This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Preparing to Read
Before you begin reading your textbook, find
a quiet and comfortable place to read. A good
place to study allows you to focus on your work
and better comprehend what you read.
Before you begin to read a new chapter, look
through the chapter to see what subject matter is
presented. Look at the chapter title and each sec-
tion title. Ask yourself what you already know and
what you would like to learn about these topics.
Each section contains a list of
objectives that tell you what you
will learn. Try to recall what you
already know about the objectives.
When you finish reading each sec-
tion, read the objectives again to
check that you understand them.
At the beginning of each section,
there are two vocabulary lists. One
reviews a vocabulary word and defi-
nition from a previous chapter.
Another lists new vocabulary
words. Before you read, write these
words on a piece of paper. In your
own words, write definitions of the
words that are familiar to you.
Check this list and fill in definitions
for new words while you read.
Active reading is the process of thinking about
what you are reading while you read. It requires
you to read at a slower pace, frequently stopping
to check that you understand what you are read-
ing. As you practice this type of reading, you
should be better able to understand what you are
reading and retain the information longer.
Using Your Textbook
As an active reader, there are several textbook
features you can use to check your understand-
ing. For example, figures and tables are refer-
enced in the textbook in boldface italic type.
When you come across a figure or
table reference, stop. Study the fig-
ure or table. Notice any arrows or
labels. Read the caption. Figures
and tables often are summaries of
important information and can be
useful references when studying for
quizzes and exams.
You will notice questions called
Reading Checks throughout the text.
Use them to make sure you under-
stand the main idea of the previous
paragraphs before you read on. If
you cannot answer the question, go
back and reread the paragraph.
Practice Problem 1 Create a
checklist that you can use to remind
yourself of things to do before you
read that can help you be a more
eading a science textbook is different than reading a novel. Reading science
requires you to read slowly and carefully, paying close attention to details.
The goal of reading a science textbook is to have a thorough understanding of
what you read and to be able to retain the information presented. Here are
some suggestions for reading Biology: The Dynamics of Life.
Relate advances in micro-
scope technology to dis-
coveries about cells and
Compare the operation
of a compound light micro-
scope with that of an elec-
Identify the main ideas of
the cell theory.
organization: the orderly
structure of cells in an
organism (p. 7)
compound light microscope
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SKILL HANDBOOK 1093 SKILL HANDBOOK 1093
While you read this textbook, you will be look-
ing for important ideas, or concepts. One way to
organize these concepts is to create a concept
map. A concept map is similar to a road map but
instead of showing relationships among locations,
it shows relationships among concepts.
Developing your own concept maps while you
read will help you better understand and remem-
ber what you read. Three styles of concept maps
that you might find useful are events chains, cycle
maps, and network trees.
Events Chain An events-chain concept map is
used to describe a sequence of events. These
events could include the steps in a procedure or
the stages of a process. When making an events-
chain map, first identify the initiating event—the
event that starts the sequence. Continue adding
events in chronological order until you reach an
outcome. An example of an events-chain map is
Practice Problem 2 Create an events-chain
concept map to display the steps you take to get
ready for school.
Cycle Map In a cycle concept map, the series of
events do not produce a final outcome. The last
event in the chain relates back to the initiating
event. Therefore, the cycle repeats itself. Follow
the stages shown below in the cycle map of blood
flow through the human circulatory system.
Network Tree A network tree concept map
shows the relationship among concepts. Circled
words, or concepts, are written in order from
general to specific. In the network tree below,
the most general concept is Populations. The
next two concepts, Autotrophs and Heterotrophs,
are subcategories of communities. The words
written on the lines between the circles, called
linking words, describe the relationships among
the concepts. Together, the concepts and the
linking words can form a sentence. For example,
Populations are made up of heterotrophs, which
include carnivores such as lions.
Practice Problem 3 Create a three-level net-
work tree concept map about the different types
of concept maps.
You see the butterfly.
Rods and cones send
messages to your cerebrum.
Your lens focuses the
light on the retina.
