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79 Cards in this Set

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The differences in characteristics of organisms


The number/variety of organisms in an area


All organisms living in an area including nonliving physical components in the environment. ex. air, soil, water and, sunlight


Different populations live in the same area, at the same time, of an ecosystem. (multiple populations)


Members of the same species live in the same area, at the same time, and use the same resources.

What are causes for lower biodiversity?

1. Habitat loss

2. Invasive species

3. Pollution from farms,

4. Overfishing (fishing faster than reproducing)

5. Climate change

What are benefits of biodiversity?

1. Eco tourism

2. Learning from nature (scientist research)

3. Flood prevention

4. Clean water

What are ways we are trying to protect biodiversity?

1. Protected areas

2. Access and benefit sharing (sharing scientific info),

3. Urban spaces (parks)


A group of organisms capable of interbreeding, producing fertile offspring

Ex. Horse + horse = horse, donkey + donkey = donkey, horse + donkey = mule, which cannot reproduce, so it is sterile and is not a species

Sexual Dimorphism

Differences between the males and females in a species


How new species evolve, species may have similar characteristics but have adapted over time ex. housecats, bobcats, lynxes, lions


A trait that helps an organism’s chances of survival and reproduction in a given environment.

Structural Adaptation

The physical features and characteristics of a plant or animal to help it compete for resources and survive

Ex. Colour, eyes, horns, feet, Thicker fur in the winter

Behavioral Adaptation

The activities and behaviors of an animal to help it better able to compete or survive

Ex. Migration, mating, hunting, nest building

Adaptations of a Camel

Behavioral: Find water, drink cactus sap

Structural: Eyelids/eyelashes help filter out sand, pads on feet, fat stored in hump, don’t sweat, thick lips, can digest sticks, thorns, etc.,

Adaptations of a Beaver

Structural: Big teeth, webbed feet, oily fur, strong teeth, warm fur, poor eyes, big lungs, claws waterproof eyelids

Behavioral: Dam construction, swim, drag trees, cut down trees, live in family groups, eat twigs/small branches, store food under water


An organism's role within a particular ecosystem; its place and function

Ex. Where it lives, what it does, it’s role in its ecosystem

Niche of a Deer

Lives in the foothills and grasslands, live in small groups and eat grass

Niche of a Salmon

Lives in the ocean, swim up freshwater rivers to spawn

Broad niche/generalist:

- An organism that can live in a variety of climates/ecosystems and can eat a variety of food sources

- Can adapt to changes

- Cannot compete well with a specialist for the same food source

Ex. Deer, raven, bears

Narrow niche/specialist

- Has adaptations that make it very efficient at existing in a specific climate/ecosystem, and only eats a specific food source

- Cannot adapt to change

- Allows many different species to live in the same ecosystem, and also serves to limit the growth of a single species

Ex. Pandas, Koalas, Cactus


Adaptations and variations are passed from generation to generation; Traits and characteristics that are passed on from the parents to the offspring are heritable

Asexual Reproduction

The formation of an offspring involving only one parent; the DNA of the offspring is the same as the parent's

Binary Fission

A cell duplicates its contents, then splits into 2 identical cells; only single celled organisms do this

Ex. Bacteria


Similar to seeds but produced by the division of cells of the parent, not by the union of two cells; many spores are produced to ensure that some of the organisms will survive

Vegetative Growth

- The rapidly growing tips of roots and stems contain specialized reproductive cells called meristem, which plants can grow continuously through Meristem cells.

- Clones can be made from the cuttings of the plant because of the Meristem cells

- If parts of the plant are damaged, the meristem cells make repairs


Offspring grows from the parent, eventually separating into it own individual. buds contain their own nucleus.

Ex. Sea sponges, coral, hydra


Genetic material is duplicated and divided – both new cells have identical chromosomes as the parent nucleus

Sexual Reproduction

The union of two mating types or two sexes, which results in a combination of genes from both parents


Sex cells are called gametes. The gametes carry the genetic information of the parents.

