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Introduction to Biology
Biology is the study of LIFE!
Big Ideas in AP Biology Big Idea 1: The process of evolution drives the diversity
and unity of life.
Big Idea 2: Biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce and to maintain dynamic homeostasis.
Big Idea 3: Living systems store, retrieve, transmit and respond to information essential to life processes.
Big Idea 4: Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties.
Themes in the Study of Life
1. Biological Hierarchy 1. Atom
2. Molecule -> macromolecule
5. Organ & organ system
9. Ecosystem (biomes)
2. Organisms interact with other organisms & environment
3. Life requires energy transfer
4. Structure dictates Function (Form fits function)
5. The Cell = Basic unit
6. Continuity of life is based on heritable information
7. Feedback mechanisms
8. Evolution accounts for unity and diversity of life
Taxonomy: classification of organisms
Three Domains of Life
3. Eukarya (plants, animals, fungi)
What is Science?
Science = Latin to know
Inquiry is at the heart of science. Inquiry: search for information and
Two main processes: 1. Discovery science 2. Hypothesis-based science
Describes nature through observation and analysis of data
Data = recorded observations
Qualitative and quantitative
Inductive reasoning: derive generalizations based on specific observations
Hypothesis: makes predictions that can be tested by recording more observations or experiments
Deductive reasoning (general specific)
If , then
Predict outcomes of experiments if hypothesis is correct
The Myth of the Scientific Method
Published research articles follow the steps of the textbook scientific method
Most scientific inquiries dont follow this structured form
Scientists can be working with the wrong hypothesis and have to redirect research
Discovery science - contributes to understanding of nature without using the scientific method
Hypothesis (If , then ...)
Use control and experimental groups
Independent Variable what is manipulated/changed in the experiment
Dependent Variable what is measured
If [independent variable], then [dependent variable].
Hypothesis / Theory / Law
Hypothesis Explanation to specific
Tested by experiment or continued observation
Can be disproven, but not cant proven to be true
Theory Summarizes group of
hypothesis supported by repeated testing
Broader in scope
New hypotheses can be generated from it
Supported by massive body of evidence
Scientific Law Statement of fact
Explains things, but doesnt describe them
Generally accepted to be true and universal
Basis for scientific method