Light reflected from a
butterfly enters your pupil.
such as such as
are made up of
such as such as
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1094 SKILL HANDBOOK 1094 SKILL HANDBOOK
Instructions on how to create Foldable™
graphic organizers are featured in each chapter
of the book. As you read the chapter, fill in the
sections of your Foldable as part of your active
reading process. When you finish reading a
chapter, fill in any missing or incomplete infor-
mation in your Foldable. Then use it to review
for quizzes and exams on that topic. An example
of a Foldable is shown below.
Chapter and section headings provide a
framework to start a chapter outline. As you
read, add details under the heads to create an
outline of the chapter that includes key concepts
and vocabulary words. Use the chapter outline
to learn the new material and to review for tests
Review for Understanding
Reviewing a chapter can be approached in two
ways. One way is to memorize definitions and
key concepts. If you’ve ever attempted this review
method, you may have experienced sitting in an
exam and drawing a blank when trying to think of
an answer. Simply memorizing the information
makes it difficult to remember it for very long.
Another way to review a chapter is to attempt
to gain an understanding of it. If you study a
process in biology, such as respiration, take the
time to understand how each step in the process
contributes to the end result—the release of
energy that cells can use.
Get the Big Picture
When a new concept is introduced, it is
important to learn how the idea fits into the
“Big Picture.” Ask yourself, “How does this
new concept relate to the other things that I have
learned?” Learning how concepts are interre-
lated increases your understanding of each part.
Using an Analogy
An analogy is a relationship between two dif-
ferent things that have some characteristics in
common. For example, nerve cells can be analo-
gous to telephone wires. Both use electric cur-
rent to transmit signals from one location to
another. Creating an analogy between some-
thing you are familiar with, such as telephone
wires, and something new that you are learning
about can make complex ideas easier to under-
stand and remember.
When using an analogy, it is important to
know how the two concepts are different. For
example, if two wires are joined to make a single
wire, the current in the single wire is the sum of
the currents in the two wires. However, the cur-
rent in a nerve cell does not depend on its con-
nections to other nerve cells. All signals are
transmitted with the same current. A nerve cell
is either transmitting a signal or it’s at rest.
Section and Chapter Assessments
Assessment questions allow you to test your
knowledge at the end of a section or chapter. If
you cannot answer a question, go back and
reread the section of the chapter that discusses
the material. If you are still having trouble, make
a note to ask your teacher.
The Cell Theory
Summarize After you read Section 7.1, summarize the three main ideas of
the cell theory in your own words. Review the theory using the information
provided and note its strengths and weaknesses.
The Cell Theory Make the following Foldable to help you
organize the ideas of the cell theory.
Collect 2 sheets of paper and
layer them about 1.5 cm apart vertically.
Keep the edges level.
Fold up the bottom
edges of the paper to form 4
Fold the papers and crease well to
hold the tabs in place. Staple along the fold.
Label each tab with one of the main ideas of
the cell theory.
1092-1106 Skill BDOL EM-829900 8/5/04 3:06 AM Page 1094
SKILL HANDBOOK 1095 SKILL HANDBOOK 1095
ORIGIN MEANING EXAMPLE
ad (L) to, toward adaxial
aero (G) air aerobic
an (G) without anaerobic
ana (G) up anaphase
andro (G) male androecium
angio (G) vessel angiosperm
anth/o (G) flower anthophyte
anti (G) against antibody
aqu/a (L) of water aquatic
archae (G) ancient archaebacteria
arthro, artio (G) jointed arthropod
askos (G) bag ascospore
aster (G) star Asteroidea
autos (G) self autoimmune
bi (L) two bipedal
bio (G) life biosphere
carn (L) flesh carnivore
cephalo (G) head cephalopod
chlor (G) light green chlorophyll
chroma (G) pigmented chromosome
cide (L) to kill insecticide
circ (L) circular circadian
cocc/coccus (G) small and round streptococcus
con (L) together convergent
cyte (G) cell cytoplasm
de (L) remove decompose
dendron (G) tree dendrite
dent (L) tooth edentate
derm (G) skin epidermis
di (G) two disaccharide
ORIGIN MEANING EXAMPLE
dia (G) apart diaphragm
dorm (L) sleep dormancy
echino (G) spiny echinoderm
ec (G) outer ecosystem
endo (G) within endosperm
epi (G) upon epidermis
eu (G) true eukaryote
exo (G) outside exoskeleton
fer (L) to carry conifer
gastro (G) stomach gastropod
gen/(e)(o) (G) kind genotype
genesis (G) to originate oogenesis
gon (G) reproductive archegonium
gravi (L) heavy gravitropism
gymn/o (G) naked gymnosperm
gyn/e (G) female gynoecium
hal(o) (G) salt halophyte
hapl(o) (G) single haploid
hemi (G) half hemisphere
hem(o) (G) blood hemoglobin
herb/a(i) (L) vegetation herbivore
heter/o (G) different heterotrophic
hom(e)/o (G) same homeostasis
hom (L) human hominid
hydr/o (G) water hydrolysis
inter (L) between internode
intra (L) within intracellular
is/o (G) equal isotonic
Understanding Scientific Terms
his list of prefixes, suffixes, and roots is provided to help you understand
science terms used throughout this biology textbook. The list identifies
whether the prefix, suffix, or root is of Greek (G) or Latin (L) origin. Also listed
is the meaning of the prefix, suffix, or root and a science word in which it is used.
