Biology 101: Chp. 1: The Scientific Study of Life

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Cell
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Smallest unit of life that can function independently
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Organism
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A single living individual
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Atom
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A particle of matter; composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons
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Molecule
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Two or more atoms joined by chemical bonds
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Organelle
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Compartment of a eukaryotic cell that performs a specialized function
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Tissues
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Groups of cells that interact and provide a specific function
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Organ
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Two or more tissues that interact and function as an integrated unit
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Organ System
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Two or more physically or functionally linked organs
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Population
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Interbreeding members of the same species occupying the same region
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Community
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Group of interacting populations that inhabit the same region
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Ecosystem
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A community and it’s nonliving environment
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Biosphere
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Part of earth where life can exist
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Emergent Property
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Quality that results from interactions of a systems components
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Producer
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Autotroph: organism that uses inorganic sources of energy and carbon
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Consumer
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Heterotroph: organism that uses organic sources of energy and carbon
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Decomposer
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Organism that consumes wastes and dead organic matter, returning inorganic nutrients to the ecosystem
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Homeostasis
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The ability of an organism to maintain a stable internal environment despite changes in the external enviornment
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Asexual Reproduction
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Form of reproduction in which offspring arise from only one parent
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Sexual Reproduction
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The combination of genetic material from two individuals to create a third individual
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Adaptation
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Inherited trait that permits an organism to survive and reproduce
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Natural Selection
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Differential reproduction of organisms based on inherited traits
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Evolution
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Descent with modification; change in allele frequencies in a population over time
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Taxonomy
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The science of describing, naming, and classifying organisms
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Species
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A distinct type of organism
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Genus
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Taxonomic category that groups closely related species
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Domain
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Broadest (most inclusive) taxonomic category
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Kingdom
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Taxonomic category below domain
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Scientific Method
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A systematic approach to understanding the natural world based on evidence and testable hypotheses
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Hypothesis
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A testable, tentative explanation based on prior knowledge
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Sample size
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Number of subjects in each experimental group
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Variable
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Any changeable element in an experiment
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Independent variable
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Hypothesized influence on a dependent variable
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Dependent variable
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Response that may be under the influence of an independent variable
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Standardized variable
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Any factor held constant for all subjects in an experiment
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Control
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Untreated group used as a basis for comparison with a treated group in an experiment
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Placebo
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Inert substance used as an experimental control
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Double blind
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Type of experiment in which neither participants nor researchers know which subjects received a placebo and which received the treatment being evaluated
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Statistically significant
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Unlikely to be attributed to chance

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