Ex. Male gametes: sperm

Female gametes: eggs


A zygote is a fertilized egg (product of a sperm cell fertilizing an egg cell)

Explain sexual reproduction in plants.

- Most plants produce both male and female gametes; some only produce one or the other

- Male and female gametes join to produce a zygote (fruit and seeds)

- Cross-pollination occurs when pollen from one plant is carried to the stigma of another plant

- Many plants are able to reproduce both sexually and asexually.

Bacterial Conjugation

Bacteria are able to transfer genetic material directly from one cell to another; Not actually reproduction because there is not an increase in the number of cells

Explain sexual reproduction in animals.

- Involves gametes (Male sperm, female, egg)

- Gametes combine to form a zygote

- Zygote divides into two cells which is repeated over and over to create an embryo

- The cell division will take place inside the female (most mammals) or outside in an egg (most other animals)


The formation of the sex cells


Organisms that can produce male and female gametes.

Ex. Slugs, garden worms (they can reproduce with themselves if they want)

What are advantages of asexual reproduction?

- Does not require specialized cells or a way of uniting gametes

- No energy or time lost to finding mate

- Can produce lots of offspring very quickly

What are advantages of sexual reproduction?

It provides lots of variation which helps the species survive environmental change

What are disadvantages of asexual reproduction?

If conditions become unfavorable, the entire population may be wiped out (because they are identical)

What are disadvantages of sexual reproduction?

- It takes a lot of energy and time, meaning limited offspring produced

Genetic Storage

All of your genetic information is stored in the nucleus of a cell

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid)

- Found inside nucleus of the cell

- Contains all genetic info

- DNA is made up of 4 different proteins called nucleotides, (A) adenine, (T) thymine (G) guanine (C) cytosine, they occur in pairs (A-T) and (G-C)

- Smallest to largest: DNA → Genes → Chromosomes → Nucleus

How many chromosomes do humans have?

Humans have 46 chromosomes (23 pairs).

How is our sex determined?

Our sex is determined by the 23rd pair of chromosomes.

How do you know if you are male or female?

In males the 23rd pair is XY, in females the 23rd pair is XX


- A section of the chromosome

- Each chromosome has numerous gene locations

- Are always paired

The Genetic Code

Characteristics are passed on from one generation to another within a species through the genetic code of the parents; Researchers can use this – they now know where to focus their search for genetic diseases


The total code for DNA

Chromosomal Disorders

- Some genetic diseases are the result of the chromosomes not coming together in the right combinations (can be more or less than 46 chromosomes)

- If even one chromosome is missing, information will be missing. This will likely lead to problems for that organism

Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21)

- Results from an extra copy of chromosome 21

- People with Down Syndrome have 47 chromosomes

Continuous Variation

- There are a wide variety of possible outcomes

- Hair colour, skin colour, and height

Discrete Variation

- There are only a fixed number of possible outcomes

Ex. A, B, AB, O blood, tongue rolling, smooth/pointed hairline

Dominant or Recessive Trait

- An offspring will inherit two genotypes for each genetic traits

- The dominant genetic genotype will always win over any other genotype

Ex. mid-digital hair, bent middle finger, brown eyes, hand clasping (left on top)

Recessive Traits

- When recessive genetic traits are paired with dominant traits the dominant trait will always win

- The recessive trait will win only if it is paired with another recessive trait.

- Even if the recessive trait is not expressed, it is present.

Punnett Squares

Used to predict the possible genetic results of how parent genotypes could possibly combine


The dependence between species


- One benefits, the other is unaffected

- Neither is harmed

Ex. bird building nest on a tree; barnacles on whales


The relationship benefits both species

Ex. The clown fish, protected from outsiders, lives in the sea anemone, and the clownfish eats small invertebrates which potentially could harm the anemone + fecal matter from the clownfish provides nutrients


- The relationship harms one organism and benefits the other

- Sometimes, the host becomes so weakened from the parasite that the host dies.