1092-1106 Skill BDOL EM-829900 8/5/04 3:07 AM Page 1095
1096 SKILL HANDBOOK
ORIGIN MEANING EXAMPLE
kary (G) nucleus eukaryote
kera (G) hornlike keratin
leuc/o (G) white leukocyte
logy (G) study of biology
lymph/o (L) water lymphocyte
lysis (G) break up dialysis
macr/o (G) large macromolecule
meg/a (G) great megaspore
meso (G) in the middle mesophyll
meta (G) after metaphase
micr/o (G) small microscope
mon/o (G) only one monocotyledon
morph/o (G) form morphology
nema (G) a thread nematode
neuro (G) nerve neuron
nod (L) knot nodule
nomy(e) (G) system of laws taxonomy
olig/o (G) small, few oligochaete
omni (L) all omnivore
orni(s) (G) bird ornithology
oste/o (G) bone formation osteocyte
ov (L) an egg oviduct
pal(a)e/o (G) ancient paleontology
para (G) beside parathyroid
path/o (G) suffering pathogen
ped (L) foot centipede
per (L) through permeable
peri (G) around, about peristalsis
phag/o (G) eating phagocyte
phot/o (G) light photosynthesis
phyl (G) race, class phylogeny
phyll (G) leaf chlorophyll
phyte (G) plant epiphyte
ORIGIN MEANING EXAMPLE
pinna (L) feather pinnate
plasm/o (G) to form plasmodium
pod (G) foot gastropod
poly (G) many polymer
post (L) after posterior
pro (G) (L) before prokaryote
prot/o (G) first protocells
pseud/o (G) false pseudopodium
re (L) back to original reproduce
rhiz/o (G) root rhizoid
scope (G) to look microscope
some (G) body lysosome
sperm (G) seed gymnosperm
stasis (G) remain constant homeostasis
stom (G) mouthlike opening stomata
syn (G) together synapse
tel/o (G) end telophase
terr (L) of Earth terrestrial
therm (G) heat endotherm
thylak (G) sack thylakoid
trans (L) across transpiration
trich (G) hair trichome
trop/o (G) a change gravitropism
trophic (G) nourishment heterotrophic
uni (L) one unicellular
vacc/a (L) cow vaccine
vore (L) eat greedily omnivore
xer/o (G) dry xerophyte
zo/o (G) living being zoology
zygous (G) two joined homozygous
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SKILL HANDBOOK 1097
Experimental data is often expressed using
numbers and units. The following sections pro-
vide an overview of the common system of units
and some calculations involving units.
Measure in SI
The International System of Measurement,
abbreviated SI, is accepted as the standard for
measurement throughout most of the world.
The SI system contains seven base units. All
other units of measurement can be derived from
these base units by multiplying the units by
factors of 10 or by combining units.
When units are multiplied by factors of 10,
new units are created. For example, if a base unit
is multiplied by 1000, the new unit has the prefix
kilo. One thousand meters is equal to 1 kilo-
meter. Prefixes for some units are shown below.
