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HSC Biology: Maintaining a Balance

Focus 1: Most organisms are active in a limited temperature range


Identify the role of enzymes in metabolism, describe their chemical composition and use a
simple model to describe their specificity on substrates

Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions - they control rates of reactions in all
living organisms
They are not used up in the reaction and remain unchanged so they can be reused
Enzymes are biological/organic catalysts decomposition and synthesis
Enzymes break down substrates (reactants) and into products at the active site
Enzymes are specific, as each enzyme typically acts on one substrate only e.g. enzyme maltase
only acts on maltose due to the specific shape of the active site on the enzyme matching the
shape of the substrate molecule

Common enzymes
o Maltase: found in saliva and pancreatic juice acts on maltose to produce glucose
o Sucrase: Acts on the carbohydrate sucrose
o Catalase: Found in all living cells acts on the poison hydrogen peroxide (substrate) to
form products water and oxygen
o Pepsin: in stomach require low pH to act on proteins to form peptides

Factors affecting enzyme activity:

o Work best within a narrow range of temp, pH and substrate concentration (at optimum)
o Denatured active sight shape is alte0 2 red no longer works
Lock and key model

The shape of the active site of the enzyme exactly matches that of the substrate.
Active site is rigid.
Lock = substrate, key = enzyme

Induced fit model

Currently accepted amended version of above model

Based on the realisation that proteins are not rigid
Assumes active site is more flexible and can be changed by the substance binding to it
Evidence suggests that the binding of a substrate to the active site of an enzyme induces the
enzyme to alter its shape slightly, to fit more tightly around the substrate

Benefits Limitations
Shows enzyme is unchanged and not used Doesnt show effects of temp/ pH /
up [substrate]
Shows specificity of an enzyme to a Doesnt show action of cofactors (substances
particular substrate which aid action of enzymes)


Identify the pH as a way of describing the acidity of a substance

pH is a way of describing the acidity of a substance and can be determined using indicators e.g.
Universal Indicator pH < 7 = acidic

Identify data sources, plan, choose equipment or resources and perform a first-hand
investigation to test the effect of:

Hydrogen peroxide is toxic broken down

enzymatically before damage done

Enzyme: Catalase (obtained through ground liver solution)

Substrate: hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)

Dependent variable: oxygen production/concentration/amount (rate of enzyme activity) can be

measured by height of foam produced in measuring cylinder OR oxygen probe & data logger
Rate of reaction measured by:

rate of appearance of a product (in this case, 02, which is given off as a gas)
rate of disappearance of substrate (in this case, H202)
pressure of the product as it appears (in this case, 02)

Increased temperature

Independent variable = TEMPERATURE

1. Set up as follows in 4 test tubes: 6mL 6% H2O2

using 10mL measuring cylinder and 10 drops
liver solution using plastic dropper

2. Place in water baths (room temp + ice + kettle) + thermometer 0oC, 20oC, 37oC, 70oC
3. Transfer solution to Nalgene bottle and insert oxygen probe into bottle opening
4. Record oxygen concentration for each over 3 mins with oxygen probe and data logger data
graphed ([O2 vs time] + slope calculated)
5. Repeat twice more, average consistent results and graph.


Graph parabolic shape
Most oxygen at 37oC
None at 0/70oC

Highest activity at 37oC because it is closest to body temperature - the temperature in which
the enzyme functions most efficiently and there is a sufficient temperature for chemical
collisions between the enzyme and substrate to occur.
Lowest activity at 62oC because the temperature is too high - the enzyme heading towards
being denatured
Slower activity at 9oC because the temperature is too cold for enough collisions to occur
between the enzyme and substrates
Conclusion: enzyme activity increases as temp increased to 37oC, decreases as temp increases after

Controlled variables
Substrate volume and concentration
Enzyme volume and concentration
amount of mixing
time of oxygen collection
(temp room temp)
Change in pH

pH = independent variable

1. Same
2. Add 10mL buffer solutions to each test tube with pH 4, 7, 8, 10 (doesn't matter how much)
3. Transfer, swirl and measure height of froth in a 100mL measuring cylinder (1 mL = 1mm) after 5
mins using stopwatch
4. Repeat twice more, average consistent results, graph.


Conclusion: As pH increases, enzymatic activity increases until pH 7 where enzymatic activity

decreases as pH increases.

Change in substrate concentrations on the activity of named enzyme(s)

1. Everything same but substrate concentration 6, 4, 2, 0% - (6mL total of 6% - can add water e.g.
4% = 4mL liver and 2mL water) dropper

Conclusion: enzyme activity increases as substrate concentration increases until steady rate
(enzymes become limiting factor ie all enzymes being used curve levels off saturation point)

If didnt level off, could reduce amount of enzyme

Can improve accuracy by using more accurate equip e.g. data logger and oxygen probe
Increase range for validity

Risk assessment

Identify risk Assess Control

Spilling hot water and burning Likely - Take care when pouring the hot water - pour into
skin moderate a large beaker first

Hydrogen peroxide irritates Low Wear eye glasses and handle the chemical in a
skin and eyes dropper bottle with care

Liver solution - organic matter Low Eye glasses and using a dropper

Buffer solutions are corrosive Likely mod Wear eye goggles

Maintenance of a constant internal environment

Explain why the maintenance of a constant internal environment is important for optimal
metabolic efficiency

Chemical reactions in & out of cells in organisms (metabolism) are controlled by enzymes
function within a narrow range of conditions require optimal temp/pH/[substrate]
Constant internal environment optimal metabolic efficiency (enzymes functioning
If internal environment changes e.g. human body temp exceeds 40oC, reactions such as
respiration disrupted - will slow down and stop no energy for cell (energy release
decreased) cell dies body would not function


Describe homeostasis as the process by which organisms maintain a relatively stable

internal environment

Homeostasis maintenance of an organisms relatively stable internal environment

Conditions controlled by homeostasis:

Body temp
Blood pressure
Blood glucose concentration
Blood pH
Water/salt concentration
Dissolved gas levels

Stages of homeostasis

Explain that homeostasis consists of two stages:

Detecting changes from the stable state

Uses receptors to detect changes (stimuli) and sends message to CNS (brain/spinal cord)

Counteracting changes from the stable state

CNS determines response, sends message to effectors e.g. muscles and glandes response

Negative feedback

Gather, process and analyse information from secondary sources and use available
evidence to develop a model of a feedback mechanism

Negative feedback is a corrective response (behavioural or metabolic) in which effectors reduce or

oppose the change in internal conditions to bring about homeostasis.
Responding to body temperature increases in mammals:
effector Response

Hairs on the body - Goosebumps are an attempt to trap a layer of warm air around the body to
raise reduce the amount of heat lost by radiation, convection and conduction.

