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COMMUNICATION
What is this topic about?
To keep it as simple as possible, (K.I.S.S.) this topic involves the study of: 1. DETECTING & RESPONDING 2. STRUCTURE & FUNCTION OF THE EYE 3. FORMING A CLEAR IMAGE 4. IMAGE TO NERVE SIGNAL 5. SOUND COMMUNICATION 6. STRUCTURE & FUNCTION OF THE EAR 7. NERVE SIGNALS & THE BRAIN ...all in the context of how living things communicate & respond to their environment.

HSC Biology Option Topic

1. DETECTING & RESPONDING


What is Communication?
Communication is the transfer of information from one organism to another. For communication to occur, the information must be sent out by one organism and received by another.
IF A MAN SPEAKS IN A FOREST, BUT NO-O ONE HEARS HIM, IS HE STILL WRONG? (answer below) Its a wry comment about men & women, but the situation is NOT communication! Communication must have both a sender and a receiver

The Role of Receptors


Before any living thing can communicate, or even react in any way to whatever is happening around it, it must be able to receive information from the environment. In a human this information could be a sound, a sight, a smell, a taste or a touch... the 5 senses we rely on.
Any piece of information, in any form, which a living thing can detect is called a stimulus. (plural = stimuli)

All living things are equipped with special cells or organs which detect stimuli... these are the receptors. The Main Receptors in a Mammal are Eyes and Ears This topic concentrates on the detection of light stimuli by the eyes, and of sound stimuli by the ears. You must realize that the eyes and ears do not actually see or hear, but merely detect the stimuli and pass information on to your brain. 1

This topic is mainly about how information is received by the two most important human senses, sight and sound. Be aware that other organisms rely more on other senses, including some that our bodies cannot detect at all, such as electric and magnetic fields. One of the defining characteristics of life is the ability to respond to changes in the environment. Before any living thing can respond, it must receive information from the environment via its senses.
The feminist answer to the question is that of course hes wrong... hes a man!

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Response to Stimuli
What happens after a stimulus is received? The precise answer to that depends on exactly what sort of living thing is involved. Consider these 2 very different examples, and look for what is common to both.
Stimulus

Light coming from one side

Light reflecting from food

Stimulus

Cells in the growing tip act as Receptors, by reacting chemically to the light

Plant Seedling
On the lit side a chemical is destroyed, while on the dark side the chemical persists. This chemical acts as a

Cells in the eye act as Receptors, by setting off a nerve signal

Nerve Cells act as by carrying the signal to the brain. Then other messages are sent from brain via other nerve cells to a number of body muscles.

Messengers

Messenger

Cells in the stem act as by growing more on the dark side (where there is more chemical messenger)

Effectors

Muscles in the body act as moving the head, neck, beak, etc

Effectors

The Response of the plant is uneven growth. Cells on the dark side grow more, causing the plant to grow towards the light.

The Response of the animal is to take and swallow the food it has detected by sight

In both cases, notice the common features involved in an organism responding to a stimulus:
Stimulus Receptor receives the stimulus Messenger carries a signal Affector acts on the signal Response

In animals, the main Receptors are eyes, ears, etc

In animals, the nerves and brain are the main Messenger system 2

In animals, the main Affectors are the muscles, which act under nerve control

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The Range of Senses Involved in Communication and/or Sensing the Environment


Sense Involved
Sight

Human Communication

Animal Communication

Sensing the Environment


Virtually all animals have some ability to see their surroundings. Some snakes see the infra-red warmth from their prey. Most animals have some ability to hear sounds. Many insects feel sound vibrations with their feet. Bats & dolphins use SONAR for navigation in the dark/water. Spiders feel the vibrations in their web when prey has been caught. Mice, cats, etc have whiskers to feel the width of burrows, etc.

Hand-signals Body colours/patterns and Facial expressions display behaviours for Body Language finding mates & establishing territories are very common Spoken language Mating calls (e.g. frogs) Territorial calls (e.g. kookaburra)

Hearing

Touch

Many emotions are shown with a hug a pat on the back, by holding hands, etc.

Grooming each other is important among apes & monkeys to establish relationships, and positions within the group.

Smell

Not very important. Insects release pheromones Use of perfumes to to attract mates by odour. enhance Many mammals mark their attractiveness. territory with smelly musk or urine. Not used Bees allow others to taste gathered nectar, so theyll know what to search for.

Smell is vital for many animals to find their food. Flower perfumes attract some pollinating insects.

Taste

Snakes taste the air by collecting samples on their tongue (this is really their way of smelling) to detect prey or enemies. Platypus can detect (with their bill) electrical field from animals nerves. They use this sense to hunt prey. Some migrating birds are guided by the Earths magnetic field which they can detect.

Electrical Fields

Not detectable

Magnetic Fields

Not detectable

As well as these examples, be aware that the range of sounds and light frequencies that other species can detect is often quite different to what humans are used to.
Dolphins, Bats, and many others, can hear a much wider range of sounds than humans can

Bees see with ultraviolet light invisible to humans

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Worksheet 1

Detecting & Responding


Student Name .......................................... Humans are considered to have 5 senses: j)............................, ................................, ........................................., .......................... and .................................. Most animals have these same senses, and some have extra senses that we cannot detect such as the sensing of k)........................... or .................................. fields. Human examples of communication: Sense Involved Communication example l)........................... Touch Smiling at a friend. m)...................................

Fill in the blank spaces Communication is the a)............................. ......................................... from one organism to another. Before any organism can communicate, or react to events occurring around it, it must be able to detect b)................................... from the environment. This is the job of the c).................................... organs, such as the d)........................... and .......................... of an animal. The normal chain of events involved in any response to a stimulus is: Stimulus Receptor e)..................... (in animals, usually f)...................) g).................... (in animals, usually h)..................) i).................................. (The action taken)

Sound n).................................. Examples of communication in other animals: Sense Involved Communication example o).......................... Peacock displaying its tail to hen. Sound q)......................... r)......................... p)........................................ Apes grooming. Insect pheromones.

Worksheet 2

Test Questions section 1 Student Name ........................................ Mark values shown are suggestions only, and indicate the depth of answer required. Answer on reverse if insufficient space.
1. (3 marks) One of the characteristics of all living things is the way they respond to an environmental stimulus. Describe the stimulus-response pathway, naming specific examples of the body organ(s) involved in the response by a typical animal. A flow chart diagram may be used. 4. (3 marks) When we think of human communication we typically think of language, either spoken or written. However, humans communicate in many non-verbal ways too. Describe 3 examples of non-verbal human communications, including the sense involved in each example.

2. (4 marks) Give 2 specific examples of named animals responding to a type of environmental stimulus which humans cannot detect at all.

5. (4 marks) Humans make very little use of the sense of smell in communication. Some other animals however, send and receive important communications via their sense of smell. Describe 2 specific examples of non-human communication which rely on the sense of smell.

3. (4 marks) Discuss, using specific examples of named animals, 2 different uses to which sound is used in animal communication.

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2. STRUCTURE & FUNCTION OF THE EYE


Sclera
(White of the eye) Tough fibrous tissue which maintains eyeball shape, and protects the parts inside.

Conjunctiva Vitreous Humor


A transparent, jelly-like liquid which fills the eyeball and maintains its shape. Surface layer on the cornea. Protects the delicate cornea from damage.

Retina
Layer of Receptor cells which detect light, and set off nerve messages.

Cornea
Transparent tissue to admit light. Its shape helps refract the light to form an image.

Optic Nerve
Carries nerve signals from Retina to brain.

Aqueous Humor
A clear, watery liquid which maintains the shape of the cornea.

Choroid
(Between Retina & Sclera) A membrane which absorbs any light which gets through the retina (to prevent internal reflections) and contains blood vessels to nourish the retina.

Iris
The colour of the eye. A ring of muscle which can dilate (open) or constrict (close) to change the size of the hole in the middle... the Pupil. This controls the amount of light entering the eye.

Lens

A transparent and flexible structure which refracts light to focus an image on the retina. The shape of the lens changes according to the distance of the object being viewed.

Ciliary Body

A ring of muscles which holds the lens and can alter its shape by pulling on tiny tendons. Practical Work: Dissection of an Eye To help you really understand and appreciate the structure and function of the eye, you may have carried out the dissection of an eye... probably that of a sheep. Some of the very simple (but important) observations you may have made would include: The Sclera is very tough... it does a great job of protecting the eyeball. Cornea, Aqueous Humor, Lens and Vitreous Humor are all perfectly transparent to allow light through.
Dissection about to begin

The Lens is able to refract light. You may have discovered that it can act like a magnifying glass. The Pupil of the eye is not a physical structure, but an opening, the size of which is controlled by the Iris.

