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Life Science Vocab.

Vocabulary of Life Science

TermDefinition
stimulus anything that causes a reaction or change in an organism or any part of an organism
sexual reproduction reproduction in which the sex cells from two parents unite to produce offspring that share traits from both parents
structure the arrangement of parts in an organism
tissue a group of similar cells that perform a common function
vesicle a small cavity or sac that connects materials
taxonomy the science of describing, naming, and classifying organisms
sex chromosomes pair of chromosomes that determines the sex of an individual
asexual reproduction reproduction that doesn't involve the union of sex cells and in which one parent produces offspring that're genetically identical to the parent
consumer an organism that eats other organisms or organic matter
decomposer an organism that gets energy by breaking down the remains of dead organisms or animal wastes and consuming or absorbing the nutrients
carbohydrate a class of energy-giving nutrients that includes sugars , starches, and fiber; contains carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen
ATP Adenosine TriPhosphate, a molecule that acts as the main energy source for cell processes
cell in biology, the smallest unit that can perform all life processes; cells are covered by a membrane and contain DNA and cytoplasm
cell membrane a phospholipid layer that covers a cell's surface and acts as a barrier between the inside of a cell and the cell's environment
cell wall a rigid structure that surrounds the cell membrane and provides support to the cell
active transport the movement of substances across the cell membrane that requires the cell to use energy
cellular respiration the process by which cells use oxygen to produce energy from food
cell cycle the life cycle of a cell
chromosome in a eukaryotic cell, one of the structures in the nucleus that're made up of DNA and protein; in a prokaryotic cell, the main ring of DNA
cytokinesis the division of the cytoplasm of a cell
Classification the division of organisms into groups, or classes, based on specific characteristics
Archaebacteria a kingdom made up of bacteria that live in extreme environments
Animalia a kingdom made up of complex, multicellular organisms that lack cell walls, can usually move around, and quickly respond to their environment
allele one of the alternative forms of a gene that governs a characteristic
homeostasis the maintenance of a constant internal state in a changing environment
heredity the passing of genetic traits from parent to offspring
eukaryote an organism made up of cells that have a nucleus enclosed by a membrane; eukaryotes include animals, plants, and fungi but not archaebacteria or eubacteria
endoplasmic reticulum a system of membranes that's found in a cell's cytoplasm and that assists in the production, processing, and transport of proteins and in the production of lipids
Golgi complex cell organelle that helps make and package materials to be transported out of the cell
eukaryote an organism made up of cells that have a nucleus enclosed by a membrane; eukaryotes include animals, plants, and fungi but not archaebacteria or eubacteria
endoplasmic reticulum a system of membranes that's found in a cell's cytoplasm and that assists in the production, processing, and transport of proteins and in the production of lipids
Golgi complex cell organelle that helps make and package materials to be transported out of the cell
function the special, normal, or proper activity of an organ or part
diffusion the movement of particles from regions of higher density to regions lower density
endocytosis the process by which a cell membrane surrounds a particle and encloses the particle in a vesicle to bring the particle into the cell
exocytosis the process in which a cell releases a particle by enclosing the particle in a vesicle that then moves to the cell surface and fuses with the cell membrane
fermentation the breakdown of food without the use of oxygen
homologous chromosomes chromosomes that have the same sequence of genes and the same structure
dichotomous key an aid that's used to identify organisms and that consists of the answers to a series of questions
Eubacteria a kingdom that contains all prokaryotes except archaebacteria
Fungi a kingdom made up of nongreen, eukaryotic organisms that have no means of movement, reproduce by using spores, and get food by breaking down substances in their surroundings and absorbing the nutrients
heredity the passing of genetic traits from parent to offspring
dominant trait the trait observed in the first generation when parents that have different traits are bred
gene one set of instructions for an inherited trait
genotype the entire genetic makeup of an organism; also the combination of genes for one or more specific traits
homologous chromosome chromosomes that have the same sequence of genes and the same structure
metabolism the sum of all chemical processes that occur in an organism
lipid a type of biochemical that doesn't dissolve in water; fats and steroids are lipids
nucleus in a eukaryotic cell, a membrane-bound organelle that contains the cell's DNA and that has a role in processes such as growth, metabolism, and reproduction
mitochondrion in a eukaryotic cells, the cell organelle that's surrounded by two membranes and that's the site of cellular respiration
lysosome a cell organelle that contains digestive enzymes
mitosis in eukaryotic cells, a process of cell divisions that forms two nuclei, each of which has the same number of chromosomes
meiosis a process in cell division during which the number of chromosomes decreases to half the original number by two divisions of the nucleus, which results in the production of sex cells
producer an organism that can make its own food by using energy from its surroundings
protein a molecule that's made up of amino acids and that's needed to build and repair body structures and to regulate processes in the body
phospholipid a lipid that contains phosphorus and that's a structural component in cell membranes
organelle one of the small bodies in a cell's cytoplasm that're specialized to perform a specific function
prokaryote an organism that consists of a single cell that doesn't have a nucleus
ribosome a cell organelle composed of RNA and protein; the site of protein synthesis
organ a collection of tissues that carry out a specialized function of the body
organ system a group of organs that work together to perform body functions
organism a living thing; anything that can carry out life processes independently
osmosis the diffusion of water through a semipermeable membrane
passive transport the movement of substances across a cell membrane without the use of energy by the cell
photosynthesis the process by which plants, algae, and some bacteria use sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water to make food
Protista a kingdom of mostly one-celled eukaryotic organisms that're different from plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi
Plantae a kingdom made up of complex, multicellular organisms that're usually green, have cell walls made of cellulose, can't move around, and use the sun's energy to make sugar by photosynthesis
recessive trait a trait that's apparent only when two recessive alleles for the same characteristic are inherited
phenotype an organism's appearance or other detectable characteristics
probability the likelihood that a possible future event will occur in any given instance of the event
pedigree a diagram that shows the occurrence of a genetic trait in several generations of a family
Created by: Boromir