Arterioles in the Vasoconstriction - muscular walls of the small blood vessels known as arterioles
skin narrow constrict so that most blood flow is redirected to the core of the body,
preventing heat loss from the cooler body surface (heat is carried throughout
the body in the bloodstream)

Muscles Shivering brought about by rapid small muscle contractions generate heat in
the body

Thyroid gland Heat gain centre stimulates the activity of the thyroid gland, causing it to speed
up/increases metabolism

Responding to body temperature decreases in mammals:

effector Response

Arterioles in the skin Vasodilation - blood carrying heat is directed towards the surface of the body
expand/dilate so that heat can be lost by conduction, convection and radiation to the

Sweat glands Liquid sweat is secreted through the sweat pores onto the surface of the skin
and heat is removed from the body to evaporate the liquid

Thyroid gland Decreased metabolism - heat loss centre causes thyroid gland to lower the
rate of metabolism, generating less heat

Role of the nervous system

Outline the role of the nervous system in detecting and responding to environmental

The nervous system coordinates mechanisms that allow homeostasis to occur based on a negative
feedback system.

The role of the nervous system in homeostasis is coordination. Stimulus to response pathway:
Receptor detects information about an animal's internal and external environment (stimulus)
Message carried by nerves to a control centre
Processes information in control centre + generates a response to ensure homeostasis
(usually counteracts the stimulus, reducing its effect so that a balance is maintained
negative feedback system)
Stimulus-response Functioning of the nervous system

Any change in the environment that can be detected by receptors and

triggers a response (e.g. extreme heat) is termed a stimulus.

Thermoreceptors in the skin and in the hypothalamus of the brain detect

the stimulus (change in temperature) and convert this into a message in
receptor the form of nerve impulses, which travel along nerves towards the central
nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

The central nervous system (CNS), made up of the brain and spinal cord,
processes the information about the change in external environment.
control centre Information from particular receptors is interpreted in specific parts of the
brain. The hypothalamus processes information about body temperature
(as well as hunger and thirst). Connects the receptors with the effectors.

Motor nerves carry information (as nerve impulses) from the CNS to the

Muscles or glands receive impulses (via motor nerves) from the CNS; these
impulses instruct the effectors to bring about a responsefor example,
sweat glands produce sweat to cool the body.

A change within the body as a result of a stimulus is termed a response

for example, a cooling mechanism to overcome excessive heat. The
response usually counteracts the original change in external conditions to
correct any deviation, ensuring homeostasis. In most cases, the response
decreases the effects of the stimulus: this is known as a negative feedback
Temperatures over which life is found

Identify the broad range of temperatures over which life is found compared with the
narrow limits for individual species

Most organisms live in environments between 0-45oC

BUT some have been found at -70oC (at the poles) and 350o (in hot vents in the sea) broad
temp range over which life is found
Individual species can only survive within narrow limits of temperatures (tolerance range
only a few degrees outside range which it is comfortable
o E.g. Water-holding frog 3-39oC,
o Platypus -8-34oC
o Sydney blue gum -1-34oC
o Silky oak found in alpine regions 0-38oC

Responses of Australian ectotherms and endotherms (temp regulation)

Analyse information from secondary sources to describe adaptations and responses that
have occurred in Australian organisms to assist temperature regulation

Ectotherms organisms whose body temperature is regulated by the environment ie ambient

temperature (and by behavioural adaptations) as the external temp changes, their body temp
changes results in greater fluctuations in body temp they have limited ability to control their
body temp e.g. reptiles, amphibians, fish

Endotherms organisms whose body temperature is regulated by internal body processes ie they
generate heat from body metabolism have the ability to control their body temp results in a
stable body temp maintained within a narrow range despite fluctuations in ambient temperature
birds and mammals only

Behavioural adaptation - the way an organism acts

nocturnal activity in bilbies (where daytime temperatures are very hot)
frill-necked lizard bask in the sun until they reach an adequate core body temperature and
will then retreat into the shade (alter position of the body and increase/decrease amount of
exposure of their surface area to the sunlight)

Structural adaptation - the physical characteristics of the organism

insulation - feathers of the emu act as an insulator to reduce heat gain or loss
blubber in Australia fur seal
colourisation - dark coloured diamond-backed python absorbs light to tolerate colder temps

Physiological adaptation - the way the organism's body functions

rate of metabolic activity hibernation to lower metabolic rate to conserve energy -
requires little food and reduces amount of metabolic heat energy generated within -
extended period of inactivity in response to cold e.g. mountain pygmy possum hibernates
during cold winters to reduce the amount of energy required to keep its body warm)

Compare the responses of named Australian ectothermic and endothermic organisms to

changes in the ambient temperature and explain how these responses assist temperature
Ectotherm Change in Response Type of Explanation
ambient adaptation

Central netted Hot Climb tree, emerge Behavioural Seek cooler

dragon temperatures at night to hunt conditions
(desert) - 13-

Low Lying in sunlight and Behavioural Increase core body

temperatures altering body temp
position to increase
SA to sun

Eastern brown Hot dry Sunbake when too Behavioural

snake conditions cool, seek shade
when too hot,
hibernation Physiological

Use fat reserves in

winter (metabolising
their fat)

Bogong moths Summer Going into cool Behavioural


Frilled neck Air temp Large frill around Behavioural Frill contains
lizard increasing ie neck held up in hot (although having capillaries which
getting hot conditions frill is structural) radiate heat (cool
body down)

Red-bellied Air temp Flattens body Behavioural Increase SA exposed

black snake dropping ie against warm rocks warmth rocks which
cooling means they can
absorb heat from

Cold-water Water temp Produces 'antifreeze' Physiological Stops body fluids

tuna dropping substances in body from freezing
fluids in water

Desert goanna Desert Small size Structural Lowers SA exposed

conditions with to the sun
temperatures Pale in colour Wont absorb as
much of the suns
heat during the day

Burrows Behavioural Shelter from heat ie

exposure to sun
during day
Alters body position
during the day
Lies flat on the ground with its back to the sun in the morning - alters its body position to
expose more of its body surface area to the sun's rays, increasing its core body temperature
in colder morning temperatures
Raises its body above the ground in the middle of the day - the middle of the day has the
hottest temperature so it alters its body position to expose less of its body surface area to
the sun's rays, decreasing its core body temperature