Some units are derived by combining base
units. For example, units for volume are derived
from units of length. A liter (L) is a cubic
, or dm ϫ dm ϫ dm). Units of
density (g/L) are derived from units of mass (g)
and units of volume (L).
To convert a given unit to a unit with a differ-
ent factor of ten, multiply the unit by a conver-
sion factor. A conversion factor is a ratio equal to
one. The equivalents in Table SH.2 can be used
to make such a ratio. For example, 1 km ϭ 1000 m.
Two conversion factors can be made from this
To convert one unit to another factor of 10,
choose the conversion factor that has the unit
you are converting from in the denominator.
A unit can be multiplied by several conversion
factors to obtain the desired unit.
Practice Problem 4 How would you change
1000 milligrams to kilograms?
The following formulas can be used to
convert between Fahrenheit and Celsius
temperatures. Notice that each equation can
be obtained by algebraically rearranging the
other. Therefore, you only need to remember
one of the equations.
Conversion of Fahrenheit to Celsius
Conversion of Celsius to Fahrenheit
°F ϭ 1.8(°C) ϩ 32
°C ϭ (°F) Ϫ 32
1 km ϫ
ϭ 1000 m
ϭ 1 and
1 km 1000 m
Table SH.1 SI Base Units
Measurement Unit Symbol
Length meter m
Mass kilogram kg
Time second s
Electric current ampere A
Temperature kelvin K
Amount of substance mole mol
Intensity of light candela cd
Table SH.2 Common SI Prefixes
Prefix Symbol Equivalents
mega M ϭ 1 000 000 base units
kilo k ϭ 1000 base units
hecto h ϭ 100 base unit
deka da ϭ 10 base units
deci d ϭ 1 ϫ 10
centi c ϭ 1 ϫ 10
milli m ϭ 1 ϫ 10
micro µ ϭ 1 ϫ 10
nano n ϭ 1 ϫ 10
pico p ϭ 1 ϫ 10
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1098 SKILL HANDBOOK
Magnification describes how much larger an
object appears when viewed through a micro-
scope compared to the unaided eye. Look for
numbers marked with an ϫ on the eyepiece, the
low-power objective, and the high-power objec-
tive. The ϫ represents how many times the lens
of each microscope part magnifies an object.
To calculate total magnification of any object
viewed under your microscope, multiply the
number on the eyepiece by the number on each
objective. For example, if the eyepiece magnifi-
cation is 4ϫ and the low-power objective magni-
fication is 10ϫ, then the total magnification is
4 ϫ 10, or 40, under low power. If the high-
power objective magnification is 40ϫ, the total mag-
nification is 4 ϫ 40, or 160ϫ, under high power.
Practice Problem 5 Calculate the low-
power and high-power magnification of
a microscope that has an eyepiece with a mag-
nification of 10ϫ, a low-power objective of
40ϫ, and a high-power objective
Calculate Field of View
To measure the field of view of a microscope,
you must use a unit called a micrometer (µm).
There are 1000 micrometers in a millimeter.
Place the millimeter-section of a plastic ruler
over the central opening of
your microscope stage.
Using low power, locate the
lines of the ruler in the cen-
ter of the field of view. Move
the ruler so that one of the
lines representing a millime-
ter is visible at one edge of
the field of view.
Remember that the dis-
tance between two lines is one
millimeter, and estimate the
diameter in millimeters of the
field of view on low power.
Use the conversion factor
given above to calculate the
diameter in micrometers. For example, if the dis-
tance is 1.5 mm, then the diameter of the field of
view at low power is
1.5 mm ϫ 1000 , or 1500 µm.
To calculate the diameter of the high-power
field, divide the magnification of your high
power (40ϫ) by the magnification of the low
power (10ϫ), or 40 Ϭ 10 ϭ 4. Then, divide the
diameter of the low-power field in micrometers
(1500 µm) by this quotient (4). The result is
the diameter of the high-power field in micro-
meters. In this example, the diameter of the
high-power field is 1500 µm Ϭ 4 ϭ 375 µm.
You can calculate the diameters of micro-
scopic specimens, such as pollen grains or amoe-
bas, viewed under low and high power by esti-
mating how many of them could fit end to end
across the field of view. Divide the diameter of
the field of view by the number of specimens.
