This site is 100% ad supported. Please add an exception to adblock for this site.

Lesson 1 Vocabulary: The Nature of Science and Biology


undefined, object
copy deck
Animal Kingdom. Multicellular eukaryotic group characterized by heterotrophic nutritional mode, usually organ and tissue development, and motility during the organism's life history.
Tendency of an organism to suit its environment; one of the major points of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection: organisms adapt to their environment. Those organisms best adapted will have a greater chance of surviving and passing their genes on to the next generation.
Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)
A common form in which energy is stored in living systems; consists of a nucleotide (with ribose sugar) with three phosphate groups. The energy coin of the cell.
Substances produced by some microorganisms, plants, and vertebrates, that kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Asexual Reproduction
A method of reproduction in which genetically identical offspring are produced from a single parent; occurs by many mechanisms, including fission, budding, and fragmentation.
Sexual Reproduction
A system of reproduction in which two haploid sex cells (gametes) fuse to produce a diploid zygote.
The evelope of gases that surrounds the Earth; consists largely of nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%).
Binomial system of nomenclature
A system of taxonomy developed by Linnaeus in the early eighteenth century. Each species of plant and animal receives a two-term name; the first term is the genus, and the second is the species.
Chemical processes associated with living things.
All ecosystems on Earth as well as the Earth’s crust, waters, and atmosphere on and in which organisms exist; also, the sum of all living matter on Earth.
The smallest structural units of living matter capable of functioning independently.
Cell theory
One of the four (or five)unifying concepts in biology. The cell theory states that all living things are composed of at least one cell and that the cell is the fundamental unit of function in all organisms. Corollaries: the chemical composition of all cells is fundamentally alike; all cells arise from preexisting cells through cell division.
Taxonomic subcategories of phyla
Cardiovascular System
The human circulatory system consisting of the heart and the vessels that transport blood to and from the heart.
Once-popular belief that events in Earth history had occurred in the past as sudden events and by processes unlike those operating today. Periods of catastrophic change were followed by periods of little change. A subgroup, the Diluvialists, contended that Noah’s flood was the last of many floods which had occurred throughout Earth history.
All species or populations living in the same area
First law of thermodynamics (conservation)
Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it changes from one form to another.
The higher levels in a food pyramid; consists of primary consumers, which feed on the producers, and secondary consumers, which feed on the primary consumers.
Blue-green bacteria; unicellular or filamentous chains of cells which carry out photosynthesis.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
A nucleic acid composed of two polynucleic strands wound around a central axis to form a double helix; the repository of genetic information. Nucleic acid that functions as the physical carrier of inheritance for 99% of all species. The molecule is double-stranded and composed of two strands in an antiparallel and complementary arrangement. The basic unit, the nucleotide, consists of a molecule of deoxyribose sugar, a phosphate group, and one of four nitrogen bases.
The community living in an area and its physical environment.
The ability to bring about changes or to do work.
The degree of disorder in a system. As energy is transferred from one form to another, some is lost as heat; as the energy decreases, the disorder in the system—and thus the entropy—increases.
The subunit of the Monera that include the true bacteria such as E. coli. One of the three major groups of prokaryotes in the Kingdom Monera. The bacteria have cell walls containing peptidoglycan.
Term applied to a division of protozoan that have one long flagellum, no cell wall, and which may have chloroplasts.
A type of cell found in many organisms including single-celled protists and multicellular fungi, plants, and animals; characterized by a membrane-bound nucleus, and other membranous organelles; an organism composed of such cells. The first eukaryotes are encountered in rocks approximately 1.2-1.5 billion years old.
1. In taxonomy, term applied to subcategory within orders. 2. Term applied to a group of similar things, such as languages, chromosomes, etc.
Food webs
A complex network of feeding interrelations among species in a natural ecosystem; more accurate and more complex depiction of energy flow than a food chain.
1. The remains or traces of prehistoric life preserved in rocks of the Earth’s crust. 2. Any evidence of past life.
Nonmobile, heterotrophic, mostly multicellular eukaryotes, including yeasts and mushrooms.
Taxonomic subcategories within families (sing.: genus), composed of one or more species.
The multicellular, chambered, muscular structure that pumps blood through the circulatory system by alternately contracting and relaxing.
Cardiac muscle
The type of muscle that is found in the walls of the heart. Cardiac muscle is striated but branched, unlike the straight-shaped striated skeletal muscle cells.
Refers to organisms, such as animals, that depend on preformed organic molecules from the environment (or another organism) as a source of nutrients/energy.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
The retrovirus that attacks T-cells in the human immune system, destroying the body’s defenses and allowing the development of AIDS.
The ability to maintain a relatively constant internal condition.
The part of the physical environment that consists of all liquid and solid water at or near the Earth’s surface.
An idea that can be experimentally tested; an idea with the lowest level of confidence.
Inheritance of acquired characteristics
Lamarck’s view that features acquired during an organism’s life would be passed on to succeeding generations, leading to inheritable change in species over time.
Five broad taxonomic categoris (Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, Animalia) into which organisms are grouped, based on common characteristics.
The solid outer layer of the Earth; includes both the land area and the land beneath the oceans and other water bodies.