Endotherm Change in ambient Response Type of Explanation

temperature adaptation

Common Late summer and Produces brown Physiological Brown fat is a special
bentwing bat through autumn fat heat producing tissue
when food is that can be quickly
abundant metabolised in cold
Cold winter months Torpor of up to 12 Physiological

The fairy Colder Feathers Structural Provides an insulating

penguin layer

Huddle together Behavioural Trapping a layer of air

close to the skin
reduces the amount
of heat loss

Warmer Move into water Behavioural Decrease SA exposure

to cold to cool down

Mountain Cold winter months Short legs, round Structural Assist in minimising
pygmy possum body and small heat loss (small SA)

Torpor Physiological

Curl into a ball Behavioural Reduce SA exposed to

During the day - Go into a burrow Shelter from the cold

Red kangaroo Increase in Dilation of Physiological Direct more blood

temperature (desert arterioles flow through vessels
Liking forearms, Behavioural Impart saliva for
pants and sweats evaporative cooling -
increase heat loss by
evaporation of water
from skin

Puts tail under Behavioural Reduces SA exposed

body in hot to sun which means
weather less heat absorption

Forearms have Structural More extensive heat

dense network of loss from body by
blood vessels close increasing blood flow
to the surface near body surface

Light coloured fur Structural Wont absorb as

much of the suns
heat during the day

Kangaroo rat - lives in desert conditions with hot temperatures -> must reduce body temperature
Small in size - lower SA exposed to the sun and small body loses heat much more quickly
(high metabolic rate) - large SA to Volume ratio which means more heat loss
Nocturnal - avoid exposure to excessive temperatures (and predators) and keeps their
metabolic rate low during the heat of the day
Burrows - shelter from the heat ie exposure to the sun
Has large ears with a dense network of blood vessels close to the surface - more extensive
heat loss from body by increasing the flow of blood near the body surface - large SA for heat
loss by radiation of blood
Possess a large number of sweat glands - to reduce body temperature more efficiently
through evaporative cooling

Plant responses to temperature change

Identify some responses of plants to temperature change

Plant Temperature Response

High temperatures Evaporative cooling - stomata opens, leading to loss of
water by transpiration

Hydrangeas, roses, High temp Turgor response (wilting) - lose turgor pressure in
peace lilies palisade cells of leaves, resulting in wilting and
reducing SA exposed to sun

Eucalypts High temp Leaf orientation - change orientation of leaves so they

hang vertically downwards, reducing SA of leaf
(therefore reduces no of stomates) exposed to sun ->
less heat absorption = reduces water loss
Regulation of times of stomata opening (during cooler
morning and late afternoon) and closing (during the
Leaf fall - drop some leaves during dry season to
reduce SA exposed to absorb heat and reduces risk of
losing too much water by transpiration

Bottle brush, tea trees High temp e.g. Resprouting

and eucalypts bushfire
Banksias Increased temp Reseeding - fire triggers seed dispersal which
with fire means seeds fall on cleared, nutrient rich soil
Antarctic hairgrass Low temp Produce organic compounds that act as
Deciduous beech Low temp Loses its leaves in late April and May and
undergoes a period of dormancy - allows survival
extremely low temps, water shortages and lower
availability of sunlight
Tulip bulbs Low temps Vernalisation (flowering)
Casuarina Increased temp Leaves reduced to scales which reduces SA of
leaves to reduce heat absorption (and this
decreases water loss as well)

Focus 2: Transport in a fluid medium


Component Function

Red blood cells 4-6 million per mL

Transport oxygen (contain haemoglobin)
Transport a small amount of carbon dioxide (helps maintain blood pH)
Produced in bone marrow
About 7-8 micrometres in diameter
Biconcave with no nucleus when mature

White blood cells Produced in bone marrow

Part of the immune system - protect body against invading organisms
4000-11000 per mL human blood
12-14 micrometeres in diameter
Spherical in nucleus

Platelets Fragments of special cells

Produced in bone marrow
Half size of red blood cells
400 000 per mL of blood
Function: clotting of blood - stick to each other and blood fibres at site of a
wound - seals blood vessels and causes blood to clot, preventing excessive
blood loss

Plasma Yellow, watery fluid

90% water, 10% proteins
Carries many substances: proteins, nutrients, gases, excretory products, ions,
regulatory substances and other substances
PRAC Size of blood cells
Perform a first-hand investigation using the light microscope and prepared slides to gather
information to estimate the size of red and white blood cells and draw scaled diagrams of
1. Estimate field of view under low power (100x) used minigrid
Forms in which substances are carried in blood
Identify the form(s) in which each of the following is carried in mammalian blood: carbon
dioxide, oxygen, water, salts, lipids, nitrogenous waste, other products of digestion

Substance Form in which it is carried in blood

Carbon dioxide hydrogen carbonate ions (bicarbonate ions) in plasma (70%)

carbaminohaemoglocin in rbc (23%)
dissolved in plasma (7%)

Water Dissolved in plasma as water

Oxygen As oxyhaemoglobin in red blood cells

Mineral salts Dissolved in plasma in the form of ions (e.g. Na+)

Nitrogenous wastes Urea dissolved in plasma (small amounts as uric acid & ammonia)

Lipids Fatty acids and glycerol in plasma or lipoproteins/lipid droplets =

CHYLOMICRON or lipids bonded to proteins

Other products of sugars in the form of glucose, proteins in the form of amino acids etc
digestion dissolved in plasma

Vitamins B & C vitamins soluble in plasma, A in lipid droplets

Explain the adaptive advantage of haemoglobin
Haemoglobin is a molecule found in red blood cells in humans and other vertebrates which
possesses the important property of being able to combine loosely with oxygen molecules.

It is able to collect oxygen in the lungs and release it in the tissues when it is needed.

Its adaptive advantages enable individuals to respond to changes in surrounding oxygen levels such
as those experienced on aeroplanes.