If you want to know the actual size of any
specimen shown in an electron micrograph in this
textbook, follow these directions:
a. measure the diameter of the
structure in millimeters,
b. multiply this number by 1000
µm/mm to convert the meas-
urement to micrometers,
c. then divide this number by
the magnification given next
to the photograph.
Practice Problem 6
Calculate the actual size of one
of the organisms shown in this
Color-enhanced SEM Magnification: 900ϫ
David M. Phillips/Visuals Unlimited
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SKILL HANDBOOK 1099
Make and Use Tables
Tables help organize data so that it can be
interpreted more easily. Tables are composed of
several components—a title describing the con-
tents of the table, columns and rows that sepa-
rate and organize information, and headings that
describe the information in each column or row.
Looking at this table, you should not only be
able to pick out specific information, such as the
class average heart rate after five minutes of
exercise, but you should also notice trends.
Practice Problem 7 Did the exercise have an
effect on the heart rate five minutes after exer-
cise? How can you tell?
Make and Use Graphs
After scientists organize data in tables, they
often display the data in graphs. A graph is a dia-
gram that shows relationships among variables.
Graphs make interpretation and analysis of data
easier. The three basic types of graphs used in
science are the line graph, the bar graph, and the
Line Graphs A line graph is used to show the
relationship between two variables. The inde-
pendent variable is plotted on the horizontal
axis, called the x-axis. The dependent variable is
plotted on the vertical axis, called the y-axis. The
dependent variable (y) changes as a result of a
change in the independent variable (x).
Suppose a school started a peer-study program
with a class of students to see how the program
affected their science grades. The students’ aver-
age science grades were collected and recorded
every 30 days for the first four months of the
school year. A table of their grades is shown below.
To make a graph of the grades of students in
the program over a period of time, start by
determining the dependent and independent
variables. The average grade of the students in
the program after each time increment is the
dependent variable and is plotted on the y-axis.
The independent variable, or the number of
days, is plotted on the x-axis.
Plain or graph paper can be used to construct
graphs. Draw a grid on your paper or a box
around the squares that you intend to use on
your graph paper. Give your graph a title and
label each axis with a title and units. In this
example, label the number of days on the x-axis.
Because the lowest grade was 81%and the high-
est was 89%, you know that you will have to
start numbering the y-axis at least at 81%and
number to at least 89%. You decide to start
numbering at 80%and number by twos spaced
at equal distances to 90%.
Table SH.4 Average Grades of Students
in Study Program
Time (days) Average Science Grade
Average Grades of Students in Study Program
Table SH.3 Effect of Exercise on Heart Rate
At rest 73 72
After exercise 110 112
1 minute after
5 minutes after
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1100 SKILL HANDBOOK
Begin plotting points by locating 30 days on
the x-axis and 81%on the y-axis. Where an
imaginary vertical line from the x-axis and an
imaginary horizontal line from the y-axis meet,
place the first data point. Place other data points
using the same process. After all the points are
plotted, draw a “best fit” straight line through all
of the points.
What if you want to compare the study group
students’ average grades with the average grades of
another class? The data of the other class can be
plotted on the same graph. Include a key with dif-
ferent lines indicating different sets of data.
Practice Problem 8 Which group began
with the highest average grades?
Practice Problem 9 Which group’s grades
improved the most? By how many points did
the study program students’ grade average
Bar Graphs A bar graph is similar to a
line graph except it is used to show compar-
isons among data or to display data that do
not continuously change. To make a bar graph,
set up the x-axis and y-axis as you did for the
line graph. Plot the data by drawing thick
bars from the x-axis up to the y-axis data point.
Look at the graph above. The independent
variable is the type of insect. The dependent
variable is the number of wing vibrations per
second. It is easy to compare the number of
wing vibrations per second of these insects when
the data is plotted on a bar graph.
Practice Problem 10 How many more wing
vibrations per second does the mosquito have
than the insect with the least number of wing
vibrations per second?
