpose is to

  • A. show that honey bees require certain conditions in order to live.
  • B. instruct the reader on how to increase the number of honey bees.
  • C. explain the relationship between sunspots and colony collapse disorder.
  • D. alert the reader to the impending crisis of decreasing numbers of honey bees.

2. The point of view that the author takes is most reflective of that of

  • A. an advocate for honey bee survival.
  • B. an environmentalist concerned about toxic materials.
  • C. a naturalist who researches changes in animal populations.
  • D. a concerned citizen who hopes to raise honey bees.

3. The author uses the fact that no bees are found in a hive after a colony collapses to

  • A. examine the extent of damage to the honey bee population that has occurred.
  • B. emphasize the ways in which honey bees relate to human beings.
  • C. refute the possibility that pathogens are the reason for the collapse.
  • D. show that pesticides are not to blame for the decrease in the honey bee population.

4. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 4-7 ("The disorder … the economy")
  • B. Lines 21-24 ("For example … to prevent")
  • C. Lines 31-33 ("While common … empty hives")
  • D. Lines 43-47 ("One team … flying all day")

5. As used in line 27, "plights" most nearly means

  • A. causes.
  • B. promises.
  • C. intentions.
  • D. troubles.

6. The author's use of the word "mysteriously" in line 6 emphasizes

  • A. that fluctuations of the earth's magnetic field are uncontrollable.
  • B. how little is known about why colony collapse occurs.
  • C. that the reason a bee leaves its hive when it is sick is unknown.
  • D. why researchers are studying the effect of pesticides on honey bees.

7. The passage most strongly suggests that which of the following is true?

  • A. The author is cautiously optimistic about the future existence of the honey bee.
  • B. The author thinks that scientists have not tried hard enough to find the reason for colony collapse.
  • C. One team of scientists believes that they will have an answer to the problem of colony collapse very soon.
  • D. Scientists have ruled out the theory that pesticides are at fault for colony collapse.

8. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 7-10 ("Honey bees … eat")
  • B. Lines 25-28 ("Because of how … disorder")
  • C. Lines 53-56 ("While solar … pesticides")
  • D. Lines 82-84 ("Hopefully … population")

9. According to the passage, which of the following events has occurred in response to colony collapse disorder?

  • A. Concerned citizens have fought to ban certain pesticides.
  • B. Some towns have relaxed their regulations on beekeeping.
  • C. Farmers have resorted to other means of pollinating their feed.
  • D. Scientists are working to control the use of electromagnetic devices.

10. As used in line 59, "foraging" most nearly means

  • A. rejecting.
  • B. offering.
  • C. watching.
  • D. searching.

11. Which sentence best describes the relationship between honey bees and human beings?

  • A. Human beings depend on honey bees to keep the environment and economy healthy.
  • B. Human beings depend on honey bees to keep the effects of sunspots to a minimum.
  • C. Honey bees depend on human beings to provide them with food.
  • D. Honey bees depend on human beings to protect them from solar flares.