Adaptive advantage Explanation

Each haemoglobin molecule contains Increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood

four haem units One haemoglobin molecule has the ability to bond with
four oxygen molecules
More oxygen can be carried in blood cells by
haemoglobin than could be carried dissolved in plasma/
Can carry far more oxygen than if dissolved in plasma
Oxygen affinity (ability to bind Ability to bind oxygen increases once the first oxygen
oxygen) is increased once the first O2 molecule binds to it
molecules binds with haemoglobin Increases rate and efficiency of oxygen uptake
Result: very small increase in oxygen concentration in the
lungs can result in a large increases in the oxygen
saturation of blood

Capacity to disassociate increases at Capacity to release oxygen increases when CO2 is present
lower pH levels -> Bohr effect Metabolising cells release carbon dioxide, which
combines with water to form carbonic acid and this
lowers pH
Haemoglobin has a reduced affinity for oxygen at lower
pH so it releases oxygen in tissues where it is needed

Capable of binding with carbon Haemoglobin has an increased ability to pick up carbon
dioxide but has higher affinity for dioxide once it has released oxygen

Blood vessels
Compare the structure of arteries, capillaries and veins in relation to their function
Changes in the composition of blood as it travels around the body
Describe the main changes in the chemical composition of the blood as it moves around
the body and identify tissues in which these changes occur

Going to cells

* Coming from cells

is opposite

Glucose in the liver

If levels of blood glucose entering the liver are too low, the liver converts glycogen (stored in liver)
into glucose to increase levels

If glucose levels are too higher, liver converts it into glycogen to store, resulting in lower [glucose]
living liver
Need for O2 and CO2 removal
Outline the need for oxygen in living cells and explain why removal of carbon dioxide from
cells is essential
Oxygen is necessary for aerobic respiration (process by which cells obtain energy from glucose,
required for life-sustaining processes): glucose + oxygen water + CO2 + energy (ATP)
Aerobic respiration can occur without oxygen, but produces more energy with it (more efficient)
Carbon dioxide is produced in cells as a waste product of chemical respiration
CO2 must be removed from cells because it reacts with water in cells to form carbonic acid -
build up is toxic, lowers pH of cells and bloodstream -> affects the homeostatic balance (prevent
enzymes from functioning optimally and affects cell functioning by reducing metabolic efficiency
in body)
CO2 lowers pH of blood - alters the ability of haemoglobin to bind to oxygen

PRAC: effect of CO2 on the pH of water

Perform a first-hand investigation to demonstrate the effect of dissolved carbon dioxide
on the pH of water
1. Set up a side arm test tube containing 1 spatula of calcium carbonate powder, leading into
another test tube filled with 1/3 limewater
2. Add 3mL 2M HCl using a measuring cylinder and stopper immediately, observe limewater
3. Gently blow into test tube 1/3 filled with limewater with a straw and observe limewater
4. Gently blow into test tube 1/3 filled with water with 6 drops universal indicator, observe colour


Test Effect

Adding calcium carbonate to hydrochloric acid Limewater turned from colourless to cloudy

Blowing through a straw into limewater Limewater turned from colourless to cloudy

Blowing into water with universal indicator through Water turned from green to yellow (pH 7 to
straw 6)

Conclusion: Carbon dioxide lower the pH of water (makes more acidic)

NB. Can obtain qualitative data using pH chart

Risk assessment

Identify Assessment Control

Hydrochloric acid is corrosive and harmful by medium Rinse skin well, wear safety glasses
inhalation and do not inhale.

Limewater is corrosive and harmful by low Rinse skin well on contact, wear
inhalation safety glasses and do not inhale.

Universal indicator is irritating to eyes low Wear safety glasses

Calcium carbonate causes skin irritation, medium Rinse skin well, wear safety glasses
respiratory irritation and causes serious eye and do not inhale

Measuring blood gases - technologies

Analyse information from secondary sources to identify current technologies that allow
measurement of oxygen saturation and carbon dioxide concentrations in blood and
describe and explain the conditions under which these technologies are used

Technique Pulse oximeter

Description of how Two light-emitting diodes, one producing red and one producing infrared
the technology works light are shone through the finger. The amount of light absorbed by arterial
blood determines the level of oxygenation of haemoglobin the blood and
thus oxygen saturation is calculated and displayed on a screen.

Placement Non-invasive - consists of a prove attached to the patient's finger or earlobe

(anywhere where there is an extremity of blood vessels near the surface)

Information re blood Oxygen saturation

gas concentration Pulse rate

Conditions where it is General: to determine if blood oxygen is within the normal range or not
used Specific: To monitor on an ongoing basis oxygen saturation and pulse rate -
indication breathing and circulation are normal:
Prior to anaesthetics
Whist under anaesthetics or sedation
During recovery after surgery
While on oxygen therapy or ventilation
Who appear to have breathing difficulty or whose circulation is
Who are suffering from sleep apnoea
Such as premature or newborn babies, who need ongoing checks

Benefits Non-invasive - proceeds on a continuous basis without the need for a

blood sample to be taken
Quick reading
Limitations Cannot operate reliably with a poor signal
May appear to have a good signal and be displaying a saturation figure,
but either the figure is inaccurate or gives a false sense of security
Nail varnish interference
Most do not measure carbon dioxide levels

Current and future The latest generation of oximeters (produced from 2005 onwards) have a
research carbon dioxide sensors and have digital signal processing. They are also
designed to allow patients to move about and can be used on non-
translucent body parts - particularly effective in newborns

Mobile phones are being used to transmit signals

Technique Arterial blood gas analysis

Description of how Electrochemical: uses a sensor that translates chemical properties into an
the technology electrical signal that can be measured.
works Involves removing blood from an artery and performing a blood test using
computer-based technology to analyse the chemical components in the blood

Placement Invasive - small sample of arterial blood must be withdrawn from the patient
or an arterial probe may be inserted into an artery (usually in the arm)

Information re Oxygen and carbon dioxide levels and pressure

blood gas pH of blood
concentration Level of bicarbonate ions
collected Levels of chemicals in the blood

Conditions where Only carried out if abnormalities show up in the pulse oximeter readings or
it is used in severe cases of breathing disturbance
Study of lung disease and monitor conditions of poor gaseous exchange
(respiratory disease eg patients with asthma, cystic fibrosis)
pH and electrolyte ion levels measured gives important information about
how well the kidneys are functioning
General: if blood oxygen content seems low or there is a risk of carbon
dioxide levels being high or blood pH being too acidic

Benefits Gives more information e.g. CO2, pH, bicarbonate ions - (pressure as well as
saturation readings)

Limitations Invasive - bleeding or bruising at puncture site

Only provides information at one particular time - not continuous
Feeling faint
Blood accumulating under the skin
Infection at the puncture site

Current and future Some advanced blood gas analysers can also measure levels of glucose,
research haemoglobin and electrolytes (salts) in the blood. Research has improved the
speed of the machines and in some machines results can be obtained within a
few minutes
Blood donation
Analyse information from secondary sources to identify the products extracted from
donated blood and discuss the uses of these products
When blood is donated, it can be used almost immediately as whole blood, or it can be separated
into its components:

