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Lecture 1

General Themes

TermDefinition
Levels of organization molecules, cells, groups of cells, organism, population, community, ecosystem, biosphere
The cell is the basic _____, while the organism is the _____. unit of life; "living thing"
The _____ is the most highly integrated biological entity. organism
Animals are complex, multicellular organism that have an _____. organized structure ("body plan")
Reductionism explanation of biological phenomena from physical and chemical principles; emphasis on lower levels of organization
Synthesis analysis of whole system properties; emphasis on interactions of components at higher levels of organization
Emergent properties new properties that arise at higher levels of organization; result from increased complexity and interactions among parts
Proximate causation biological function depends on structure and physical/biological interactions among components
Ultimate causation biological structures (which result from expression of specific genes) are shaped by evolution; structures have evolved to meet functional needs of organisms
Claude Bernard (19th century physiologist) organism and environment are an interacting system; the internal environment of the organism is regulated to maintain suitable conditions for life in the face of fluctuations in the external environment
Homeostasis (Walter Cannon) relative constancy of the internal environment
steady state input = output; not equilibrium; requires continuous input of energy and molecular materials
Adaptation Characteristic of an organism that enhances survival and reproduction in its specific environment; evolutionary "fit" of animo form and function to its environment
Quote by G. Bartholomew "Natural selection yields adequacy of adaptation rather than perfection."
Evolution the central organizing principle of biology
Charles Darwin published _____. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859)
Evolutionary process On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859)
Evolutionary history origin and and ancestry of species; all life is related, and all species have descended from common ancestors
"Tree of life" shows current understanding of relationships among species and higher taxa
Example of proximate causation Nerve impulses are caused by a rapid inflow of sodium ions into the nerve cell through protein channels in the cell membrane.
Example of ultimate causation The kangaroo rat has evolved the ability to form very concentrated urine in response to pressure by natural selection to survive in its arid environment.