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Comparing Human Vision with Other Animals


What we call visible light is the range of wavelengths of light which can be detected by our eyes. We see the different wavelengths as different colours

Vision in the Bee


The range of wavelengths visible to a honeybee is from about 300 to about 700nm. This means bees can see a much wider range of wavelengths than we can, in particular they can see at much shorter wavelengths in the ultra-violet range. Why?

white light is a mixture of wavelengths

Red different wavelengths can be spread out to form a spectrum ...the colours of a rainbow

700nm

Orange Yellow Green Blue Violet 400nm

Measuring Wavelength
The wavelength is the distance from one crest of a wave to the next. For all light waves this is a very small distance, so the unit commonly used is the nanometre (nm) 1 nm = 10 m = 1/1,000,000 mm. A light wave we would see as RED has a wavelength of about 700nm. A much shorter wave, around 400nm, we see as VIOLET light. Waves with wavelength longer than 700nm are infra-red and we cannot see them, although we may feel them as heat radiation on our skin.
Wavelength

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Bees navigate by the position of the Sun in the sky. Even on very cloudy days the ultra-violet light penetrates the clouds and allows bees to find their way accurately from hive to flowers and home again. Also, it has been discovered that many flowers have stripes and other patterns which are only visible at ultra-violet wavelengths. These guide the bees to the nectar and pollen sites of the flower. So, there are powerful survival advantages for a bee to be able to see at ultra-violet wavelengths. Natural Selection has caused the bees to evolve receptor cells in their eyes which are sensitive at these shorter wavelengths.

Waves with wavelength shorter than 400nm are ultra-violet and we cannot see them. The human eye, therefore, is limited to wavelengths between about 400-700nm.

Vision in Snakes: the Pit Vipers and Pythons


Photo by Sean Carpenter

Many snakes, such as the infamous Rattlesnake of North America, and the non-venomous Australian Pythons, can detect light wavelengths from about 450 to around 850 nm. The long wavelengths, around 800nm, are in the infra-red range and invisible to humans. These snakes dont see these wavelengths with their eyes either. They are equipped with special pits containing infra-red sensory cells. Pit Vipers are named for the sensory pits below their eyes. In Pythons, similar organs are located around the lower jaw.
Sensory Pit for detecting infra-r red

All warm objects emit heat radiation... infra-red light waves. The snakes can therefore see the radiation from a warm body, such as a mouse, and hunt their prey even in total darkness. 6

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Worksheet 3 Structure & Function of the Eye


Fill in the blanks The major anatomical features of the mammalian eye, and their functions, are: (from the front of the eye, back) Conjunctiva, which a).......................................... b)............................ is a transparent tissue to admit light. Its shapes helps to c)......................... the light. d)................... Humor is a clear liquid which maintains the e)................ of the ........................... The Iris is a disk of tissue which controls f)................................................. entering the eye. The g).......................... is a transparent structure which h)............................. light to form an image on the retina. The i)................. Body can alter the shape of (g). j)............................. Humor is a k).................-like liquid which fills the eyeball and l)..................................................... The m).................................. contains the actual receptor cells which n)............................... light and initiate o)............................... to the brain. The Choroid is a membrane containing blood vessels to p).................... the (m). It also absorbs light to prevent q).................................................. Student Name ........................................ The r)....................... is a tough fibrous tissue which maintains the s).................. of the eyeball. The t)........................... Nerve carries messages from the u)...................... to the ............................. The range of wavelengths of light detected by the human eye is from about v).............. to ............ (numbers) w)............ (units). We perceive the different wavelengths as light of different x)................................ The longest waves we see as y).................... while the shortest are perceived as z).......................... Other animals may detect a different range of wavelengths. For example, some snakes can detect much aa)....................... (shorter/longer) waves in the ab)............................. range which we cannot see. They use this sense to ac).......... ................................................................................. Bees are able to see much ad).............................. wave-lengths which are in the ae)........................ range. This helps them to af)................................................................. ...........

Worksheet 4

Test Questions section 2 Student Name ........................................ Mark values shown are suggestions only, and indicate the depth of answer required. Answer on reverse if insufficient space.
3. (marks) a) Explain with the aid of a diagram the meaning of the wavelength of any wave. b) State the range of wavelengths (including units) of light visible to the human eye. c) How would you perceive lights at each end of this range of wavelengths?

1. (5 marks) Identify each part of the eye from its function: a) Controls the amount of light entering the eyeball. b) Contains the actual receptor cells for sight. c) Carries nerve signals from eye to brain. d) Responsible for most of the focusing of light. e) Protective layer on the cornea. 2. (3 marks) Describe the function of the a) Ciliary body. b) Vitreous and Aqueous humors.

4. (3 marks) Use a simple table to compare the range of visible wavelengths detected by a human, a bee and a rattlesnake.

c) Choroid

5. (2 marks) Suggest reasons for the differences (identified in Q4) in detectable wavelengths in a) a bee. b) a rattlesnake.

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3. FORMING A CLEAR IMAGE


Refraction of Light
Light rays travel in straight lines, but when light goes from one transparent substance to another (a different medium) it changes direction and speed. This is called Refraction. For example, if a light ray goes from air into a glass block:
Glass
Light ray changes direction as it enters glass

Practical Work: Lenses of Different Shape You may have investigated the way that Convex Lenses of different curvature focus light differently:
A Thicker Lens has a shorter Focal Length Parallel beams of light
Focal Point

Focal Length

A Thinner Lens has a longer Focal Length


...and changes direction again as it exits the glass Focal Point

Focal Length

Refraction is why this spoon appears broken at the liquid surface... the light rays by which we see the pencil are being bent by the water and glass. Lenses are curved so that the refraction can bring light rays together, or spread them apart.

However, this doesnt really relate to the functioning of the eye. The eyeball has a fixed size, so the image must always be focused on the retina at a fixed distance from the lens. Also, in the diagrams above, the incoming light rays are always parallel. However, the rays entering the eye from nearby objects are not parallel but diverging (spreading out). A more meaningful investigation is as follows:
In a darkened room, focus the image of a distant, lit candle onto a screen such as a sheet of paper. Use a thin lens.
Small inverted image of candle forms on paper screen

Parallel beams of light

Convex Lens

Parallel rays from a distant candle

Focus, or Focal Point

Distance from lens to screen

Concave Lens

Now, replace the lens with a fatter one. Keep the screen distance the same, but move the candle closer until an image forms.
Rays from a closer object are spreading out. The lens must have a shorter focal length to form an image on the same screen. Larger, inverted image of candle forms on paper screen Distance from lens to screen kept the same

Only a Convex Lens can FOCUS light, and form an image


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This is what the eye does... it changes the shape of the lens to focus objects which are closer or further away. 8

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Accommodation
The lens of the eye is composed of a flexible, transparent protein material. The muscles of the ciliary body can pull on the lens causing it to become thicker, or relax and allow it to become thinner. This changing of the shape of the lens is called accommodation, and allows the eye to focus images of distant objects or close-up objects.
Image on Retina Muscles of Ciliary Body relax. Lens has thinner shape.

Myopia and Hyperopia


Myopia is short-sightedness: close objects can be viewed normally, but distant objects (more than about 5 metres away) appear blurred and out of focus. Hyperopia is long-sightedness... the opposite. Distant objects can be clearly seen, but close objects cannot be seen clearly. These vision problems are generally due to either: the lens is unable to change shape enough for either close or distant objects. or the eyeball itself being too long, or too short, so that the focus position of an image is either in front, or behind, the retina, instead of right on it. Some people have one of these vision problems from birth. Most people will develop one of these problems with age, often due to loss of flexibility of their lens, which therefore loses some of its accommodation ability.

Distant object
Muscles of Ciliary Body pull lens into thicker shape

Close object

This also explains perspective; why distant objects appear smaller, and close objects appear larger.

Myopia and Its Correction


Short-sightedness is often due to the eyeball being too long so the focus position for the image of a distant object is in front of the retina. When the light rays reach the retina the image is no longer in focus, and everything appears blurry.
Focus position is in front of Retina

The fatter the lens, the more refractive power it has to bend the light rays. (i.e. shorter focal length)

Refraction by the Cornea & the Humors


The curved Cornea also refracts the light and helps to focus the image on the retina. The liquid Aqueous Humor, and the jelly-like Vitreous Humor also contribute to bending the light rays. However, only the Lens is able to change its shape significantly to accommodate vision of objects at different distances.