Blood component Use

Red blood cells - removed Contain abundant amounts of the respiratory pigment
from plasma by centrifuging haemoglobin
and given in concentrated Administering red blood cells alone: increase blood oxygen
form levels without increasing blood volume -> useful to aged
patients or those with heart problems who may not be able
to cope with increased blood volumes and thus pressure
produced by whole blood transfusions
Oxygen rich red blood cells - beneficial in the treatment of
patients with chronic anaemia and those who have
experienced massive blood loss in surgery or accidents
Premature destruction of rbc (from infection, medication,
autoimmune disorders or inherited blood disorders)
Leukaemia (cancer of red bone marrow)

Granulocytes (wbc) - removed Help to engulf and destroy harmful pathogens in the blood
from plasma by centrifuging Used in some cases where patients do not respond to
and given in concentrated antibiotics
form Severe bleeding

Fresh frozen plasma - watery Used to treat some bleeding disorders in which clotting
solution after cells removed factors are needed
Can replace clotting factors if platelet concentrate not
Maintains correct fluid volume and blood pressure
Loss of blood during childbirth or cardiac surgery

Cryoprecipitated AHF - a Component of plasma containing clotting factors

portion of the plasma that Used to control bleeding in sufferers of haemophilia and
contains clotting factors von Willebrand's disease
obtained by freezing and
thawing plasma

Albumin (plasma protein) The separate fractions of the clotting factors found in whole
plasma and cyroprecipitated AHF
Used for more specific purposes than whole plasma
Major bleeding (internal injury)
Liver or kidney disease
Malnutrition (lack of protein in diet)
Blood volume replacement after accident
Burn victim

Rh(D) Immunoglobin The separate fractions of the clotting factors found in whole
plasma and cyroprecipitated AHF
Used for more specific purposes than whole plasma
Patients on immunosuppressant drugs
For resistance against disease (eg Hep A)
To treat deficiencies of immunoglobulins associated with
certain diseases eg leukaemia

Other plasma derivatives (eg The separate fractions of the clotting factors found in whole
factor IX or XI) plasma and cyroprecipitated AHF
Used for more specific purposes than whole plasma
Aid in blood clotting

Platelets (thrombocytes) - Responsible for blood clotting

removed from plasma by Used specifically in the treatment of patients with
centrifuging and given in thrombocytopenia (disease in which there is a shortage of
concentrated form platelets caused by severe bleeding)
Too few due to low level production in bone marrow
Anaemic cancer of bone marrow (high level of breakdown
of platelets in bone marrow or spleen)
People with dysfunctional platelets

All blood products must be screened for infections and there is a low supply of donated blood.

Artificial blood
Analyse and present information from secondary sources to report on progress in the
production of artificial blood and use available evidence to propose reasons why such
research is needed

Reasons an alternative required:

1. Limitations of donated blood
o Insufficient blood supply
o Blood typing/compatibility
o Limited shelf life - requires refrigeration
o Risk of disease - essential screening for blood-borne diseases
o Longer shelf life and storage outside of the fridge
o Cost - cheaper (no blood donation and storage costs)
o Mass produced
o Universal blood type (no problem with rejection)
o Sterile (no diseases)

Artificial blood is able to perform the vital functions of natural blood in carrying oxygen and carbon
dioxide. No replacements for the other functions which include coagulation (clotting) and immune
defence have been developed, and so the solutions produced are more correctly referred to as
oxygen carriers, rather than artificial blood. Future research is required to developed substitutes
that perform more functions of natural blood.
Some types of blood substitutes:

1. Haemoglobin based oxygen carriers (HBOCs) extracting haemoglobin from outdated donated
blood (human or bovine), modifying as raw haemoglobin out of rbc cannot be used as it is
potentially toxic

Advantages Disadvantages
can be transfused into patients greater affinity for oxygen that raw haemoglobin
with any blood type as the (doesnt release as readily when needed)
haemoglobin is not contained still not stable but 2nd generation HBOC being
within a membrane that contains developed that doesnt break down (still a problem
antigen molecules as not enclosed in membrane)
can also be stored for long periods residues on HBOCs may trigger immunological
of time responses

2. Perfluorocarbons carry oxygen in dissolved form, enough to supply sufficient oxygen to tissues
if no rbs,

Advantages Disadvantages
Perfluorocarbons are able to dissolve fifty much lower oxygen carrying capacity
times more oxygen than blood plasma than haemoglobin
can be chemically produced in large immiscible in plasma and so will cause
amounts and the production is cheap clots and blockages. PFCs must be
completely synthetic and so cannot be combined with other substances if they
contaminated by infectious agents and their are to mix with blood. Some approved
purity can be controlled lipid products used in PFC emulsions can
suitable for patients whose religious beliefs only be administered in certain amounts
prohibit donor blood that do not result in significant benefits.
can be stored for long periods of time Trigger allergic responses such as
dont need cross matching enlargement of the liver and spleen,
smaller molecules than rbc so a large hypertension and anaphylactic reactions
number can fit into the same volume as rbc Some PFCs remain in the body for a long
and can deliver O2 to areas where rbc may period of time too persistent (BUT
not reach (blockages etc) oxycyte is removed by 48 hours)

NB. All substitutes only replace one function of blood- O2 carrying capacity so at present short term
solution in emergencies.

1616 Harvey first described blood and scientists started thinking about using other liquids
(wine, milk etc) as replacements
WWI an WW2 attempts to treat massive bleeding started ideas about the need for
1960s Vietnam War difficulties in supplying blood to soldiers in hot jungle conditions.
Search for oxygen carrying solution that could expand blood volume and deliver O2 to
tissues was required.
Experimenting with PFCs but slow development
Late 1980s active and urgent research began in response to sudden appearance of HIV in
patients who had been given blood transfusions.
Current areas of research
No safe and effective artificial blood product being used in Australia and US and scientists continuing
to develop and test possible blood replacements. AIDS crisis in Sth Africa has meant they are one of
the first countries to clear artificial blood for limited use in patients.
Haemopure- (brand made from stabilised bovine haemoglobin)-shelf-life of 3 years and can
be stored at room temperature. 100X smaller than rbc and made be useful in heart surgery
Polyheme- currently awaiting approval in Australia and US-brand of artificial blood produced
in SA-made from modified haemoglobin from human rbc. Can deliver up to 3X the O2 as rbc.
Crocodile rbc- scientists (Australians-Dr Chris Garvey and Kerie Hammerton) have found that
linked haemoglobin forms more stable haemoglobin so doesnt break up and damage
Movement of materials in xylem and phloem
Describe current theories about processes responsible for the movement of materials
through plants in xylem and phloem tissue
Water and dissolved mineral ions upwards (one way) from roots to leaves
Xylem vessels lignified (thickened) & dead passive movement
Root pressure has some minor contribution in moving water through xylem
Transpiration stream water is drawn up the xylem tubes to replace the loss of water
through evaporation from the stomates

