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Biology Notes

Chapter One

The Study of Life
What is biology?
-The study of living organisms and their interactions with one another and their
Scientific Process-What is science? Science: Knowledge that covers general truths or the operation
of general laws, especially when acquired and tested by the
scientific method.
-Scientific Method: a method of research with defined steps that include
experiments and careful observation.
-Hypothesis: A suggester explanation for an event, which can be tested.
-Theory: A tested and confirmed explanation for observations or phenomena.
Natural Sciences
-What are natural sciences? Fields of science related to the physical world and its
phenomena and processes.
-No complete agreement as to what natural sciences includes.
-To some, natural sciences include astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth science
and physics.
-Some areas, such as, biophysics and biochemistry preside around both life and
physical science.
-Natural sciences are sometimes called “hard science” because of the reliance
on quantitative data, unlike the social sciences, which are more likely to use
qualitative assessments.
-Biology has many different areas of study.
-Cell biologists: cell structure and function.
-Anatomy: internal functioning of an organism.

-Certain living things (ie. botanists study plants; zoologists study animals)

Scientific Reasoning
-Common link to all science, is the goal “to know”.
-Seek to understand the world and how it operates.
Two methods of logical thinking: inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning.
-Inductive Reasoning: logical thinking that uses related observations to
arrive at a general conclusion.
-common in descriptive science.
-makes observations and records them.
-data can be qualitative or quantitative.
-From observations the scientist may be able to come to a
conclusion(induction) based on evidence.
-Involves forming general ideas from careful observation and from
analyzing large amounts of data.
-Deductive Reasoning: a form of logical thinking that uses a general
principle or law to predict outcome.
-predictions are valid as long as the general principles are valid.
-Both sources of logical thinking are related to two areas of scientific
-Descriptive science: usually inductive-observation,exploration, discovery.
-Hypothesis based: usually deductive, starts with a question or problem
and a possible answer that can be tested.
The Scientific Method
-Scientific process usually starts with and Observation.
-This observation leads to a question.
-Proposing a Hypothesis: a hypothesis is a suggested explanation that can be
-There can be multiple hypotheses.
-Testing a Hypothesis: To be valid a hypothesis has to be testable.

-Also has to be falsifiable; it can be disproven by testing it.

-In order to test the hypothesis, the scientist will conduct one or more experiments
to eliminate a hypothesis.
-A variable is any part of the experiment that can change or differ during
the experiment.
-A control group features everything that the experimental group does,
except it is not given the manipulation which is being hypothesized.


-If the results of the experimental group are different from the control
group, the differences have to be caused by the
manipulation, and not and outside factor.
-Using the scientific method, hypotheses that are inconsistent are rejected.
-In hypothesis based science, results are predicted from a general idea.
This is known as deductive reasoning.
Scientific Method
1. Observation (ie. It is dark in here.)
2. Question (ie. Why is it dark in here?)
3. Hypothesis (ie. It is dark because the lights are not on.)
4. Prediction (ie. If I turn on the lights it will not be dark.)
5. Experiment (ie.Turns on the light switch.)
6. Result (ie. It is no longer dark.)
-This would be solved, but say, after you switched the light on it is still dark.
In this case you would have to make another hypotheses, the one that makes
most sense would be that the electricity is off, therefore, you would run the
hypothesis by experimenting based on this assumption, go in another room
and see if the lights/electronics are working in there, if they are, then the
electric isn’t out, if they aren’t, the electric is most likely out!

Two Types of Science: Basic and Applied
-Basic or “pure”: Seeks to expand knowledge regardless of ability to apply
knowledge in the short-term. (knowledge for the sake of knowledge)

-Applied science: seeks to use science in order to solve real-world
problems. In this area, the problem is usually defined for
the researcher.

-Some may see applied science as “useful” and basic science as “useless.”
-To the contrary, the history of science shows us that basic
knowledge has resulted in very important
-To many scientists, basic knowledge must be acquired before
an application can be developed, therefore, it relies on results
based on basic science.
-Even though research in both areas of science are usually planned with
care, it is important to know that some discoveries are made by
serendipity, meaning, through a fortunate accident.
-Penicillin was discovered when a petri dish of Staphylococcus
bacteria was left open. Mold grew on the dish, killing the bacteria.
-This mold turned out to be Penicillium--a new antibiotic,
Reporting Scientific Work
-No matter what area of science, scientists must share their
findings so that other researchers can expand and add to their
-Collaboration with other scientists is important for scientific
-Peer Reviewed Manuscripts
-Scientific papers that are reviewed by a scientist’s colleagues or
-Usually experts in the same area of research.
-Judge whether or not the work is suited for publication.
-Ensures that research is original, significant, logical and
-Grant proposals, request for funding, also subject to peer
-Experimental results must be consistent to other scientists

-Scientific writing has to be brief, concise, and accurate.
-Must be succinct but with enough details to allow peers
to reproduce the experiment.
-Consists of specific sections:
-materials and methods
-There are also usually sections for acknowledgments,
references, along
with an abstract(summary) at the
beginning of the paper.
-Introduction includes brief, but broad, background information
as to what is known.
-Rationale of the work.
-Justifies the work carried out.
-Mentions the end of paper, where hypothesis is presented.
-The introduction consults with the published scientific
work of others and requires citations, so as not to plagiarize.
-Materials and methods; include a comprehensive description
of substances used, the method and techniques used to gather
data. The description should be detailed enough to allow other
researchers to repeat the experiment with like results.
-Also includes information on how measurements were obtained
and the types of calculations an statistics were used to examine
raw data.
-This section gives an accurate description, but does not discuss.
-If the journal does allow the combination of results and
discussion, the results sections reports the finding without
interpretation. Results can be presented with tables or graphs,
but no duplicitous information should be in there.
-The discussion section has the researcher interpreting the
results, describing how variable may be related, and attempting
to explain the observations.
-Very important to search past research to put the results in context
of pre-existing studies, which means, citations are required here
as well.
-Conclusion: summarizes importance of findings.
-Research should lead to more questions.