Position of Retina if eyeball was correct shape Eyeball is too long

Distant object

Depth Perception
Humans, and many other animals, have eyes that face forward so both eyes focus on the same object, but from slightly different angles. This is called binocular or stereoscopic vision. Each eye focuses on the view from a slightly different angle, so the brain receives 2 images which are not quite the same, but are a stereo pair. The brain combines these 2 images so that we perceive a 3-dimensional view. We can automatically tell which part of the view is close or distant, and can judge the distance quite accurately. This is a vital skill for sports, or driving, or even just the simple act of walking on uneven ground and being able to accurately position each step you take.
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Myopia is corrected by glasses containing concave lenses.


Image now focused on retina Concave lens in spectacles

The concave lens refracts the light rays so they are diverging as they enter the eye. This has the effect of pushing the image back onto the retina so the vision is clear and focused. 9

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Hyperopia and Its Correction


Long-sightedness can be caused by the lens being unable to become thick enough to refract the light from a close object into a focus on the retina. The focus position is behind the retina. When the light hits the retina the image is out of focus and Lens unable to become appears blurry.
thick enough to focus image on retina

Cataract Blindness and Its Treatment


Cataracts is a condition in which the lens of the eye gradually loses its transparency and becomes cloudy. Eventually the lens can become totally opaque and the person becomes blind because light cannot reach the retina. There are many risk factors which make Cataracts more likely to develop. In affluent Australia, Cataracts is a disease associated with the elderly. In tropical Africa and Asia nutrition may be poor, the sunlight (and UV) is strong, and people work outdoors for long hours unprotected. Under these conditions cataracts afflicts thousands of relatively young people. In developing countries, many people cannot afford treatment. Once they become blind they cannot work, and then become a burden on their family.

Close object

Focus position is behind the retina

Hyperopia is corrected by glasses containing convex lenses.


Convex lens in spectacles

Treatment
Image now focused on retina

The convex lens compensates for the lack of refractive power of the eyes lens. The extra lens bends the light rays together, which brings the focus position forward and onto the retina for clear, focused vision.

Using just a local anaesthetic, a surgeon can remove the cloudy lens material via a small incision through the cornea. Next, a flexible clear plastic lens is inserted into the lens capsule. The entire operation can be done in about 30 minutes, and the cost of the replacement lens is very low.

Social Implications
Through the pioneering work of Professor Fred Hollows (1929-1993, born NZ, later an Australian citizen) and The Fred Hollows Foundation over a million Cataracts sufferers in Africa, Asia and the Pacific have had their sight restored. These people are able to lead full, productive lives again. Rather than face poverty and starvation, they can continue to farm, or fish, or work in industry. Instead of being a burden on family and the community, continue to be productive. Fast, low-cost treatment for Cataract Blindness is an important part of eventually breaking the poverty-cycle which grips many of the worlds poorer people. The Fred Hollows Foundation trains local medical staff so this process can become self-perpetuating.
To learn more about The Fred Hollows Foundation visit www.hollows.org

Spectacles, Contacts & Lasers


As well as correcting myopia/hyperopia using lenses mounted in spectacle frames, contact lenses can be used. These are soft, flexible lenses which are worn in contact with the eyes conjunctiva. Another modern treatment is laser surgery, in which the cornea is re-shaped by precisely cutting tissue away with a laser beam. The new shape of the cornea refracts light to correct myopia, without the need to wear glasses or contacts.

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Vietnamese nursing staff observe as Professor Fred Hollows examines the eye of a patient after a successful cataract operation in Hanoi in 1992

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Worksheet 5

Forming a Clear image


Student Name ........................................ The brain receives a slightly different image from each eye, so we perceive a o)............ ............................ view. This also allows us to judge p)........................ quite accurately. Myopia is commonly called q)....................... ................. Those with myopia cannot focus clearly on objects which are r).............................. (distant/close) A common cause is the eyeball being too s)........................... (short/long) so that the image position is not on the retina, but t)...................................... (in front of/behind) it. This can be corrected by spectacles containing u)......................... lenses. The opposite condition is called v)............................. It is commonly due to the lens losing its flexibility and being unable to w)............................... for objects which are x).................... (distant/close). The focus position is y)........................... (in front of/behind) the retina. This is corrected with spectacles containing z)...................... lenses. Cataract Blindness is a condition in which the aa).................. of the eye becomes ab)................... Treatment involves replacing the (aa) with ac)............................................ Simple, cheap treatment has important social implications in helping to break the ad)....................... cycle in ae)..................................... countries.

Fill in the blanks Refraction of light occurs when the light a).................................................................... A b)............................. lens refracts the light so that rays are brought together to a focus, and can form an image. A c)............................. lens spreads light rays out, so it cannot d)........................................................ The greater the curvature of a lens (the fatter it is) the e)..................... (shorter/longer) its focal length. The lens of the eye can change its focal length by changing f)............................. This is called g)........................................ This is achieved by the muscles of the h)............... .................. pulling on the flexible lens. To focus a distant object, the lens needs a i).................... shape, but needs to become j)............................ to focus on a close object. The curved shape of the cornea, and the optical properties of the k)............................................... and ............................ also help refract light rays to the correct focus on the l)........................... Binocular vision (also known as m)........................ vision) is when both eyes n)......................................................

Worksheet 6 Test Questions section 3 Student Name ........................................ Mark values shown are suggestions only, and indicate the depth of answer required. Answer on reverse if insufficient space.
1. (4 marks) Explain the accommodation of the eye by sketching labelled diagrams showing an eye focusing on a distant, and a close object. 4. (6 marks) a) Describe what happens in the eye to cause Cataract Blindness. b) Outline the surgical treatment for Cataracts. 2. (2 marks) Explain how depth perception in vision is achieved.

c) Discuss the implications of this technology for society.

3. (6 marks) a) Define hyperopia, and give a possible cause. b) Use simple labelled sketches to: i) explain why vision is unclear under the conditions in (a) ii) show how hyperopic vision can be corrected.
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5. (3 marks) Outline 3 different technologies which can correct myopia.

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4. IMAGE TO NERVE SIGNAL


From Light Waves to Seeing
The previous section dealt with how the front parts of the eye manage to produce a focused light image on the retina... but how does this become the vision that you see? In this section you will learn about what happens after the light hits the retina.

Distribution of Rods & Cones


There are about 125 million rod cells, but only about 6 million cone cells in a human eye. Not only is there a very uneven number, but their distribution is uneven too.
The centre of the visual field is called the Fovea

Photoreceptor Cells
The retina contains special nerve cells called photoreceptors. These contain discs of coloured chemicals (visual pigments) which strongly absorb the light waves which fall on them. When light is absorbed by the pigment, chemical changes occur which causes an electrical nerve signal to be fired off to the brain. What you see is the brains interpretation of these millions of separate pieces of information. This is similar in principle to the way a TV picture is made from many pixels of light glowing on the screen. There are 2 different types of photoreceptor cells:
Rod Cells
Cell Body & Nucleus

Optic Nerve

Blind Spot where optic nerve exits the eye

All of the cone cells are densely packed in the Fovea region of the retina. This is where the image forms of whatever you are looking directly at. In good light, whatever you stare directly at will be seen clearly, in full detail and colour. The rest of the retina is less densely packed with photoreceptors, and is entirely rod cells. These cannot give colour vision, but are very sensitive and can detect shapes and changes, such as any slight movement. This is how you can often notice things out of the corner of your eye, even in quite dull light. Where the optic nerve leaves the eyeball there is a small blind spot where there are no photoreceptor cells and you cannot see anything.

Connections to other nerve cells (Synapses)

Rod section, containing disks of visual pigment; Rhodopsin

Rhodopsin - the Visual Pigment


Rods are very sensitive to light, and allow vision in semi-darkness... night vision. Rods cannot detect different colours. Images perceived by rods lack fine detail, but show shapes and detect movements very well.
Cone Cells
Cell Body & Nucleus

The actual chemical which absorbs the light in a rod cell is a complex molecule called Rhodopsin. When light hits a rhodopsin molecule, the energy is absorbed by the molecule which immediately undergoes a significant chemical change... in fact it disintegrates into 2 parts. This sets off a complex chain of physical and chemical events along the length of the cell, the final result of which is the sending of a nerve message to the brain along the optic nerve. Meanwhile, the Rhodopsin molecule is put back together again by enzymes, and using energy supplied as ATP from the cells mitochondria. After a short delay, the molecule is ready to absorb light again, and send another signal to the brain. Thus, the role of Rhodopsin is to act as the actual photoreceptor chemical. The act of absorbing light sets off a signal to the brain by which you see the things that have emitted, or reflected, the light waves. 12

Connections to other nerve cells (Synapses)

Cone section, containing disks of visual pigment which are sensitive only to certain colours of light

There are 3 types of Cone Cells, sensitive to either red, or blue or green light wavelengths. Combinations of these give you the perception of all the possible shades of colour you can see. Cones do not work well in dull light. (Thats why you see only in black and white in semidarkness.)
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Colour Blindness
Very rarely, some people are born with no cone cells in their retina, and so their only vision is due to rod cells. They see only in black and white, and cannot distinguish or identify different colours. Much more common is the condition RedGreen Colour Blindness. People with this condition can see in colour, but have difficulty distinguishing between certain shades of red and green. The condition is genetic, and is inherited by Sex-Linked Inheritance. (Revise in the topic Blueprint of Life) People with Red-Green Colour Blindness do not have all 3 types of cone cells functioning in their retina. They are lacking the cone cells which repond to green light. When green wavelengths of light are received, they are partially absorbed by the red cone cells, and messages are sent to the brain. However, the brain interprets the message as a red signal. The result is that both red and green light are seen by the brain to be the same colour. There is also another (rare) form of colour blindness in which the blue cone cells are missing. In this case the person has trouble distinguishing shades of blue from greens and yellows.