Phloem transports organic materials (particularly sugar, amino acids and hormones) up and
down the stem to other parts of the plants.
Movement of materials by a mechanism known as source-path-sink or pressure/mass flow
The flow of materials in phloem is an active process that requires energy driven by pressure
gradients generated osmotically
NB. The name of sugar movement in plants is translocation
Comparison summary
Prac sections of xylem and phloem
Choose equipment or resources to perform a first-hand investigation to gather first-hand
data to draw transverse and longitudinal sections of phloem and xylem tissue
Focus 3: Regulation of Waste Products
Explain why the concentration of water in cells should be maintained within a narrow
range for optimal function

Osmoregulation the regulation of water conc. to maintain homeostasis

Water is needed by the body:

As it is the solvent in which many important ions and molecules required for reactions are
dissolved and the transport medium to carry dissolved minerals, nutrients, wastes, vitamins
To keep cell membranes moist to allow for diffusion of materials into and out of cells e.g.
efficient gas exchange
To help maintain body temp through evaporative cooling processes as it can readily absorb
and transfer heat e.g. sweating

Concentration of water in cells should be maintained within a narrow range for optimal function b/c:

It is vital for efficient metabolism it allows correct concentration of substances to diffuse

across and between cells as metabolic reactions as they can only occur in solution
Cells can maintain a constant osmotic pressure so water loss through processes such as
urination are compensated for
It determines the concentrations of various substances in the blood of mammals
If not isotonic ([water inside cells] = [water outside cells]), cells are vulnerable to losing
(shrinking) or gaining too much water (burst) it will move by osmosis (high to low conc.):

Removal of wastes essential for continued metabolic activity

Explain why the removal of wastes is essential for continued metabolic activity

Metabolic reactions produce wastes if left to accumulate, would poison and eventually kill the cell.
They are toxic and must be removed.

Excretion: Removal of metabolic wastes e.g. excess water, salts, carbon dioxide, nitrogenous wastes
Main organs of excretion: lungs and kidneys
Why diffusion and osmosis is not enough

Explain why the processes of diffusion and osmosis are inadequate in removing dissolved
nitrogenous wastes in some organisms

Diffusion passive movement of any molecule along a concentration gradient (from a region of high
concentration to a region of low concentration), until equilibrium is reached.

Osmosis the movement of water molecules from a region of high water concentration to a region
of low water concentration through a selectively permeable membrane.

Unicellular organisms diffusion and osmosis are sufficient for the removal of metabolic wastes
since they are small in size (large SA:V ratio) and are close contact with their external environ.

These processes are PASSIVE transport they require no energy input from the cell, since molecules
move along a concentration gradient SLOW

Multicellular organisms require specialised organs and ACTIVE transport to move nitrogenous
wastes against the concentration gradient from blood into urine in the kidney:

Problems with relying of diffusion:

The rate of movement is too slow
Not all wastes can be removed by diffusion

Problems with relying on osmosis

Too much water may be lost in urine water will be drawn into urine by osmosis to dilute it if
there it contains a large number of nitrogenous wastes
Movement of water may make wastes too dilute for excretion by diffusion - organisms that
live in freshwater environments

ACTIVE transport is faster but energy is required e.g. glucose, amino acids, Na+, Cl-, drugs
The Kidney

Filtration and reabsorption in nephron active/passive transport

Distinguish between active and passive transport and relate these to processes occurring
in the mammalian kidney

Explain how the processes of filtration and reabsorption in the mammalian nephron
regulate body fluid composition:

The kidney is made up of nephrons (basic functional unit for filtration):

Blood into kidney Filtrate Blood out of kidney
- high glucose * glucose (reabsorbed in proximal tubule) - high glucose
- high urea * urea (leaves as urine) - low/no urea
- high Na+, Cl- * Na+, Cl- (reabsorbed in proximal tubule and - lower Na+, Cl-
- high water ascending arm) - lower water
- blood cells * water (passively reabsorbed in proximal - same blood cells
- large proteins tubule, descending arm & collecting duct) - same proteins

The process of filtration is selective only on the size of the molecule; as a result many desirable
molecules are filtered into the filtrate (eg glucose, amino acids, water and salts) they are
reabsorbed by the body at different points along the nephron.
By varying the amount of these substances that are reabsorbed the body fluid composition can be
regulated. For example if salts are in excess little will be reabsorbed.

Filtration The movement of materials across the filtration membrane into the lumen of Bowman's
capsule to form filtrate. Pressure forces fluids and dissolved substances through walls of the
glomerular capillaries into the Bowman's capsule

Reabsorption - Solutes are reabsorbed across the wall of the nephron by transport processes, such
as active transport. Water is reabsorbed across the wall of the nephron by osmosis. Water, salts and
nutrients move by diffusion or active transport from the tubule into the surrounding capillaries.

Secretion - Solutes are secreted across the wall of the nephron into the filtrate. Excess ions and
chemicals such as drugs are secreted.

Excretion - Excess water and solutes are eliminated in the form of urine
Prac: kidney dissection

Perform a first-hand investigation of the structure of a mammalian kidney by dissection,

use of a model or visual resource and identify the regions involved in the excretion of
waste products

Aim: To examine the external and internal structure of a kidney and to relate structure to function.

1. Carefully remove the fat from around the kidney.
2. Identify and separate the three tubes entering and leaving the kidney: the renal artery, renal
vein and ureter.
3. Cut the kidney in half lengthwise, leaving the three tubes intact in one side of the dissection:

4. Observe the internal appearance to identify the

cortex, medulla and pelvis. Record observations.