Practice Problem 11 Which type of insect
has the highest number of wing vibrations per
second? Is this more than twice as fast as the
Average Grades of Students in Study Program
30 60 90 120
Average Grades of Two Science Classes
30 60 90 120
Class of study students
Wing Vibration Rates in Insects
(inset)Robert and Linda Mitchell
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SKILL HANDBOOK 1101
Circle Graphs A circle graph consists of a cir-
cle divided into sections that represent parts of a
whole. When all the sections are placed together,
they equal 100 percent of the whole.
Suppose you want to make a circle graph to
show the number of seeds that germinate in a
package. You would first determine the total
number of seeds and the number of seeds that
germinate out of the total. You plant 143 seeds.
Therefore, the whole circle represents this
amount. You find that 129 seeds germinate. The
seeds that germinate make up one section of the
circle graph and the seeds that do not germinate
make up another section.
To find out how much of the circle each
section should cover, divide the number of
seeds that germinate by the total number of
seeds. Then multiply the answer by 360, the
number of degrees in a circle. Round your
answer to the nearest whole number. The sum
of all of the segments of a circle graph should
add up to 360°.
segment of circle for seeds that germinated ϭ
seeds that germinate ϭ 129 ϫ 360° ϭ 324.75° ϭ 325°
total number 143
segment of circle for seeds that did not
germinate ϭ 360° Ϫ 325° ϭ 35°
To draw your circle graph, you will need a
compass and a protractor. First, use the compass
to draw a circle.
Then, draw a straight line from the center to
the edge of the circle. Place your protractor on
this line, and mark the point on the circle where
a 35° angle will intersect the circle. Draw a
straight line from the center of the circle to the
intersection point. This is the section for the
group of seeds that did not germinate. The
other section represents the group of seeds that
If your circle graph has more than two sec-
tions, you will need to construct a segment for
each entry. Place your protractor on the last line
segment that you have drawn and mark off the
appropriate angle. Draw a line segment from the
center of the circle to the new mark on the cir-
cle. Continue this process until all of the seg-
ments have been drawn.
Next, determine the percentages of each part
of the whole. Calculate percentages by dividing
the part by the total and multiplying by 100.
Repeat this calculation for each part.
% seeds that germinate ϭ 129 ϫ 100 ϭ 90.2%
total number of seeds 143
% seeds that do not germinate ϭ
100% Ϫ 90.2%ϭ 9.8%
Complete the graph by labeling the sections
of the graph with percentages and giving the
graph a title. Your completed graph should look
similar to the one below.
Practice Problem 12 There are 25 students
in biology class. Construct a circle graph show-
ing the percentage of students wearing each
color of shirt. Five students are wearing blue
shirts, eight are wearing white shirts, two are
wearing yellow shirts, and 10 are wearing multi-
Percentage of Germinating and
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1102 SKILL HANDBOOK
Scientists use a variety of problem-solving
skills to identify problems and to propose
hypotheses. The following problem-solving
skills are used by all types of scientists.
You may not realize it, but you already use
problem-solving skills. When you stack your
favorite CDs into groups according to recording
artist or when you separate your socks from your
shirts, you are using the skill of classifying.
Classifying is grouping objects or events based
on common features. For example, how would
you classify a collection of CDs based on simi-
larities? First, make careful observations of the
group of items to be classified. Select one feature
that is shared by some items in the group but
not others. For example, you might classify
dance CDs in one subgroup and alternative
music CDs in another. You now have two sub-
groups. Ideally, the items in each subgroup will
have some features in common. Now, examine
the CDs for other features and form further sub-
groups. For example, the CDs you like to dance
to could be subdivided into rap or pop sub-
groups. Continue to identify subgroups until the
items can no longer be distinguished enough to
identify them as distinct.
Practice Problem 13 How would you clas-
sify the following: terrier, canary, boxer, robin,
parakeet, collie, and poodle?