Vision in Insects
The structure and function of an insect eye is very different to that of a human.

Insects have a compound eye... each eye is made of thousands of visual units called ommatidia. Each ommatidium is, in effect, a selfcontained eye, with its own cornea, lens and receptor cells.
Optic Nerve to brain Receptor Cells, with disks of visual pigment Lens Cornea

One Ommatidium one of many in a compound eye

Colour Communication in Animals


Many animals, including birds, fish, insects and reptiles, are known to have full colour vision, and many use colour to communicate with members of their own species, or to send visual signals to other species. Some examples: Sticklebacks are small freshwater fish, usually a uniform silvery colour. In the breeding season however, male sticklebacks develop a bright red colour. This is used to attract receptive females, and to send warning signals to other males to stay away. Butterflies are often brightly coloured for species recognition... so, for example, they recognise their own kind and do not waste time attempting to mate with a member of another species. In some cases, bright orange/yellow/red colours are warnings to potential predators that the insect is poisonous or bad-tasting. This bright orange Monarch butterfly has a very nasty taste.
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The image formed by a single ommatidium covers very little area, but each one is aimed in a slightly different direction. The insects brain does not see a single, detailed image, but thousands of overlapping images covering almost its entire surroundings. While this may lack detail, it is excellent for detecting even the slightest movements.

Vision in a Flatworm
As a final comparison, consider the eyes of a simple flatworm.
Eye Spots
Planarian Flatworms are small, leafshaped animals which live in moist soil, or in wetlands, litter or forest leaf-l

Size 2-5 5 mm

Their eyes are nothing more than cup-shaped depressions which are lined with photoreceptor cells connected by nerves to the brain. There is no lens or cornea, and no image is formed. Each eye merely informs the brain of light or darkness. The brain responds to this information by commanding the muscles to turn the animal towards darkness. This helps the animal survive by guiding it towards the safer environment in darkness under leaves and soil. 13

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Worksheet 7 Image to Nerve Signal


Fill in the blanks The photoreceptor cells of the retina are of 2 types: a).......................... cells. These are very sensitive to light and allow night vision. They cannot detect b)................... ............................ c)......................... cells. These come in 3 varieties, each sensitive to different d)................................ of light, and responsible for your e)....................... vision. They do not work well in f).................. light. These are g).............. (more/less) numerous than rod cells, and are concentrated in the h).............................. (the centre of the visual field on the retina). The visual pigment in rod cells is called i).......................... It strongly j)................................ light, which sets off a series of chemical changes in the cell. This causes a k).......................... signal to be initiated and sent to the brain. The 3 types of cone cells are most sensitive to light of colours l)........................., ......................... and ......................... Red-Green Colour Blindness is an inherited disorder in which the m)................... cone cells are missing, or nonfunctional. People with this condition can see in colour, but have difficulty n)................................... .......................................................................... Student Name ........................................ Many animals have colour vision and use colours for communication. For example, male stickleback fish turn red in order to o).......................... and to p)........................ .................................................... Butterflies (and many insects) use colours for species recognition so they do not q).................................................... ............... Many use bright red/yellow colours to warn predators that they are r)...................... or ............................. Insects have s).................................. eyes, made up of thousands of visual units called t)............................................. Each is a selfcontained eye unit, so the insect sees not just one image, but u)................................ ......................................... This is ideal for detecting v).................................. for hunting prey, or avoiding predators. Vision in a planarian flatworm is very basic. Its eyes are merely w)...................... ........................ which cannot form x)..................... They simply detect y)............................ and ............................., which allows the animal to always move towards a safer environment. COMPLETED WORKSHEETS BECOME SECTION SUMMARIES Student Name .................................

Worksheet 8

Test Questions

section 4

1. (6 marks) Use a simple table to differentiate between the cone cells and rod cells of the retina, including: distribution in the retina. sensitivity to light intensity. sensitivity to different wavelengths.

4. (4 marks) Discuss 2 different uses of colour for communication in non-human animals, giving specific examples of named animals.

5. (6 marks) a) Contrast the eye structures of human, insect and flatworm. 2. (2 marks) Outline the role of rhodopsin in the sense of vision.

3. (3 marks) Red-Green Colour Blindness is an inherited vision disorder. Explain what vision problem this causes, and why, in terms of the photoreceptors of the eye.

b) Contrast the vision achieved by these eye structures.

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5. SOUND COMMUNICATION
Sound is Useful and Versatile for Communication
Almost all animals use sounds to communicate. This is because: Sounds can be easily produced, at any time. (Light is much more difficult for a living thing to make, and good natural light is only available in the day.) Sounds can be easily varied to produce different calls to have different meanings. For example, consider the different meanings of a cat purring and hissing. Sound does not rely on night or day, or on transparentsubstances to travel through. For example, animals can communicate by calls in dense forest or underground. Prac Work: Pitch, Frequency & Wavelength You may have carried out an experiment in class to discover the relationship between the Pitch of a sound, and its wave frequency and wavelength. To do this, you may have used equipment such as:
Cathode Ray Oscilloscope (CRO), or computer with appropriate software

produces pure sound waves

Tuning Fork

Microphone

The Nature of Sound Energy


Sound is a form of energy which moves around as waves of vibration in any material including air, water and solid substances. Unlike light waves, sound waves cannot travel in a vacuum, but must have a substance, or medium, to carry the vibrations. The CRO (or computer software) displays the sound waves from the microphone in a graphical way to allow you to visualize the waves and compare their wavelength. You may have used several different tuning forks, each of different pitch. The frequency of each fork is printed on it. What You May Have Discovered:
wavelength

Sound is produced by vibrating objects.


Look carefully at a plucked guitar string... it is vibrating. Feel the speaker grill of a radio, TV or sound system while sound is being produced... it vibrates.

Lower Pitch = Lower Sound Frequency


wavelength

= Longer Wavelength

Each vibration of the tuning fork sends a corresponding vibrating sound wave out through the air. Whatever the rate of vibration of the object, so the sound wave will vibrate at the same rate. The rate of vibration is called the wave frequency. If the tuning fork vibrates back-andforth (say) 200 times per second, then the sound it produces will have a wave frequency of 200 vibrations per second. This would be described as a frequency of 200 hertz (Hz). The hertz is the unit of frequency, equivalent to one vibration per second. (It is named in honour of a German scientist.)
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Higher Pitch = Higher Sound Frequency

= Shorter Wavelength

The Frequency of a Sound is related to its Pitch High Frequency = High Pitch Frequency and Wavelength are inversely related: as one increases, the other decreases

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How Humans Make Sounds


The sound-producing organ in humans (and all mammals) is the larynx, or voicebox. This is located at the top of the trachea (windpipe). At the base of the larynx are the vocal cords, which are 2 flaps of tissue which can vibrate in the air-flow coming up through the trachea as you exhale. Muscles can adjust the tension in the vocal chords.

How Other Animals Make Sounds


No other animals have such complex languages of sounds as humans, but most animals do communicate with sound signals. However, the way the sounds are produced, and amplified, can be quite different:

Sound Production in Fish


Without lungs or air flow through a trachea, obviously the fish do not have a larynx. However, they are well able to make sounds for communicating warnings, territory ownership, mating signals, and so on.

Trachea (windpipe)

Larynx

Position of the swim bladder in a fish

Many fish have a swim bladder. This is a gasfilled sac which is used to regulate their buoyancy. Many fish can use the muscles of their swim bladder to cause it to vibrate (and the gas in it resonates) to produce sounds. As the vocal chords are pulled tighter, they vibrate faster, and this produces a higher frequency, higher pitch sound. If they are relaxed slightly, they vibrate more slowly to produce lower frequency, lower pitch sounds. If relaxed totally, the vocal cords collapse out of the airflow and no sound is produced at all. Try placing your hand on your throat while making various growling or clearing-the-throat noises. You should be able to clearly feel: changes in the larynx muscles, when sound is made, or not. the vibration of the vocal cords as sounds are made. the changing frequency of vibration as the pitch of the sound is changed. The open space of the larynx above the vocal cords acts as a resonance chamber which greatly amplifies the sound. The final sound is also modified by the position of the lips, teeth and tongue, and by the way the shape of the mouth can be changed using the soft palate (roof of the mouth) and the nasal cavity behind the nose. Whats pretty amazing is the way we learn to produce the complex, and rapidly changing set of sounds that constitute spoken language... and do so often without consciously thinking about it.
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Other fish produce clicking sounds with their fins or gill covers.