Ex. fleas, tapeworm

Artificial Selection

- Scientists use selective breeding to perform artificial selection

- Plants and animals have been bred for specific traits

- Only individuals with the desired trait will be allowed to reproduce

Ex. Miniature dogs, polled cattle (no horns); Plant example - Flour that is higher in protein

Domestic Animals

- An animal that is no longer wild (but their descendants were), and have been bred and tamed by humans.

- They perform a specific task or are a food source

Ex. Cows, horses, dogs

Artificial Selection (Humans)

- Humans select for a desirable characteristic (size, colour, resistance to disease, length of time to mature, resistance to extreme temperatures, and taste)

- The main difference between artificial and natural selection is that humans control the artificial selection process

Ex. Cloning, Artificial insemination: artificially joining the male and female gametes

Theory: Survival of the Fittest

- All organisms produce more offspring than can possibly survive.

- There is great variation within each species.

- Few of these variations increase an organism's chance to survive

- Over time, these variations lead to changes in the genetic characteristics of the species.

Natural Selection

- Occurs when changes in the environment chooses which individuals within a species will be able to survive

- If they live long enough to reproduce, they will pass on their survival adaptations to their offspring


- DNA is taken from one organism and putting it into a fertilized egg

- All other cells formed are exact DNA copies of the original

- There are no variations or adaptations

Genetic Engineering/Biotechnology

- A gene or a strand of DNA is transported from one species to another

- A desirable trait from one organism is given to another.

- An artificial variation is created for that organism.

Ex. Putting pesticide into potato plant, putting anti-freeze into Arctic Salmon/Halibut

Transgenic Animals

- Human DNA (proteins) is inserted into animals, and can now produce human proteins

- Transgenic animals can also be used for human organ transplants (pigs)

- Goats can now produce spider webs because of spider DNA inside the goat

Cost-Effective Crops

- Many crops (Wheat, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, etc) have been genetically altered

- Longer shelf life, insect resistant, more nutritious

- Larger crops, higher yield

Human Impacts

- Large human populations put pressure on the environment

- Impact of the population explosion is not shared equally around the globe

- Most extinctions and extirpations are caused today by human activity

Disappearing Habitats

- Some areas of the world support greater biodiversity than others.

- One of the largest causes of extinction has been human interference and the loss of habitat.

Ex. The burning and destruction of the rainforest is the largest loss of habitat and cause for extinction of specialized organisms

Bioindicator Species

- The population of this species is an indication of the health/condition of that ecosystem.

- It is usually an animal on the top of a food chain.

Ex. Grizzly bears, wolves, sharks, falcons


- Is the disappearance of every individual of a species from the entire planet

- The rate of extinction had been about one species per year

- Today the rate of extinction is closer to 70 extinctions per day.

- 99% of the species that have ever existed are now extinct

- Natural extinction can be caused by lack of food, disease

Ex. Woolly mammoth, passenger pigeon, dodo bird


- A local extinction or the disappearance of a species from a particular area

- Extirpation examples: Grizzly bears, Indian elephant, Bengal tiger, pandas

What are causes of extinction?

- Catastrophic events (volcanic eruptions, earth quakes, floods, fire)

- Lack of food (overpopulation)

- Disease

- Overspecialization (ex. Giant pandas only rely on bamboo, making it vulnerable to extinction)

- Human impacts (logging, construction, pollution)


Your traits in your genes


Trait that is expressed (dominant trait)


When you conserve a species inside its natural habitat

Ex. Forest, desert, where the species usually lives


When you conserve a species outside its natural habitat

Ex. Zoos

Why would we want to make a clone?

-Recreate dead things and make an exact copy, such as pets and even humans

- Recreate extinct species

- Clone famous figures, clone people from the past many years ago