All species may be classified in many different
ways depending on the purpose of the classifica-
tion. They are classified for identification or to
show their evolutionary relationships. One is a
general-purpose classification and the other is a
A sequence is an arrangement of things or
events in a particular order. A common sequence
with which you may be familiar is the sequence
of the seasons in a temperate climate—spring,
summer, autumn, winter. You also follow
sequences of steps when you carry out a
MiniLab or BioLab in this textbook. When you
are asked to create a sequence of events, identify
what comes first. Then decide what should come
second. When you finish placing things or
events in order, go back over the sequence to
make sure each thing or event logically leads to
Compare and Contrast
Observations can be analyzed and then organ-
ized by noting the similarities and differences
between two or more objects or events. When
you examine objects or events to determine sim-
ilarities and differences, you are comparing and
Practice Problem 14 Compare and contrast
a leaf beetle and a weevil beetle. Make your
observations on a piece of paper divided into two
columns. List similarities in one column and dif-
ferences in the other. After completing your
lists, you might report your findings in a table
or a graph.
(t)PhotoDisc, (bl)Mark M. Moffett, (br)Robert & Linda Mitchell
1092-1106 Skill BDOL EM-829900 8/5/04 3:15 AM Page 1102
SKILL HANDBOOK 1103
Observe and Infer
Scientists try to make careful and accurate
observations. Often they use instruments such as
microscopes, binoculars, and tape recorders to
extend their senses. Other instruments, such as
thermometers and pan balances, are used to
make measurements—numerical data that can be
compared, checked, and repeated.
Scientists often use observations to make
inferences. An inference is an attempt to explain
observations. For example, if you observe a bird
at a bird feeder, you might infer that the bird’s
nest is close by. But, the bird may just be passing
through the area. To verify your inference, you
should investigate further.
Investigating requires making thorough and
accurate observations and records. Then, based
on everything you know, try to explain what you
observed. If possible, investigate further to
determine whether your inference is correct.
Recognize Cause and Effect
Have you ever observed an event and then
tried to determine how it came about? If so, you
have observed an effect (the event) and inferred
a cause for the effect.
Suppose that every time your teacher fed fish
in a classroom aquarium, she tapped the food
container on the edge. Then, one day she tapped
the edge of the aquarium to make a point about
an ecology lesson. You observed the fish swim to
the surface of the aquarium to feed. You might
infer that the tapping on the aquarium caused
the fish to swim to the surface, expecting food.
This is a logical inference based on observations.
Was there another cause for this effect that
you may not have noticed? When scientists are
unsure of the cause for an event, they often
design experiments. Although your explanation
is reasonable, you would have to perform an
experiment to be certain that it was the tapping
that caused the effect you observed.
Practice Problem 15 What are other possi-
ble explanations for the behavior of the fish?
Interpret Scientific Illustrations
Illustrations are included in your textbook to
help you understand what you read. When you
encounter an illustration, examine it carefully
and read the caption and labels. Look at the
illustrations of the roundworm and the seg-
mented worm below. A cross section of both
worms shows their internal structures. Think
of a cross section as showing layers.
You will sometimes see terms that refer to the
orientation of an organism. For example, the
word dorsal refers to the upper side or back of
an animal. Ventral refers to the lower side or
belly of the animal. The illustration below shows
both dorsal and ventral sides.
Jane McAlonan/Visuals Unlimited
1092-1106 Skill BDOL EM-829900 8/5/04 3:16 AM Page 1103
1104 SKILL HANDBOOK
Biologists use a process that includes stating
the problem, formulating a hypothesis, testing
the hypothesis, and proposing an explanation for
the event or observation in nature.
Suppose you observe that your pet fish is less
active after you change the water in the fish
bowl. You might make a hypothesis to explain
this behavior, such as: The number of fish move-
ments in a given amount of time decreases with
a decrease in water temperature.
Once you state a hypothesis, you will want to
find out whether or not it explains your observa-
tion. To be valid, a hypothesis must be able to be
supported by experimentation. Consider how
you would conduct an experiment to test the
hypothesis about the effects of water tempera-
ture on fishes in an aquarium.
First, obtain five identical, clear glass contain-
ers, and fill each of them with the same amount
of tap water. Leave the containers for a day to
allow the water to come to room temperature.
On the day of your experiment, measure and
record the temperature of the water in the
aquarium. Heat and cool the other containers,
adjusting the water temperatures in the test con-
tainers so that two have higher temperatures and
two have lower temperatures than the aquarium
Place a fish from your aquarium in each con-
tainer. Count the number of horizontal and
vertical movements each fish makes during a
five-minute period and record your data in a
table. Your data table might look similar to the
From your data, draw a conclusion about
whether or not your results support your
hypothesis. If they do not, state a new hypothesis
and perform another test.