Sound Production in Insects


Insects breathe largely by diffusion of gasses through tiny tubes throughout their bodies. Once again, there is no lung and no major windpipe for the operation of a larynx. Crickets and grasshoppers make sounds by rubbing legs and/or wings together so that some part of their body structure vibrates. The vibration produces sound waves.

Photo of a cicada by weatherbox

Those champions of insect noise, the cicadas, produce sound in a similar way, then amplify it using hollow spaces in their abdomen, which act as resonance chambers... just like the hollow part of a guitar or violin. 16

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Worksheet 9

Sound Communication
Student Name ........................................ (g) is also related to the wavelength of the sound wave: the longer the wavelength, the k)................................................. and the shorter the wavelength the l)....................................... .......................................... Humans produce sounds in the m)............................ located at the top of the n)........................ In it are the o).............................. cords which vibrate in the airflow from the lungs. Muscles can alter the tension of the cords, which changes the rate of vibration and therefore the p).................................... of sound produced. Many other animals also make sounds for communication. Fish often use muscles to vibrate their q)............................... ......................, or make clicking noises with their r)................................. or ....................................... Insects produce sounds by s).................. ................................... ..............................................

Fill in the blanks Sound is useful for communication because: it can be easily a).................................................. it can be easily varied so that b)............................................. ................................. it does not require a c)........................................ medium, but can be used in places where seeing is difficult or impossible. Sound is produced by d)..................................... objects, and travels in the form of e)................................ through any substance. Unlike light, sound cannot travel through a f)....................................... The rate of vibration is the g)..................................., measured in units called h).................. This is related to the i)...................... of the sound we perceive. This relationship can be summarized as: j) ............................................................................. ...............................................................................

Worksheet 10

Test Questions section 5 Student Name ........................................ Mark values shown are suggestions only, and indicate the depth of answer required. Answer on reverse if insufficient space.
3. (4 marks) a) Outline how humans produce vocal sounds, including the organs/structures involved, and how different pitches are produced.

1. (3 marks) Explain why sound is a useful and versatile form of communication.

b) Outline how the initial sounds may be modified to produce final vocalizations. 2. (4 marks) As part of your studies you have carried out a first-hand investigation of the relationship between the frequency, wavelength and pitch of sound waves. a) Outline the investigation you carried out. 4. (4 marks) Discuss the way(s) that other animals produce sounds for communication, giving 2 specific examples of non-human animals.

b) Summarize the relationships you discovered.

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6. STRUCTURE & FUNCTION OF THE EAR Schematic Diagram of the Human Ear
All underlined structures are specified by the Syllabus
Cochlea Fluid-f filled, spiral structure. Sound vibrations are transmitted as pressure waves in the fluid, where they stimulate the Organ of Corti. This contains hair cells which are the actual sensory cells. When stimulated by a pressure wave, each hair cell sets off a nerve impulse. Pinna Funnel of the Outer Ear. Gathers sound waves and channels them into the ear canal Semi-C Circular Canals Responsible for your sense of balance
Cochlea is the name of the structure. (a noun) Cochlear is the adjective for things to do with the cochlea. e.g. a cochlear disease affects the cochlea.

Note

Oval Window a thin membrane which transmits the vibration into the Cochlea.

Auditory Nerve carries the nerve signals from the sensory hair cells in the Organ of Corti to the brain.

Oute r Ear Cana l

Tympanic Membrane (Eardrum) Vibrates when sound waves strike. Ear Ossicles (Bones of the Middle Ear) The hammer, anvil and stirrup transmit the vibration of the eardrum to the Cochlea in the Inner Ear.

Round Window a membrane which allows vibrations to escape again from the Cochlea. This prevents wave reflections within the Cochlea which could create reverberations and a constant ringing in the ear. Eustachian Tube connects the middle ear to the nasal & mouth area. This allows pressure to be equalized on both sides of the Eardrum.

The Diagram above is simplified for clarity. This anatomical model is more accurate

Semi-C Circular Canals Auditory Nerve Bone of the skull Cochlea Eardrum Bones of Middle Ear Eustachian Tube

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Pathway & Energy Transformations of Sound Waves in the Ear


Pathway
Sound in Air

How You Hear Different Pitches of Sound


The Hair Cells in the Organ of Corti are connected to the structure by hairs, or fibres, of different lengths. Each different length fibre will only vibrate, and distort the membranes, in response to vibrations of a particular frequency. Sound waves travel through the cochlear fluid as pressure waves of various frequencies, according to the sound frequency which entered the ear. The result is that each sound frequency only stimulates some of the hair cell fibres to vibrate and set off a nerve signal. The brain interprets these signals as hearing sounds of different pitch, according to which hair cells sent the message.
Distribution of Different Hair Cells in the Cochlea

Energy Form
Wave vibration carried by air molecules

Tympanic Membrane (Eardrum)

Mechanical vibration of membrane

Ear Ossicles

Mechanical vibration in bones

In the upper region of the Organ of Corti, the fibres are longer, and the Hair Cells respond to lower frequencies of sound.

Oval Window

Mechanical vibration of membrane

Near the base of the cochlear spiral, the fibres are shorter, and the Hair Cells respond to higher frequencies of sound.

How you Locate a Sound


Whenever you (or most other animals) hear a sound of interest, you will automatically turn your head towards the source of that sound. How did you know which way to turn?
Fluid inside Cochlea Pressure wave in fluid

Unless the sound comes from directly in front or behind, each ear detects the sound at a different intensity, or loudness. This is due to the sound shadow cast by your head partially blocking the sound energy from one side. Source of sound On this side, the sound is heard more loudly.

Hair Cell in Organ of Corti

Vibration of fibres which pull on cell membranes. This causes the release of neurotransmitter chemicals which set off a nerve impulse.

The head blocks sound on this side. The sound heard is less intense, lower volume.

Auditory Nerve

Electrochemical Signal (explained in next section)

The brain rapidly interprets the different stimuli from each ear and commands the muscles to turn your head to look at the source of sound. 19

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Hearing in Other Animals


Insects are not equipped with ears as such, but many can sense sound waves. The antennae of a male mosquito, for example, vibrate and send messages to his brain if sound waves of a particular frequency are detected. Not surprisingly, the frequencies that cause his antennae to vibrate are the exact sounds made by the wing beats of a female mosquito! You probably know that sound... that annoying whining drone of a mozzie circling while you try to sleep is exactly what gets male mozzies very excited.
A grasshoppers ears are on its legs

The Range of Frequencies Detected


Humans can hear sound frequencies as low as about 20Hz and as high as about 20,000Hz. Most spoken sounds are between 2,000-4,000Hz and it is these frequencies to which our ears are most sensitive. Some other mammals have very different frequency ranges and sensitivities.

Detection of High Frequencies


Dolphins and Bats, while very different mammals, have something in common: both can hear sounds at extreme high frequencies which are completely silent to us. Both can produce, and detect, sound frequencies as high as about 150,000Hz, Both use high frequency sound waves for navigation and prey detection... SONAR or echolocation.

Crickets and grasshoppers, and others, have tiny plates of membrane (rather like a minieardrum) which vibrate when struck by sound waves. Messages are sent to the brain so that they hear the sounds. The membranes can be located on the legs, or abdomen, or even the base of the wings, depending on the species.

