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botany notes: 004 Chapter 1

botany notes: 004 Chapter 1



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Published by: humanupgrade on Mar 16, 2009
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Chapter 1: An Introduction
is the scientific study of plant life. Plants differ from one another in size, structure,manner of life, and other features and over the years, man has accumulated tremendous amounts of information about them. Yet, we still have so much more to learn about them. Botany will enrichyour own life by helping you understand the fascinating diversity of these organisms that share this planet with us.Before we go into any actual study of any plant, it is first essential for us to understand thisdefinition of botany. What do we mean by “scientific”? What are the characteristics of livingthings? What are plants? What differentiates them from other living things?
is a process for evaluating experimental and observed knowledge (the scientificmethod), a global community of scholars, and the organized body of knowledge gained by this process and carried by this community (and others).
Natural sciences
study nature;
social sciences
study human beings and society. The basic commitment of science is to collect objective
(factsthat are observable and measurable) and then reach
and formulate
byanalyzing such data.Scientists collect data either by
or by controlled
. Scientists mustensure that the data are as free as possible of subjective bias, recorded and analyzed instrumentallywhen possible, and extensive enough so that such factors as range of variability can be defined, preferably statistically.When collecting data, scientists begin by asking questions, which they then try to answer.
are often tested by means of a controlled experiment, in which one or moreexperimental groups are compared with one or more control groups, under conditions that are heldstandard except for one factor, the
. The number of organisms used is important: anexperiment based on only a few test organisms is apt to be non-predictive and unreliable.Upon reaching a conclusion, the scientist tries to form a generalization and compares thisgeneralization to others. A generalization that represents a cohesive statement of principle is knownas a
. It should be pointed out that no matter how firm the database upon which a scientifictheory rests, the theory must always remain subject to revision in the light of additional data.
The Scientific Method
“Scientific” study involves a system that scientists use to get to the bottom of things. Theobservation of living things has generated a lot of questions about them. How they came to be?How are plants constructed? How do animals move? Why are animals and plants important?Scientists answer these and other questions by using an experiment-based process called thescientific method.The
scientific method
is a systematic way to describe and explain phenomena based onobserving, comparing, reasoning, predicting, testing concluding, and interpreting. This is whatscience is all about. Rather than just being a set of facts that describe and explain the universe,science is a dynamic process wherein the excitement lies in the intriguing observations andcarefully crafted experiments devised to help us learn more about the world around us.The scientific method begins with
that prompt us to ask the cause of theseobservations. These
causal questions
lie at the heart of the scientific method. Science isfundamentally about finding answers to these kinds of questions. To find answers to these questions,
scientists use past experiences, ideas, and observations to propose
that may produce predictions. To determine if these predictions are accurate, scientists collect data by
or  performing
. If the experimental results match the predictions of a hypothesis, thehypothesis is
; if they don’t, the hypothesis is
. The effect of this is to makescientific progress by revealing answers piece by piece.By testing a single hypothesis, a scientist has not ruled out other possible causes for anobservation. To do so, he would have to devise alternative hypotheses, make predictions for them,and obtain experimental results to compare with the predictions. By this process, he may be able toreject all his hypotheses. Either way, he makes progress by testing several hypotheses, not just one.Although the scientific method is a powerful tool for answering some kinds of question, it isnot foolproof. Most experiments do not distinguish other possible interpretations. Most of the time,it is impossible to recreate conditions in the laboratory or consider all factors that influence theoccurrence of events.Any conclusion marks an end to the scientific method for a particular experiment but it seldomends the process of scientific inquiry. To the curious scientific mind, a conclusion is never the finalanswer. There is always something more to study, something new to learn.