There is no number of experiments that can
prove a hypothesis to be true without a shadow of
a doubt. However, a hypothesis can be disproven
with a single, repeatable experiment. If the results
of many experiments done by many different sci-
entists are consistent with the hypothesis, and if
there are no repeatable experimental observations
that disprove the hypothesis, the hypothesis may
gain enough scientific support to become a theory.
A theory is valid as long as no new experiments
produce repeatable observations that are inconsis-
tent with the theory.
Practice Problem 16 Do the data in the
table support the hypothesis that different
water temperatures affect fish activity? Explain
n important part of the work of a biologist is to make observations in
nature and propose explanations for the observations. This process includes
formulating testable hypotheses and then safely testing them. Good lab tech-
niques, correct use of equipment, and safe lab procedures are part of this process.
Table SH.5 Number of Fish Movements
Temperature Number of
Aquarium 20 56
A 22 61
B 24 70
C 18 46
D 16 42
1092-1106 Skill BDOL EM-829900 8/5/04 3:17 AM Page 1104
SKILL HANDBOOK 1105
Use Variables, Constants,
When scientists perform experiments, they
must be careful to manipulate or change only
one condition at a time, keeping all other condi-
tions in the experiment the same.
Independent Variable The condition that is
systematically changed in an experiment is called
the independent variable. In the fish experiment,
the independent variable is temperature. All
other conditions are kept constant. The con-
stants in the fish experiment are the size and
shape of the containers, the kind of fish, the
amounts of water, and the time period. Scientists
must be certain that only the independent vari-
able (temperature) caused the change in the
dependent variable (movement). All other fac-
tors must be constant in an experiment.
Dependent Variable The dependent vari-
able is any change that results from changing
the independent variable. In the fish experi-
ment, the dependent variable is the number of
movements of the fish.
Control Scientists can also use a control to
be certain that the changes in the dependent
variable would not have been observed with or
without a change in the independent variable.
A control is a sample that is treated exactly like
the experimental group except that the indepen-
dent variable is not applied. A common example of
a controlled experiment is pharmaceutical testing.
Part of a group of test subjects might receive a
new pharmaceutical while the remainder receives
a sugar tablet. This helps scientists determine
whether or not the changes observed in the phar-
maceutical test subjects were due to the pharma-
ceutical. Not all experiments require a control.
Practice Problem 17 Suppose that, in the
previous goldfish experiment, there were several
fish in the aquarium and you counted the num-
ber of movements of each fish during a fixed
amount of time. The numbers of movements
were: Fish 1: 53; Fish 2: 47; Fish 3: 59; Fish 4: 43;
Fish 5: 69; Fish 6: 64. Upon repeating this experi-
ment, you obtained similar results. Would this
support your hypothesis that temperature affects
to learn more
1092-1106 Skill BDOL EM-829900 8/5/04 3:18 AM Page 1105
1106 SKILL HANDBOOK
Focuses the image under
Hold the microscope
slide in place
Contains the lens that is
focused using coarse
Sharpens the image under
Contain magnifying lenses
to look through
Holds and turns the
objectives into viewing
Contain lenses that are focused
using fine adjustment only
Platform used to support
the microscope slide
Regulates the amount of
light that passes through
Provides light for viewing
1. Always carry the microscope by holding the
arm of the microscope with one hand and
supporting the base with the other hand.
2. Place the microscope on a flat surface. The
arm should be positioned toward you.
3. Look through the eyepieces. Adjust the
diaphragm so that light comes through the
opening in the stage.
4. Place a slide on the stage so that the
specimen is in the field of view. Hold it
firmly in place by using the stage clips.
5. Always focus first with the coarse adjust-
ment and the low-power objective lens.
Once the object is in focus on low power,
the high-power objective can be used. Use
ONLY the fine adjustment to focus the
6. Store the microscope covered.
Microscope Care and Use
1092-1106 Skill BDOL EM-829900 8/5/04 3:19 AM Page 1106
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