BAT

SONAR SOund Navigation And Ranging

Echoes

from in sect

Squeaks of sound

Fish have 2 different systems for hearing


Inside their heads (there is no external canal) they have sensory organs called labyrinths which sense sound vibrations. These have a structure quite different to a mammals ear, but essentially do the same job. As well as these ears, fish are also equipped with a line of sensory organs running the length of their body. This lateral line is clearly visible on many fish, and is a line of sensory organs which can detect small changes in water pressure.
Lateral Line

Detection of Low Frequencies


Although humans can hear sounds at around 20Hz, we are not very sensitive to such low frequencies. However, there are some mammals which hear these sounds very well: Humpback whales communicate over very long distances by singing at very low frequencies. Low frequency waves have been found to travel through the ocean for a hundred kilometres or more. Being able to make these sounds, and being very sensitive to hearing them, has great advantages to communication in the ocean. Low frequency sounds also travel through the ground quite well, so its not surprising that burrowing mammals such as moles are very sensitive to these vibrations. They may communicate (e.g. warning others to stay out of their territory) by making low frequency noises underground. Nocturnal animals are often very sensitive to low frequencies also. Kangaroo Rats are very sensitive to sounds at frequencies around only 1Hz. This corresponds to the wingbeats of a hunting owl, or the movements of other predators in the dark. A human would not hear these sounds at all, but the kangaroo rat survives by hearing its enemies approaching. 20

If you have ever seen a school of fish all turning together and staying together, you may have wondered how they co-ordinate their movements so perfectly. Each fish senses the tiny pressure changes in the water as other members of the school turn. More critically, they can also detect the pressure changes due to a predator approaching. We would think this was silent, but they hear the water pressure changes, and react accordingly.
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Technologies for Hearing Loss


People suffer partial or total hearing loss for many different reasons. There are 2 main medical technologies which can be of benefit.

Hearing Aids
Many people suffer partial hearing loss which may be due to: the small bones of the middle ear are damaged, or have fused together, and do not carry sound vibrations to the cochlea very well. The actual receptors (the hair cells in the cochlea) are working perfectly, but the sound vibrations are not being conducted to them properly. the hair cell receptors in the cochlea are damaged and have lost their sensitivity. They still work, but require a louder sound to reach the theshold at which they respond. These people can often be helped by a hearing aid.

Cochlear Implants
Some people are born totally deaf, or become profoundly deaf due to an infectious disease or inherited disorder in which the receptor hair cells of the cochlea die. These patients cannot benefit from a hearing aid, but may be helped by a cochlear implant. Basically, this involves an electronic device being implanted into the skull, with one or more electrodes connecting it to the auditory nerve. Sounds are picked up by a microphone and electronically analysed by a processor unit carried in a pocket. The processor converts the sounds into a set of electrical signals suited to the patients exact requirements. These signals are transmitted as radio waves through the flesh to the cochlear implant which was placed in the skull by surgery. Electrical signals are carried by an electrode and stimulate the auditory nerve, which fires nerve signals to the brain. The brain interprets these nerve signals as the hearing of sounds, but these will NOT be the same sensations as in normal hearing. The patient will need to learn how to interpret the sensations being heard, rather like having to learn a new language.

A hearing aid consists of a miniature microphone and amplifier system. In its simplest form it picks up sound and sends amplified sounds down the persons ear canal. Modern aids are more sophisticated than being merely amplifiers. Usually the device only amplifies the sound frequencies most commonly used for speech, and ignores the background noise frequencies. Also, the patient can be tested to determine which precise frequencies they are most sensitive to, and the hearing aid is programmed to send its amplified sounds at those frequencies.
The Energy Change occurring is: Sound Electrical Signals Sound (louder, at selected frequencies)

The Energy Change occurring is: Sound Electrical Signals (Microphone & Processor) Radio Electrical Waves Signals (Transmitter) (Implant & Electrode) Nerve Signals (Auditory Nerve)

Limitations
The procedure is very expensive. Adults who became deaf after learning to speak are often helped, but those born profoundly deaf and given an implant as adults rarely learn to interpret the new sensations. They have learned to cope with deafness and often do not benefit from a cochlear implant. Children born deaf can learn to hear and speak with an implant, but it takes years of training and therapy. If there is damage to the auditory nerve as well as the cochlea, the implant cannot stimulate a signal that gets to the brain. 21

Limitations
A hearing aid cannot help a patient who is profoundly deaf. If the hair cells of the cochlea are not responsive at all, or if the auditory nerve is unable to conduct a nerve message, then the deafness may be total, and no amount of amplifying the sound will help.
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Worksheet 11

The Ear & Hearing


Student Name ........................................ As well as sound-detecting organs called r)........................ in their heads, fish are equipped with a s)....................... line of sensory organs. These are sensitive to even slight t)........................ changes in the water and allows them to detect approaching u)............................ and co-ordinate swimming with the rest of their school. Humans can detect sounds with frequencies from about v)...........Hz to about w)...................Hz. Bats and x)................................. can detect much higher frequencies (up to about y)..................Hz) which are used as z)................................. to navigate and detect prey. Many animals are also sensitive to very low frequencies. For example, aa)................................... sing to communicate over very long range in the ocean. Kangaroo rats are sensitive to sounds as low as ab)............Hz, which allows them to ac)........................................................................... There are 2 main technologies available to help people with hearing loss. Hearing Aids work by basically ad)................................. sounds, while ae)............................ Implants work by direct stimulation of the af)..................... which bypasses a non-functional ag)..................................

Fill in the blanks To hear a sound the following organs, events and energy transformations occur: Sound waves are collected by the a)............................. or external ear and funnelled into the b)....................................... ....................... Next, they strike the eardrum or c).................. .................... and cause it to vibrate. Behind the eardrum are the Ear d)................................ which are tiny bones of the e)....................... Ear. They pass the vibration to the f).......................... Window. Vibrations now become g)...................... waves in the fluid of the h)................................... Within this spiral structure is the Organ of i)......................... which contains the actual sensory cells, known as j).................................. cells. When these are stimulated by pressure waves they set off nerve signals which travel along the k)............................. Nerve to the brain. The Hair Cells are connected to the structure by hairs, or fibres, of different l)................................ Each length fibre is stimulated by waves of different m)............................ Signals from different cells are interpreted in the brain as sounds of different n)...................................... Other animals detect sounds in very different ways. Insects are equipped with simple plates or o)........................... which p).................................. when hit by sound waves. These may be located on their q).................... or other parts of the body.

Worksheet 12

Test Questions section 6 Student Name ........................................ Mark values shown are suggestions only, and indicate the depth of answer required. Answer on reverse if insufficient space.
1. (4 marks) State the function of the: a) ear ossicles. b) auditory nerve. c) round window. d) hair cells of the Organ of Corti. 4. (5 marks) Contrast the different frequencies of sound detected by humans, bats and nocturnal animals such as the kangaroo rat. For the non-human examples, discuss how their sound detection may be linked to survival.

2. (3 marks) Explain how structures within the inner ear can differentiate between waves of different frequency and thereby allow the perception of pitch.

3. (2 marks) Outline how a fish detects sounds and other vibrations in its environment.
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5. (6 marks) Evaluate the Cochlear Implant technology by outlining how it works. conditions under which the technology will assist hearing. limitations of the technology.

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7. NERVE SIGNALS & THE BRAIN


Neurones, Neuronal Fibres & Nerves
Whats the difference? A single nerve cell is called a neuron. This simple diagram might represent one nerve cell, or neuron. A neuronal fibre is a series of neurons joined end-to-end, forming a single pathway for signals to be carried. A nerve is a bundle (of perhaps thousands) of neuronal fibres, all connecting a part of the body to the brain.

The Threshold Potential


A neuron will not fire at all unless it receives a certain minimum stimulus. This minimum stimulation is called the Threshold Potential. If the neuron receives a signal which is below the theshold, the membrane depolarisation does not occur and no signal is sent. This prevents insignificant events, or tiny accidental stimuli from causing signals which could overload the system with trivial, distracting signals.
of depolarisation which travels the length of the neuron. This stimulus does NOT cause neuron to fire

Action Potential

How a Nerve Signal is Carried


Nerve signals are often described as electrical, and the carrying of signals along a nerve is compared to the flow of electricity (a stream of electrons) in a wire.
Nerve signals from other neurones enter at this end This analogy is not very accurate at all! In a nerve cell, or neuron, there is no flow of particles through the cell. Cell body Instead, there is awave of Nucleus depolarisation along the neuron, like a mexican wave moving through a crowd of people. The electrical charges involved are Na+ ions flowing into the cell at right angles to the movement of the signal. Between signals, Na ions are pumped out of the cell, creating an electrical difference between inside and outside of the membrane. This is said to be polarized. When the neurone fires, a region of the membrane suddenly becomes permeable to Na+ ions. They flood inwards, depolarising that part of the cell. This sets off the next region of the membrane, and the next...
+

Electrical Potential across neurone membrane

Threshold Potential

Resting Potential
(the nerve impulse lasts about 1 millisecond)

Time

Long, th hin a axon of a ne eurone is cov vere ed in a fa atty, insulati ion la aye er

Signal carrie d in this dire ction only, b mexican wa ya ve of memb rane depola risation

The result is that the conduction of a nerve signal is an all-or-nothing situation: if the stimulus is less than the threshold value, no signal is carried, but once the threshold is reached, a full action potential signal will travel along the neuron. Prac Work: Examining Nerves You may have viewed microscope slides or electron micrographs to get a better understanding of nerves and neurons.
Light Microscope View of Teased Nerve Tissue A nerve has been teased with a needle to separate the neuronal fibres. The separate neurons are clearly visible, and in some you can see the fatty insulating layer wrapped around the length of the cell.