Characteristics of Living Things
Living things have common themes that separate them from non-living things. All living thingshave organization, undergo metabolism, growth and reproduction, respond and adapt to changes inthe environment.
All living things are made up of cells. Some organisms are made up of only onecell (
) while others are made up of more than one (
). In multi-cellular organisms, each cell has specific functions and specific roles in keeping the organism alive. Evenwithin cells, specific structures have their own functions and roles.Even beyond the organism level, we find that organisms often group themselves into populations. Populations of different species make up a community which is part of an ecosystemwhich makes up the biosphere.
All living things undergo metabolism.
is the collective term for allthe essential biochemical processes that goes on inside the body. Digestion, respiration, photosynthesis, and the elimination of waste materials are only some of the processes constantly in progress. There are two phases of metabolism.
is the constructive or building up phasewhile
is the destructive or breaking down phase.
Living things grow and develop. Growth involves an
increase in size
for unicellular organisms or an
increase in the number of cells
for multi-cellular animals. Development involveschange in shape and form.
Living things reproduce. Reproduction is necessary for the perpetuation of thespecies. Reproduction can be
(without sex cells) or 
(recombination of genes fromtwo interacting sex cells).
is defined as the ability of an organism to respond to stimuli. Thestimulus may be simple, such as in bacteria moving away from or toward a heat source. It may becomplex i.e. a bird responding to a complicated series of signals in a courtship ritual.
is the ability of an organism to change in response to theenvironment. The process of changing to promote survival includes:
of the individual3
organism in direct response to some specific challenge and
(alteration) of genes andchromosomes producing a range of variability in offspring. Each species, whether plant or animal,exhibits an adaptation to the environment distinct from other organisms.
Living things are classified on the basis of evolutionary relationships that exist among them.Modern scientists usually recognize five major kingdoms that represent all known species of livingthings. The table below shows the five kingdoms and the major differences that exist between them.
KingdomType of CellCell OrganellesCellular OrganizationRepresentativeMonera
ProkaryoticNo membrane aroundorganelles, no plastids, nomitochondriaUnicellular and/or colonialBlue-green algae, bacteria
EukaryoticAll cell organellesUnicellular and/ocolonialProtozoa
Eukaryotic withwallsPresent but cells simplerMulticellular with tissuesHigher plants
EukaryoticLack plastids and photosynthetic pigmentsSyncytial Mushrooms, molds
Eukaryotic withoutwallsLack plastids and photosynthetic pigmentsMulticellular with tissuesAny animal
Table 1.1.
Characteristics of five kingdoms (
Modified from Storer et al, 6 
Ed., 1979
Plants vs. Animals
What are plants? What makes a plant different from an animal? Although the basic unit of structure and function of both plants and animals is the eukaryotic cell and plant and animal cellsare so much alike as to strongly suggest a common ancestor, there are two salient points of difference: plant cells have
and plant cells are enclosed in
cell walls
. Other differencesare noted in the Table 1.2.
AnimalsPlantsMode of nutrition
Heterotrophic (do not photosynthesize, lack chloroplasts)Autotrophic (carry out photo synthesis,contain chloroplasts)
Extent of Growth
Cell Wall
AbsentMade up of cellulose, rigid, inert
Nervous System
Present in mostAbsent
Mostly mobileMostly immobile
Primary FoodReserve
Glycogen (multiply branched glucose chain),saturated fatsStarch (unbranched glucose chain),unsaturated oils
Waste Products
and nitrogenous wastes, kidneys neededin most animalsO
from photosynthesis, CO
frommetabolism, kidneys not needed sincenitrogenous wastes not generated
Table 1.2.
Some major differences between animals and plants (
Modified from Glinoga
Importance of Botany
Plants are very important to people. Understanding how they function enables one to makewise decisions about many things that affect the individual, family, and the community. The use of organisms to produce consumer needs is called
. Use of bacteria to turn milk intocheese or the use of live yeast to make bread rise are techniques of biotechnology. Farming, pestcontrol, livestock management, nutrition, food processing, and food preservation also involve biotechnology. Plants provide us with oxygen, food, non-edible economic products, biomedical products, research material. They also have ecological, aesthetic, and affectional value.4

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