Self-replicating membrane-bound cytoplasmic organelles in most eukaryotic cells that complete the breakdown of glucose, producing NADH and ATP (singular term: mitochondrion). The powerhouse of the cell. Organelles within eukaryotes that generate (by chemiosmosis) most of the ATP the cell needs to function and stay alive.
Prokaryotic kingdom that includes (in the widely accepted classification system) archaebacteria, eubacteria, and cyanobacteria. Members of these kingdoms were among the first forms of life over 3.5 billion years ago.
Organisms composed of multiple cells and exhibiting some division of labor of specialization of cell structure and function.
Cells having more than one nucleus per cell.
Natural selection
The process of differential survival and reproduction of fitter genotypes; can be stabilizing, directional, or disruptive. Better adapted individuals are more likely to survive to reproductive age and thus leave more offspring and make a larger contribution to the gene pool than do less fit individuals. The differential survival and reproductive successes of individuals in a variable population that powers the evolutionary process. When all individuals survive and reproduce (except for chance occurrences) natural selection works at a lower rate, if at all.
Taxonomic subcategories of classes
Differentiated structures consisting of tissues and performing some specific function in an organism. Structures made of two or more tissues which function as an integrated unit. e.g. the heart, kidneys, liver, stomach.
Cell components that carry out individual functions; e.g. the cell nucleus and the endoplasmic reticulum. Subcellular structures (usually membrane-bound and unique to eukaryotes) that perform some function, e.g. chloroplasts, nucleus, mitochondrion.
Organ systems
Groups of organs that perform related functions.
Organisms that live in, with, or on another organism. The parasites benefit from the association without contributing to the host, usually they cause some harm to the host.
The process by which plant cells use solar energy to produce ATP. The conversion of unusable sunlight energy into usable chemical energy, associated with the actions of chlorophyll.
The broadest taxonomic category within kingdoms (pl.: phyla)
The plant kingdom; nonmobile, autotrophic, multicellular eukaryotes. Kingdom of the plants, autotrophic eukaryotes with cellulose in their cell walls and starch as a carbohydrate storage product, with chlorophylls a and b as photosynthesis pigments.
A group of individuals of the same species living in the same area at the same time sharing a common gene pool. A group of potentially interbreeding organisms in a geographic area.
The first level in a food pyramid; consists of organisms that generate the food used by all other organisms in the ecosystem; usually consists of plants making food by photosynthesis.
Type of cell that lacks a membrane-bound nucleus and has no membrane-bound organelles; a bacterium. Prokaryotes are more primitive than eukaryotes. Cells lacking membrane-bound organelles and having a single circular chromosome, and ribosomes surrounded by a cell membrane. Prokaryotes were the first forms of life on earth, evolving over 3.5 billion years ago.
Polymers made up of amino acids that perform a wide variety of cellular functions. One of the classes of organic macromolecules that functions as a structural and control elements in living systems. Proteins are polymers of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds.
The taxonomic Kingdom from which the other three eukaryotic kingdoms (Fungi, Animalia, and Plantae) are thought to have evolved. The earliest eukaryotes were single-celled organisms that would today be placed in this admittedly not monophyletic group. The endosymbiosis theory suggests that eukaryotes may have evolved independently several times.
Single-celled protists grouped by their method of locomotion. This group includes Paramecium, Amoeba, and many other commonly observed protists.
Viruses that contain a single strand of RNA as their genetic material and reproduce by copying the RNA into a complementary DNA strand using the enzyme reverse transcriptase. The single-stranded DNA is then copied, and the resulting double-stranded DNA is inserted into a chromosome of the host cell.
Ribonucleic acid (RNA)
Nucleic acid containing ribose sugar and the base Uracil; RNA functions in protein synthesis. The single stranded molecule transcribed from one strand of the DNA. There are three types of RNA; each is involved in protein synthesis. RNA is made up of nucleotides containing the sugar ribose, a phosphate group, and one of four nitrogenous bases (adenine, uracil, cytosine, or guanine).
Small organelles made of rRNA and protein in the cytoplasm of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells; aid in the production of proteins on the rough endoplasmic reticulum and ribosome complexes. The site of protein synthesis. The ribosome is composed of two subunits that attach to the mRNA at the beginning of protein synthesis and detach when the polypeptide has been translated.
Scientific method
Systematic approach of observation, hypothesis formation, hypothesis testing, and hypothesis evaluation that forms the basis for modern science.
One or more populations of interbreeding or potentially interbreeding organisms that are reproductively isolated in nature from all other organisms. Populations of individuals capable of interbreeding and producing viable, fertile offspring. The least inclusive taxonomic category commonly used.
An interactive association between two or more species living together; may be parasitic, commensal, or mutualistic. The relationship between two organisms.
A systematic method of classifying plants and animals. Classification of organisms based on degrees of similarity purportedly representing evolutionary (phylogenetic) relatedness.
A hypothesis that has withstood extensive testing by a variety of methods, and in which a higher degree of certainty may be placed. A theory is NEVER a fact, but instead is an attempt to explain one or more facts.
Groups of similar cells organized to carry out one or more specific functions. Groups of cells performing a function in a multicellular organism.
The idea that geological processes have remained uniform over time and that slight changes over long periods can have large-scale consequences; proposed by James Hutton in 1795 and refined by Charles Lyell during the 1800s. The principle on which modern geology was founded: processes operating today on the earth operated in much the same way in the geologic past. Sometimes expressed as “the present is the key to the past”.
Term applied to cells having only a single nucleus
Infectious chemical agent composed of a nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) inside a protein coat.

Deck Info