...so the nerve signal travels the length of the neuron as each section depolarises. Messages jump from this end

into the next nerve cell.

Inside of neuron

Insulating layer

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Structure & Function of the Brain


The syllabus requires that you can identify the basic structural parts of the brain, and those functional areas which are relevant to communication. As part of your studies you may have examined an animals brain (e.g. from a sheep) or a model of the human brain. The structural and functional parts of the brain required by the syllabus are indicated below.

STRUCTURAL PARTS of the BRAIN

FUNCTIONAL PARTS of the BRAIN


VISUAL CORTEX is the area where signals from the eyes are received and interpreted

CEREBRUM (or fore-b brain) contains your memory, senses, and conscious command centres. The Cerebrum is divided into a left and right side. FRONT

BACK

MEDULLA OBLONGATA (or brain-s stem) controls many automatic functions (e.g. heartbeat) CEREBELLUM (or hind-b brain) is mainly associated with co-o ordination SPINAL CORD

AUDITORY CORTEX is the area where signals from the ears are received and interpreted

The Importance of Correct Interpretation


Receiving sensory information in the brain is just the first step in animal behaviour. For the information to be of any value to the survival of the animal, the input from the eyes and ears must be correctly interpreted by the brain. For example, imagine a rabbit whose brain receives the following information: Whooshing sound detected by ears. Eyes detect moving object in the sky. Image is eagle-shaped. A moment later, the same image appears larger. The rabbit has only seconds to live unless its brain interprets this information correctly as extreme danger approaching. Its brain must send out the appropriate commands to take evasive action and duck into its burrow or else it will become lunch.
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Sound and Light waves

The rabbit has an inherited instinct to take evasive action at any sudden movement or noise. Additionally, its brain may have memories of previous encounters with predators. Whether by instinct or experience, an appropriate, rapid response to sensory signals is of enormous survival value to the rabbit.

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Worksheet 13

Nerves & Brain


Student Name ........................................ The main structural parts of the brain are the: m)............................................... or fore-brain. This contains all the higher brain functions including sensory reception, memory and motor areas. n).................................... or hind-brain, is mainly concerned with o)..................................... of body movements. p).............................................or brain-stem, which is responsible for automatic functions such as q)................................................ Your sense of sight is located in the cerebrum in the r)............................. cortex at the s).......................... of the brain (front/back/sides). Perception of sound is located in t).................................... cortex at u)............................. of the brain. COMPLETED WORKSHEETS BECOME SECTION SUMMARIES the the

Fill in the blanks A single nerve cell is called a a)............................ Nerve cells connect end-to-end to form a b)........................... fibre. Thousands of these may be bundled together (inside a sheath of tissue) to form a c)......................, which connects a part of the body to the d)............................. The conduction of a nerve signal through a neuron involves the flow of e)............................. ions from the outside of the cell to the inside, in a wave of f)..................................., which moves along the neuron rather like a g).................................... moving through a crowd of people. In between signals, the cell uses energy to h)...................... the ions out through the cell membrane to re-establish the polarised resting potential. The conduction of an impulse occurs i)............................ direction in the cell, and is an j).....................-nothing situation. If the cell receives a stimulus of strength below the k).......................................................... it will not respond. If the stimulus is above (k), a full l)................. ................................ occurs, and is conducted along the cell.

Worksheet 14

Test Questions section 7 Student Name ........................................ Mark values shown are suggestions only, and indicate the depth of answer required. Answer on reverse if insufficient space.
4. (2 marks) The conduction of a nerve impulse is often described as an all-or-nothing situation. Explain this statement by discussing the effect of stimuli of different strength on the response by the neuron. 5. (6 marks) a) Identify the major structural parts of the brain shown as P,Q & R in this diagram.

1. (2 marks) Differentiate between a neuron and a nerve.

2. (4 marks) Nerve impulses are sometimes described as being electrical, and compared to the flow of electrons in a wire. Discuss the accuracy of this analogy with reference to the conduction of a nerve signal through a neuron.

3. (4 marks) Represent the action potential of a nerve impulse in a graphical way. Show and label the resting potential, threshold potential and action potential on your graph. Numerical values are not required, but graph axes should be labelled.

Q R P

b) Mark and label the diagram to show the names and locations of the areas of the brain associated with the perception of sight and hearing.
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CONCEPT DIAGRAM (Mind Map) OF TOPIC


In all the Core Topics you were given examples of a Mind Map as a way to summarise the content of the topic. If you have found this useful then you may want to do it again. By now you should have developed the skills to do it yourself...

Structure & Function of the Eye

Detecting & Responding

Forming a Clear Image

Image to Nerve Signal

COMMUNICATION

Nerve Signals & the Brain

Sound Communication Structure & Function of the Ear

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Answer Section
Worksheet 1
a) transfer of information b) stimuli c) Receptor/Sensory d) eyes and ears e) Messenger f) nerves & brain g) Affector h) muscles i) Response j) sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste k) electric or magnetic l) sight m) pat on back/holding hands/ hug, etc n) speech o) sight p) kookaburra territorial laughing (many others) q) touch r) smell

Worksheet 3
a) protects the cornea b) Cornea c) refract / focus d) Aqueous e) shape of the corneaf) the amount of light g) lens h) refracts/focuses i) Ciliary j) Vitreous k) jelly l) maintains its shape m) Retina n) absorb o) nerve messages p) nourish q) internal reflections in the eyeball r) Sclera s) shape t) Optic u) Retina to the brain v) 400 to 700 w) nanometres (nm) x) colours y) red z) violet aa) longer ab) infra-red ac) detect their prey in total darkness ad) shorter ae) ultra-violet af) navigate, and find flowers

Worksheet 2
These are model answers only. There may be more than one correct answer. 1. The Stimulus-Response pathway: Stimulus detected by Receptor organs (e.g. eyes) Signal carried and interpreted by Messenger organs, such as nerves and brain. These relay signals to the Affector organs (e.g. muscles) which act to form the Response. 2. Platypus can detect weak electrical fields (from nerve and muscle signals in other animals) with receptors in their bill. They use this sense to detect prey such as yabbies. Some migrating birds, such as shearwaters (mutton birds) can detect the Earths magnetic field and use it to navigate. 3. Many animals (e.g. frogs) use sound as mating calls to attract potential mates. Many others (e.g. kookaburras) use sounds to proclaim their territory to others of the same species. 4. Humans communicate by sight, with facial expressions and body language. Another visual communication is the use of hand signals such as in police traffic control, or signing for deaf people. Many emotions are communicated by the sense of touch, such as hugging or holding hands. 5. Moths and other insects release pheromones...chemicals which others can smell at very low levels, to attract mates. Many mammals, such as bears and dogs, mark their territory with their droppings and/or urine. Others of their species can smell these markers.
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Worksheet 4
These are model answers only. There may be more than one correct answer. 1. a) Iris b) Retina c) Optic Nerve d) Lens e) Conjunctiva 2. a) Controls the shape of the lens for focussing. b) These transparent liquid/jelly materials allow light through, while maintaining the shape of eyeball/cornea. c) Contains blood vessels to carry nutrients to retina cells. Also contains pigments to absorb any light not collected by the retina. This prevents internal reflections, which could be very confusing to your sight perception. 3. a) Wavelength is the distance from crest to crest, or trough to trough of a wave.
Wavelength

b) 400 to 700 nanometres (nm) approximately. c) 400nm wave seen as violet. 700nm seen as red. 4. Animal Range of Wavelengths (nm) Human 400-700 Bee 300-700 Rattlesnake 450-850

5. Bees use short wavelength (ultra-violet) vision to navigate and to find flowers which may have patterns only visible in ultra-violet. Therefore, their vision is an adaptation which helps survival. Rattlesnakes detect the infra-red (heat radiation) from their warm-blooded prey even in total darkness. Therefore, this is a survival adaptation also. 27

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Worksheet 5
a) travels from one medium to another b) convex c) concave d) focus light/ form an image e) shorter f) shape g) accommodation h) Ciliary Body i) thinner j) more curved/ fatter k) Aqueous & Vitreous Humors l) Retina m) stereoscopic n) on the same object together o) 3-dimensional p) distances q) short-sightedness r) distant s) long t) in front of u) concave v) Hyperopia w) accommodate / change shape x) close y) behind z) convex aa) Lens ab) opaque/cloudy ac) a plastic lens ad) poverty ae) developing

3. b) i)

Lens unable to become thick enough to focus image on retina

Close object

Focus position is behind the retina

ii)

Convex lens in spectacles

Image now focused on retina

Worksheet 6
These are model answers only. There may be more than one correct answer. 1.
Image on Retina Muscles of Ciliary Body relax. Lens has thinner shape.