Risk Assessment: Scalpel - sharp

Discussion Questions
Renal artery distinguished from the renal vein as it had a thicker muscular wall
Bowmans capsule found in the renal cortex
Cortex darker brown colour and more striated
Medulla striped pattern and more red
Function of:
Layer fat around kidney protection and insulation
Renal artery carries oxygenated blood into the kidney and brings in waste ie urea
Renal vein carries deoxygenated blood away from kidney less waste
Ureter carries urine from kidney to bladder
Kidney tubules reabsorption, secretion

Hormone Control regulation of water and salt levels in blood

Outline the role of the hormones, aldosterone and ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) in the
regulation of water and salt levels in blood
ADH (antidiuretic hormone/arginine vasopressin)

It conserves body water by reduce the loss of water in urine decreases urine formation
Binds to receptors in collecting ducts to make membranes of collecting ducts (and distal
tubule) more permeable to water to promote reabsorption of water back into circulation
Osmoreceptors in hypothalamus detect changes in blood volume/pressure
Produced in pituitary gland (effector)
Travels to kidney via bloodstream

Counteracting a fall in blood volume pressure:

Kidney reduces urine volume output - increases water retention and countering dehydration
In blood vessels, vasoconstriction is increased, leading to higher blood pressure and thus
countering the blood pressure drop caused by dehydration

Stimulates exchange of sodium and potassium ions at distal tubule

Made in adrenal cortex

Effects of aldosterone:

Increased reabsorption of sodium sodium loss in urine is decreased

Increased reabsorption of water osmotic effect directly related to above
Increased renal excretion of potassium
Addisons disease

Present information to outline the general use of hormone replacement therapy in people
who cannot secrete aldosterone

Type of non- It is an endocrine disorder (may be genetic or auto-immune or from cancer)

infectious disease

Occurrence 40-60 cases/million population or 6 in 100 000

Symptoms Decreased reabsorption of sodium from the kidney tubule into the blood (ie
low sodium levels in blood) which means less water follows by osmosis (blood
volume decreases)
Low sodium in blood -> low water -> low BP
Low blood pressure (filtration out of the glomerulus slows down and wastes
Increased reabsorption of potassium
Sweats, weight loss, pigmented skin, exhaustion
NB Addison's crisis = low blood pressure, low blood sugar, high potassium (life

Cause Adrenal glands not making aldosterone (hormone that controls slat concentration
and blood pressure). Some patients still make low levels of aldosterone and
medications are adjusted

Treatment/ Take Florinef (synthetic) once a day which replaces the hormones that the
management adrenal glands are not making (HRT - hormone replacement therapy)
If patient in crisis then stand therapy is intravenous injections of
hydrocortisone, saline ,sugar (drip) until the crisis is over and then
maintenance therapy
Chronic condition, which means daily medication can never be stopped
Management involves proper maintenance treatment (visits to doctor, blood
tests etc & regulating salt intake)

Role of kidney & urine concentration

Identify the role of the kidney in the excretory system of fish and mammals
Analyse information from secondary sources to compare and explain the differences in
urine concentration of terrestrial mammals, marine fish and freshwater fish

General organism Freshwater fish Marine fish Mammal

Specific example/s Carp brim, snapper human

Type of hyposaline (water hypersaline (water terrestrial

environment surrounding fish has lower surrounding fish has higher water scare
concentration of salts than its concentration of salts than
cells) high water potential its cells) low water potential

Osmoregulatory tends to take on water and tend to lose water through

problem lose valuable salts to the their membranes - must
environment - must be able conserve water and to get
to eliminate excess water rid of excess salts
and retain salts
Type of nitrogen creatinine, creatine, creatinine, creatine, urea urea
waste produced ammonia, (mainly), some ammonia

Characteristic of - many, large glomeruli - large proximal - variable

excretory organ - small proximal convoluted tubule according to
convoluted tubule - small glomeruli (or environmental
- many nephrons absent) conditions
- few nephrons

Urine high volume, dilute (low small volume, highly depends on

characteristics concentration) concentrated water
(volume, consumption
concentration, etc)

Drinks? no Constantly Moderately

Role of kidneys Primarily Osmoregulation Primarily Osmoregulation Osmoregulation

and excretion and excretion and excretion

Role of gills - uptake of salts and - excretion of salts and N/A

excretion of wastes wastes
- gas exchange - gas exchange
Nitrogenous wastes

Ammonia Urea Uric acid

highly toxic - removed 10 000 times less toxic than less toxic than urea &
immediately ammonia ammonia
product of most aquatic can be stored in body fluid can be stored in the body
animals diffuse out of gills for a limited time for extended time
immediate product produced by mammals, product of terrestrial
produced from the sharks, amphibians animals where water loss
breakdown of amino acids soluble in water - small could be a problem
highly soluble in water - amounts of water required birds, reptiles, insects
requires large quantities of to remove it highly insoluble in water -
water to be safely removed produced from the minimal water required to
breakdown of amino acids remove it
major source of water loss high metabolic cost
in mammals excreted as solid or paste

Australian insects & mammals conservation of water & excretion of nitrogenous wastes
Use available evidence to explain the relationship between the conservation of water and
the production and excretion of concentrated nitrogenous wastes in a range of Australian
insects and terrestrial mammals

The dryer the environment the greater the need to conserve water animals in dryer environments
will produce lower volumes of concentrated urine.
As water becomes scarcer, the nitrogenous waste changes from ammonia to urea and then uric acid.

Australian insects Australian terrestrial mammals

Examples blowfly, grasshopper human, dingo Australian hopping

mouse (desert)

Availability of water
low low low
in the environment

Details of excretory Malpighian tubules kidneys kidneys with long Loop

organs open directly into of Henle
end of digestive tract

Nitrogenous waste uric acid urea urea

Toxicity low more toxic than uric acid more toxic than uric acid

Energy required for large amount more energy required than some energy (less than
production ammonia but less than uric uric acid)

Amount of water lost

Small (least) small small
through excretion

Dilute/concentrated Concentrated uric Concentration varies within Very concentrated urea

urine and acid low toxicity limited range, depending on less water lost in desert
explanation why and very little water water intake and the loss of conditions
lost. water through sweating
Renal Dialysis

Gather, process and analyse information from secondary sources to compare the process
of renal dialysis with the function of the kidney

Haemodialysis - in this treatment blood is circulated outside the body and cleaned inside a machine
until it is returned to the patient. In the dialysis machine, a solution called dialysate, which contains
the same solute components as blood, flows in the opposite direction to the patients blood (to
maintain concentration gradient for diffusion to occur more rapidly). The two fluids are separated
from each other by a semi-permeable membrane. Wastes move out of the blood and into the
dialysate by diffusion. Red blood cells do not pass through because they are too large to fit through
the small pores in the membrane. Dialysate containing waste products from the blood is continually
washed away and replaced with fresh fluid. Haemodialysis usually takes up to 5 hours and must be
undertaken about 3 times each week.

Peritoneal dialysis - in this type of dialysis, the patients own peritoneal membrane is used as a filter.
This membrane is found in the abdomen and is also semipermeable, allowing wastes but not red
blood cells through. The dialysate fluid is passed into the abdomen through a catheter. Wastes pass
into the dialysate, which is removed. This process is repeated with fresh fluid every 3-4 hours. A
similar process, known as CCPD (Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis), is used on children with
kidney disorders. In this process, a machine enables dialysate to flow in and out of their abdomens
while they are sleeping. This allows the patients freedom from any treatments during the day. An
adverse side effect of peritoneal dialysis can be the tendency for infections of the peritoneal
membrane to occur.