-Also leaves it open for others to expand on the findings.
-Review articles don’t follow the same format, since they don’t cover
original findings. They summarize and comment on finding. They also
usually include expansive reference sections.

Themes and Concepts of Biology
-Properties of Life: living organisms share characteristics or functions, as
follows; order, sensitivity or response to environment, reproduction,
adaptation, growth and development, regulation, homeostasis, energy
processing, and evolution. Altogether, these characteristics define life.
-Organisms are highly organized, coordinated structures
that consist of one or more cells.
-Even single-cell organisms are complex.
-Inside each cell, atoms make up molecules; which make
up cell organelles.
-Multicellular organisms-like cells for tissues, tissues work
together to create organs, and organs for organ systems.
Sensitivity to Stimuli
-Organisms respond to diverse stimuli.
-Movement toward stimulus=positive response.
-Movement away=negative response.
-Single cell organisms reproduce first by duplicating
DNA, and then divide it equally as the cell divides to
form two new cells.
-Multicellular organisms produce specialized reproductive
germline cells that form new individuals.
-These genes serve to ensure that offspring will
belong to the same species and have similar

Growth and Development
-Organisms grow and develop following instructions coded
by their genes.
-Instructions will direct cellular growth and growth and

-Regulatory mechanisms to coordinate internal functions.
-Internal functions: nutrient transport and blood flow.
-Organs perform specific functions--carrying oxygen throughout
the body, removing waste, delivering nutrients to cells, cooling the
-Organisms are able to maintain internal conditions within a range,
almost constantly, even with environmental changes, through
-Regulation of body temperature=thermoregulation.
Energy Processing
-Organisms use a source of energy for metabolic activities.
-Some capture energy from the sun, others use chemical energy
in molecules they take in as food.
Levels of Organization
-Atom: smallest, most basic unit of matter.
-consists of nucleus surrounded by electrons.
-Atoms form molecules.
-A chemical structure of at least two atoms held
together by one or more chemical bonds.
-Molecules that are biologically important are macromolecules,
which are large molecules that are usually formed by
polymeriztion(large molecule make by combining smaller units

call monomers).
-Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is a macromolecule.
-Contain aggregate of macromolecules surrounded by membranes.
-Small structures within cells.

Cells are either prokaryotic or eukaryotic.
-Prokaryotes are single cell or colonial organisms without
a membrane bound nuclei.
-Eukaryotes have membrane-bound organelles and a
membrane-bound nucleus.
-In larger organisms, cells combine to create tissues, groups of
simular cells performing related functions.
-Organs are collections of tissues grouped together performing a
common function.
-Organ system is a higher level of organization consisting of
functionally related organs.
-Mammals have numerous organ systems, such as, the
circulatory system, which transports blood though the body
and to and from the lungs; it includes organs such as the heart
and blood vessels.
-Organisms are individual living entities.
-Single cell prokaryotes are single cell eukaryotes are also
considered organisms, usually called microorganisms.
-All individuals of a species living in a certain area are called
a population.
-A community is the result of populations in an area.

-An ecosystem consists of all living things in an area, together with
the non-living parts of the environment, such as nitrogen in soil or
rain water.
-The biosphere is at the highest level of organization. It is a
collection of all ecosystems and represents life on earth.

The Diversity of Life
-Evolution: the process of gradual change during which new
species arise from older species.
-Evolutionary biologists study the evolution of living things in
everything from the microscopic world to ecosystems.
-Phylogenetic tree: can summarize the evolution of various life
-a diagram show evolutionary relationships among
biological species based on similarities and differences
in genetic or physical traits or both.
-Composed of nodes and branches.
-Internal nodes represent ancestors and points in
evolution when an ancestor is thought to have
come together to form two new species. The length
of the branches are proportional to the time past
since the split.
Branches of Biological Study
-Broad, containing many branches and sub-disciplines.
-Biologists can work in a focused field, such as, molecular biology
and biochemistry--studying biological processes at the molecular
and chemical level.

-Microbiology in another area, which studies microorganisms,
which is the study of the structure and function of single cell
-Microbiologist can be microbial physiologists, ecologists,
and geneticists, among other things.
An example of a career that biologists, chemists and biochemists can have
is a Forensic Scientist. Whose job it is to provide scientific evidence for
use in courts. The job involves examining trace materials associated with

-Another area of biological study is neurobiology, which studies
the biology of the nervous system.
-Neurobiology is also recognized as a field of study known as
-Studies different functions of the nervous system using
molecular, cellular, developmental, medical and
computational approaches.
-Paleontology is another area of biology, which uses fossils to
study life’s history.
-Zoology and botany study animals and plants.
-Biologist can also specialize as biotechnologists, ecologists,
or physiologists, as well as many other areas.