Muscles of Ciliary Body pull lens into thicker shape

Distant object

4. a) the Lens becomes cloudy and blocks light from reaching the Retina. b) The cloudy lens material is removed (by suction) through a small incision in the cornea. A flexible plastic lens is inserted into the lens capsule. The procedure takes only 30 minutes under local anaesthetic. c) In developing countries in Africa, Asia & the Pacific region, cataracts causes blindness in many people who cannot afford treatment. They cannot work or farm and become a burden on family and community. The treatment (in (b)) can be done cheaply and quickly and restore people to productive lives. This is a really effective and attainable way to help break the poverty cycle and raise living standards in poorer nations. 5. Myopia can be corrected by: spectacles containing concave lenses. contact lenses. These are flexible, plastic lenses worn in contact with the conjunctiva, and do the same job as spectacles. Laser surgery can precisely re-shape the cornea so it refracts light to a clear focus on the retina, and no spectacles or contacts are needed.

Close object

2. When both eyes focus on the same object together, the brain receives 2 images of the same thing, but from slightly different angles. From this we are able to accurately judge distances, for example for walking on uneven ground. 3. a) Hyperopia is when a person can focus on distant objects, but close objects are unclear... long-sightedness. It is commonly caused by the lens losing its flexibility (due to aging, for example... this is why many people need reading glasses as they get older.) and not being able to become thick enough to accommodate fully.

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Worksheet 7
a) Rod b) different colours c) Cone d) wavelengths e) colour f) dull/low g) less h) Fovea i) rhodopsin j) absorbs k) nerve l) red, green & blue m) green n) distinguishing some red and green colours o) attract mates p) warn other males to stay away. q) try to mate with another species r) poisonous or bad-tasting s) compound t) ommatidia u) many, overlapping images v) slight movements w)cup-shaped depressions x) images y) light and dark

5. a) The human eye has one lens-retina optical system, while an insects compound eye contains thousands of ommatidia. Each is a separate optical system, like a separate eye. The flatworm has only light-sensitive cups, with no lens or imaging system at all. b) Humans see one, very detailed image from each eye. Insects see thousands of narrow-angle, lowresolution images covering nearly the entire surroundings. The Flatworm sees no image. It can simply detect light and dark.

Worksheet 9
a) produced b) different sounds have different meanings c) transparent d) vibrating e) waves f) vacuum g) frequency h) hertz (Hz) i) pitch j) higher freq. = higher pitch, lower freq.= lower pitch k) lower the frequency l) higher the frequency m) larynx n) trachea (windpipe) o) vocal p) pitch q) swim bladder r) fins or gill covers s) rubbing legs or wings together.

Worksheet 8
These are model answers only. There may be more than one correct answer.
1. Distribution Sensitivity Different Wavelengths? Rods Everywhere except Fovea Work well in dull light No colour sensitivity Cones Fovea only less sensitive; work only in good light Can detect different colours

Worksheet 10
These are model answers only. There may be more than one correct answer. 1. Sounds can be easily produced. (Light is much more difficult for a living thing to make) Sounds can be easily varied to produce different calls to have different meanings. Sound does not rely on night or day, or on transparent substances to travel through. 2. a) Sound waves from tuning forks of different frequency were fed via a microphone into a computer. The software displayed the sounds graphically, so that wavelengths could be compared to the frequency and the pitch heard. b) higher frequency = higher pitch, lower frequency = lower pitch. higher frequency = shorter wavelength, lower frequency = longer wavelength. 3. a) Sounds are produced in the larynx. The vocal cords vibrate, and produce sounds, in the airflow through the trachea. Muscles can alter the tension of the vocal cords so they vibrate faster or slower. This changes the frequency and pitch of the sounds. b) The sounds are modified by the positioning of lips, teeth & tongue, and by the shape of the mouth, soft palate and use of the nasal cavity. 29

2. Rhodopsins role is to absorb light and initiate the sending of a message to the brain. Thus it is the actual receptor molecule for the sense of sight. 3. People with Red-Green Colour Blindness can see in colour, but are unable to distinguish certain shades of red and green. This is because the green-sensitive cones cells of their Fovea are missing or non-functional. When green light wavelengths strike the retina, some of the energy is absorbed by red-sensitive cone cells. The brain interprets the signal as seeing a red colour. 4. Monarch butterflies are coloured bright orange as a warning to potential predators that they are bad-tasting, and best left alone. Stickleback fish are usually silver, but in the breeding season the males develop a bright red colour which attracts females, and warns other males away.

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Worksheet 10 (cont)
4. Many fish produce sounds by vibrating their swim bladder, or clicking fins and gill covers. Insects such as cicadas, rub legs or wings together to cause vibrations which create sounds. These are amplified by resonance in hollow air spaces in the abdomen.

4. Humans can hear sounds in the range 2020,000Hz approx. Bats can hear (and produce) sounds as high as about 150,000Hz. They use these as SONAR to navigate and hunt prey in darkness, by emitting squeaks of sound, and detecting the echoes. The kangaroo Rat is sensitive to sounds as low as 1Hz. This allows them to detect approaching predators in the dark, such as hearing the silent wing beats of an owl. 5. Sounds are picked up by a microphone and electronically analysed by a processor unit. This sends signals to a transmitter which beams radio waves to the actual cochlear implant, which has been surgically placed in the skull. This sends electrical signals via an electrode to the Auditory Nerve, which is stimulated to carry impulses to the brain. Cochlear Implants may help in cases where the Hair Cells in the Organ of Corti are dead or nonfunctional. Cannot restore hearing if the deafness is due to damage to the Auditory Nerve. Requires extensive therapy and learning because the sensations received by the brain are not the same as normal hearing.

Worksheet 11
a) Pinna b) Outer Ear Canal c) Tympanic Membrane d) Ossicles e) Middle f) Oval g) pressure h) Cochlea i) Corti j) Hair k) Auditory l) length m) frequency n) pitch o) membranes p) vibrate q) legs r) labyrinths s) lateral t) pressure u) predators v) 20 w) 20,000 x) dolphins y) 150,000 z) SONAR/echolocation aa) Humpback whales ab) 1 Hz ac) detect approaching predators ad) amplifying ae) Cochlear af) nerve ag) Cochlea

Worksheet 12
These are model answers only. There may be more than one correct answer. 1. a) Conduct vibrations from eardrum to cochlea. b) Carry nerve impulses from cochlea to brain. c) Allow pressure waves to escape from the cochlea. d) Receptor cells which initiate nerve impulses when stimulated by sound vibrations. 2. The Hair Cells are attached to the membranes of the Organ of Corti by fibres of different length. Only certain frequencies of sound will cause vibration of each length of fibre. Vibrating fibres distort cell membranes and this initiates a nerve impulse. The brain interprets pitch according to which Hair Cells it receives impulses from. 3. Fish have sound detecting labyrinth organs located in their heads. These have no external canal, and work very differently to a mammals ear. Additionally, they have a line of sensory organs running the length of the body. This lateral line is sensitive to pressure changes in the water, so they can hear pressure differences due to movements of others around them.
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Worksheet 13
a) neuron c) nerve e) sodium (Na+) g) mexican wave i) in only one k) threshold potential m) cerebrum o) co-ordination q) heartbeat s) back u) sides b) neuronal d) brain f) depolarisation h) pump j) all-orl) action potential n) cerebellum p) medulla oblongata r) visual t) auditory

Worksheet 14
These are model answers only. There may be more than one correct answer. 1. A neuron is a single nerve cell. A nerve is a bundle of thousands of neurons and neural fibres (chains of neurons end-to-end).

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Worksheet 14 (cont)
2. The analogy is not very accurate at all. A neuron is not a good electrical conductor, and no electric charges flow the length of the cell. A nerve impulse is an electrochemical depolarisation in which sodium ions flow into the cell from the outside when the membrane suddenly becomes permeable to them. The impulse is initiated at one end of the cell, and a wave of depolarisation then moves along the cell, like a mexican wave in a crowd. Between signals, the cell pumps sodium ions out, to re-establish the polarisation or resting potential. 3.
of depolarisation which travels the length of the neuron This stimulus does NOT cause neuron to fire

4. If the stimulus is below the threshold potential the neuron will not fire. (see graph) If the stimulus exceeds the threshold, a full action potential depolarisation event will travel the length of the cell. The cell will then reestablish its resting potential ready for the next stimulus. 5. a) P=cerebellum, Q= cerebrum, R= medulla oblongata b)
Visual Cortex (sight) Auditory Cortex (hearing)

Action Potential

Electrical Potential across neuron membrane

Threshold Potential

Resting Potential
Time

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