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The study of life


An independent individual that possesses all characteristics of life

organ system

Groups of specialized parts that carry out a certain function in the organism.


Structures that carry out specialized jobs within an organ system


Tiny structures that carry our the functions necessary for the cell to stay alive.

biological molecules

The chemical compounds (found in an organelle) that provide physical structure and that bring about movement, energy use, and other cellular functions.


Smallest unit that can perform all of life's processes


describes a tissue, organ, or organism that is made up of many cells


describes an organism that consists of a single cell


A physical or chemical change in the internal or external environment


The mainentance of a stable level of internal conditions even thought environmental conditions are constantly changing.


The sum of all the chemical reactions that take in and transform energy and materials from the environment.


The high degree of order within an organism's internal and external parts and in its interactions with the living world.


Groups of cells that have similar abilities and that allow the organ to function.


The process by which an organism becomes a mature adult.


The smallest unit of an element that maintains the chemical properties of that element


Variety of life


Features that all living things have in common


The branch of biology that studies organisms interacting with each other and with the environment.


Communities of living species and their physical environments


(AKA: decent with modification) Is the process in which the inherited characteristics within populations change over generations, such that genetically distinct populations and new species can develop.

the tree of life

A model of the relationships by ancestry among all major groups of organisms.

natural selection

A theory to explain the mechanism of evolution; states that organisms that have certain favorable traits are better able to survive and reproduce successfully than organisms that lack these traits.

controlled experiment

Compares an experimental group and a control group and only has one variable

control group

Provides a normal standard against which the biologist can compare results of the experimental group.


Used to test a hypothesis and its predictions


A proposed idea or explanation, based on observations, that can be tested.


The act of perceiving a natural occurrence, by using the senses, that causes someone to pose a question.


A conclusion made on the basis of facts and previous knowledge rather than on direct observations. Not directly testable.

independent variables

(AKA: manipulated variable) Variable that differs between the control group and the experimental group. The factor that is being tested and manipulated by the experimenter.

dependent variables

(AKA: responding variable) The factor that is driven by or results from the independent variable. The changes you observe during the experiment (what you measure!!)


The variables or conditions that are not changed in an experiment


When a set of related hypotheses is confirmed to be true many times and can explain a great amount of data

qualitative data

Data that includes observations and descriptions that do not involve numbers.

quantitative data

Data that can be measured in numbers. Can be compared by scientists repeating others' experiments


Must be careful to prevent previous ideas from tainting both experimental process and the conclusion


What is expected to happen if each hypothesis were true.


The increase of an object's apparent size


The power to show details clearly

compound light microscope

Microscope that shines light through a specimen and has two lenses (objective and ocular) to magnify an image.

Electron microscope

Beam of electrons produce an enlarged image of the specimen.

transmission electron microsope

Transmits a beam of electrons through a very thinly sliced specimen, magnetic lenses enlarge the image and focus it on a screen or photographic plate.

scanning electron microscope

Passes a beam of electrons over the specimen's surface.

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