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Introduction: Ten Themes in the Study of Life

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1 Introduction: Ten Themes in the Study of Life
Chapter 1

2 Theme #1: Emergent Properties
The living world has a hierarchal organization, extending from molecules to the biosphere. With each step upward in organizational level, novel properties emerge as a result of interactions among components at the lower levels.


4 Theme #2: The Cell Cells are every organism’s basic units of structure and function. The two main types of cells are: PROKARYOTIC in bacteria & archaea no nucleus, no membrane bound organelles EUKARYOTIC in protists, fungi, plants, and animals Larger & more complex w/ nucleus & membrane bound organelles

5 Prokaryotes v/s Eukaryotes

6 Theme #3: Heritable Information
The continuity of life depends on the inheritance of biological information in the form of DNA molecules. The genetic information is encoded in the nucleotide sequences of the DNA.


8 Structure & Function Form and function are correlated at all levels of biological organization. Bird’s build makes flight possible Honeycombed construction of bones provides lightweight skeleton of great strength Form of a cell fits its specialized function – nerve cells have long extensions that transmit nerve impulses Mitochondria has inner membrane that is extensively folded – able to pack large amount of membrane into very small container

9 Form Fits Function

10 Theme 5 – Interaction with the Environment
Organisms are open systems that exchange materials and energy with their surroundings. An organism’s environment includes other organisms (biotic) as well as nonliving (abiotic) factors.

11 Energy Flow & Transformation in an Ecosystem

12 Regulation Feedback mechanisms regulate biological systems.
In some cases, the regulation maintains homeostasis, a relatively steady state for internal factors such as body temperature.

13 Positive & Negative Feedback http://bcs. whfreeman
Positive Feedback – a physiological control mechanism in which a change in some variable (Z) triggers mechanisms that amplify the change. In this example, the product of the reaction (Z) enhances the reaction of one of the enzymes (black arrow), increasing the rate of production of the product. Feedback Inhibition – mechanism of homeostasis whereby a change in a physiological variable (D) that is being monitored triggers a response that counteracts the initial fluctuation (A). Final product (D) inhibits first enzyme in sequence (A) and shuts reaction down.

14 Theme 7 - Unity and Diversity
The diversity of life is grouped into 3 domains: Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya. Life is diverse, but we can find unity in the genetic code – the more closely related two species are, the more characteristics they share.

15 Classifying Life

16 Theme 8 - Evolution Evolution is biology’s core theme. It explains both the unity and diversity of life. The theory of natural selection accounts for adaptation of populations to their environment through the differential reproductive success of varying individuals.

17 Natural Selection

18 Theme 9 – Scientific Inquiry
The process of science includes observation-based discovery and the testing of explanations through the hypothetic-deductive method. Scientific credibility depends on the repeatability of observations and experiments.

19 Idealized Version of Scientific Method

20 Theme 10 – Science, Technology, and Society
Many technologies are goal-oriented applications of science. The relationships of science and technology to society are now more crucial to understand than ever before.

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