Kidney Haemolytic dialysis Peritoneal dialysis

Similarities Function: Filtration (remove metabolic wastes from blood) and

osmoregulation (keep blood solutes at a constant level)
Blood filtered through a semipermeable membrane
Passive processes involved

Differences: Natural body process Artificial process

Functioning Functional units: nephrons Dialysis machine linked to computer

Type of transport Both passive diffusion and Passive movement only - simple diffusion
involved active transport

Type of filter used walls of the glomerular artificial filter peritoneal membrane
blood vessels

Regulation Hormones aldosterone and Computer and sensors

ADH and negative feedback

Effectiveness of Effective Less effective some retention of K+ and Na+


Speed Much faster millions of Slower diffusion only

nephrons (high SA)

Outcome Effective, efficient, non- Less effective, takes longer, invasive, risks:
invasive infections of peritoneal lining can occur

Define enantiostasis as the maintenance of metabolic and physiological functions in

response to variations in the environment and discuss its importance to estuarine
organisms in maintaining appropriate salt concentrations

Enantiostasis the maintenance of metabolic and physiological functions in response to variations in

the environment.

Enantiostasis is concerned about maintaining the functional state where as homeostasis is

concerned about maintaining the internal state (and as a result the functional state)

Estuaries are environments that experience large fluctuations in salinity. At high tide the water is
very saline. At low tide the water is low in salt.
Enantiostasis is important to estuarine organisms to maintain appropriate salt concentrations:

E.g. blue crabs

They suffer a decrease in internal salt composition when they leave the ocean and enter a lower-
salinity environment (an estuary)
Reduced salt-ion levels inhibit oxygen binding by haemocyanin, a large biomolecule which
transports oxygen in the crabs circulatory fluid (like haemoglobin)
Blue crabs do not suffer from this they make their internal fluids more alkaline by increasing
production of ammonia increases oxygen binding by haemocyanin offsets the ion effects

e.g. bull sharks

Most sharks cannot survive in freshwater as they cannot adapt or change their normal
mechanism of osmoregulation they will absorb too much water and loose too much salt
Bull sharks can adapt readily to freshwater as they can adapt their process of osmoregulation
kidneys can be gradually adjusted to suit salinity of water in freshwater, their kidneys remove
less salts and more urea from the bloodstream through urination (reverse of normal sharks)
Thus they can live entirely in estuaries as urea level in bodies can change according to
environment to maintain appropriate salt concentrations

Halophytes - mangroves

Process and analyse information from secondary sources and use available evidence to
discuss processes used by different plants for salt regulation in saline environments.

Halophyte a plant that has successfully inhabited areas of high salinity such as deserts, salt
marshes and coastal areas and possess various adaptations to assist them in surviving high salt levels
in their surroundings.

Most plants cannot tolerate saline environments: water tends to move out by osmosis and excess of
sodium ions inside cells inhibits enzyme activity and can result in a decrease in the uptake of
essential potassium ions.
Some mangroves capable of actively pumping sodium ions out of their roots and transporting
potassium ions in - requires the presence of calcium ions in the soil
Some mangroves able to take in sodium ions and then either secrete them or isolate them from
the rest of the functioning plant cells.
Salt marsh plant salt is accumulated in swollen leaf bases that are then shed from the rest of
the plant & excretes salt through salt glands on leaves
Grey Mangrove can store excess salt in leaves that are subsequently dropped & excrete salt
through salt glands on leaves & has special tissues in their roots and lower stems which prevent
the uptake of salt but increase the uptake of water (exclusion)
Saltbush sodium ions are concentrated in salt glands within the leaf and pumped into bladders
that eventually expand and burst, releasing the excess salt
Palmers grass salt leaves the plant through cells in the leaf, builds up on the leaf surface and is
ultimately washed away
Norfolk island pine thin layer of cuticle to prevent salt entering leaves since exposed to salty air
River Mangrove concentrates and excretes salt through special glands which build up on the
outside of the leaf and is washed off during periods of rain (secretion)
Milky Mangrove accumulates salt in older tissues such as leaves, which is then discarded

Adaptions in Aus plants to minimise water loss

Describe adaptations of a range of terrestrial Australian plants that assist in minimizing

water loss

The waterproof outer layer of a leaf, the cuticle, reduces water loss e.g. in eucalypts, banksia, wattle,
it is very thick which reduces the process of transpiration. Plants living in dry areas are known as
xerophytes and they show a variety of specialised features:
Sunken stomata
Some plants, e.g. the fig have stomata that are sunk in pits on the leaf. A small pocket of air is
trapped beside each stomal pore, forming a barrier between the air spaces inside and around
the leaf, reducing of transpiration.
The edges of some flat leaves curl over and form a protective layer above the stomata in order
to reduce the transpiration rate.

Rolled up leaves e.g. Marram Grass

Some Australian plants have leaves with features that restrict water loss including:
o hinge cells that lose turgor if water is lost and cause the leaf to curl, creating a humid
chamber for the stomata
o stomata only on one side of the leaf so that when the leaf curls, no stomata is directly
exposed to the environment
o stomata located in folds of the leaf so that they are shielded from air currents even
when the leaf is unrolled
o a thickened cuticle on the surface that is exposed when the leaf curls

Succulents e.g. pigface

Some leaves have cells with very large vacuole that act as water stores for the plant. Succulent
plants have very reduced or even no leaves and some stems can store water for many years
e.g. Cacti. They can also absorb surface water efficiently because of their extensive shallow
roots. They have very thick cuticles and few stomata, so the amount of water lost because of
transpiration is low.

Cylindrical leaves e.g. pigface

No leaves
Some adult Acacia (wattles) species have leaves but most have phyllodes which look like
leaves but are actually flattened leaf stems which carry photosynthesis for the plant but lack
the stomata of true leaves. This reduces water loss through transpiration.

Hakea is an Australian plant whose leaves show many characteristics that enable a plant to conserve
water. These characteristics include:
o narrow and cylindrical
o epidermis with thick cuticle
o concentrically arranged palisade tissue, interspersed with dumbbell shaped, thick sclereid cells
o sunken stomata

Prac: plant structures that conserve water

Perform a first-hand investigation to gather information about structures in plants that

assist in the conservation of water

used magnifying glasses

Reduced water loss - reduced way of cooling --> sway in the breeze, white underside, droop
down, hairs (reflect heat) overcomes this problem
Reduced leaves to scale leaf - reduced are for photosynthesis - reduction of gas (green stem
to overcome this problem)