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BIOLOGY

Topic II: Organisms and Environment

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education


(HKDSE)

Notes & Exercises


Chapter 7 to 20

ANDY WONG S.T.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 7 FOOD AND HUMANS ................................................................................................ 5


1. Modes of nutrition ........................................................................................... 5
2. Food requirements of humans ..................................................................... 5
3. Food tests ........................................................................................................ 8
4. Balanced diet .................................................................................................. 8

CHAPTER 8 NUTRITION IN HUMANS ........................................................................................... 9


1. Processes of human nutrition ....................................................................... 9
2. Ingestion of food ............................................................................................. 9
3. Movement of food along alimentary canal ............................................... 11
4. Digestion of food .......................................................................................... 11
5. Absorption of food ........................................................................................ 13
6. Assimilation of food ...................................................................................... 13
7. Egestion of food............................................................................................ 14

CHAPTER 9 GAS EXCHANGE IN HUMANS ................................................................................ 15


1. Human breathing system ............................................................................ 15
2. Gas exchange in air sacs............................................................................ 17
3. Transport of gases in blood ........................................................................ 17
4. Ventilation ...................................................................................................... 18

CHAPTER 10 TRANSPORT IN HUMANS ..................................................................................... 19


1. Human circulatory system........................................................................... 19
2. Blood .............................................................................................................. 19
3. Blood vessels ................................................................................................ 20
4. The heart ....................................................................................................... 21
5. Blood circulation ........................................................................................... 23
6. Exchange of materials into body cells ...................................................... 24
7. Lymphatic system......................................................................................... 24

CHAPTER 11 NUTRITION AND GAS EXCHANGE IN PLANTS ..................................................... 25


1. Plants as autotrophs .................................................................................... 25
2. Minerals essential for plant growth ............................................................ 25
3. Absorption of water and minerals .............................................................. 26
4. Gas exchange in plants ............................................................................... 26

CHAPTER 12 TRANSPIRATION, TRANSPORT AND SUPPORT IN PLANTS ................................. 30


1. Transpiration ................................................................................................. 30
2. Transport in flowering plants ...................................................................... 31
3. Support in plants .......................................................................................... 33
*CHAPTER 13 REPRODUCTION IN FLOWERING PLANTS .......................................................... 34
1. Types of reproduction .................................................................................. 34

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Topic II

2. Asexual reproduction in flowering plants .................................................. 34


3. Sexual reproduction in flowering plants .................................................... 35
4. Pros and cons of asexual and sexual reproduction ................................ 38

CHAPTER 14 REPRODUCTION IN HUMANS ............................................................................... 39


1. Human reproductive system ....................................................................... 39
2. Sexual maturity ............................................................................................. 41
3. Fertilization in humans ................................................................................ 42
4. Development of embryo .............................................................................. 42
5. Birth process ................................................................................................. 44
6. Parental care ................................................................................................. 44
7. Birth control ................................................................................................... 44

*CHAPTER 15 GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT........................................................................... 46


1. Concept of growth and development ........................................................ 46
2. Measurement of growth .............................................................................. 46
3. Germination of seeds .................................................................................. 47
4. Growth in plants............................................................................................ 47
5. Growth in humans ........................................................................................ 49

CHAPTER 16 DETECTING THE ENVIRONMENT.......................................................................... 50


1. Irritability......................................................................................................... 50
2. The human eye ............................................................................................. 50
3. Tropism in plants .......................................................................................... 53
4. The human ear ............................................................................................. 57

CHAPTER 17 COORDINATION IN HUMANS ................................................................................ 59


1. Human nervous system............................................................................... 59
2. Neurones and nerve impulses ................................................................... 59
3. The brain........................................................................................................ 60
4. The spinal cord ............................................................................................. 61
5. Nervous actions ............................................................................................ 62
6. Human endocrine system ........................................................................... 63
7. Comparison between hormonal and nervous coordination ................... 63

*CHAPTER 18 MOVEMENT IN HUMANS ..................................................................................... 64


1. The human skeleton .................................................................................... 64
2. Joints .............................................................................................................. 65
3. Muscles .......................................................................................................... 66
4. Movement of the body ................................................................................. 66

CHAPTER 19 HOMEOSTASIS..................................................................................................... 68
1. Concept of homeostasis.............................................................................. 68
2. Regulation of blood glucose level .............................................................. 68

CHAPTER 20 ECOSYSTEMS ...................................................................................................... 70


1. Basic concepts of ecology .......................................................................... 70
2. Components of an ecosystem .................................................................... 70

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3. Energy flow within an ecosystem .............................................................. 73
4. Materials cycling ........................................................................................... 75
5. Conservation of ecosystem ........................................................................ 76
6. Study of a local habitat ................................................................................ 77

REFERENCES ............................................................................................................................... 79

*These topics are not required in biology part of HKDSE Combined Science curriculum.

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Topic II

CHAPTER 7
FOOD AND HUMANS

1. Modes of nutrition
Some organisms can make their own food from simple inorganic substances; they are called autotrophs
(e.g. plants). This mode of nutrition is called autotrophic nutrition.

Some cannot make their own food, instead they obtain it by taking in organic substances from other
organisms; they are called heterotrophs (e.g. humans). This mode of nutrition is called heterotrophic
nutrition.

There are three sub-groups for heterotrophic nutrition:


(1) Holozoic nutrition: take in solid organic matters by feeding on other organisms.
(2) Saprophytic nutrition: feed on dead organisms or non-living organic matters.
(3) Parasitic nutrition: live on/inside other organisms body and obtain nutrients from them

2. Food requirements of humans


Food is essential to humans because it provides energy for doing activities and keeping warm; provides
raw materials for growth and repair; and it contains important substances for maintaining health.

A. Primary food substances


These food substances are essential to life.

i) Carbohydrates organic substances made up of carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O)
H:O ratio is always 2:1
as the main energy source (17.1kJ/g)

Monosaccharides Disaccharides Polysaccharides


Formula C6H12O6 C12H22O11 CnH2n-2On-1
Glucose, fructose,
Examples Maltose, sucrose, lactose Starch, glycogen, cellulose
galactose
Glucose + glucose maltose +H2O
Condensation of
Formation / Glucose + fructose sucrose +H2O
monosaccharides
Glucose + galactose lactose +H2O
Sweet, soluble in water, Sweet, soluble in water, reducing sugar Insoluble in water,
Properties
reducing sugar (except sucrose: non-reducing sugar) non-reducing
Starch storage in plants
Glucose broken down to
Functions / Glycogen storage in animals
release energy
Cellulose make cell walls
Maltose wheat, barley
Food Glucose grapes Starch rice, noodles, bread,
Sucrose sugar cane
source Fructose fruits potatoes
Lactose milk

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Excess carbohydrates are converted into glycogen (in liver/muscles) or lipids (under skin/internal
organs). Cellulose is an important source of dietary fibre.

ii) Lipids organic substances made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen


H:O ratio is greater than 2:1
insoluble in water, but soluble in organic solvents
include fats (solid form) and oils (liquid form)
Glycerol + 3 fatty acids triglyceride (lipid) + 3 H2O
functions: (1) an energy source (38.9kJ/g, twice as that of carbohydrates),
(2) major component of cell membranes,
(3) transport and store fat-soluble vitamins (e.g. vitamins A and D),
(4) excess lipids will be stored in adipose tissues, often under skin as
subcutaneous fat or around the internal organs
(a) act as food reserve, (b) act as insulator to reduce heat loss,
(c) shock-absorber to protect the internal organs.
found in fatty meat, butter, plant oil, cheese, nuts, etc.

iii) Proteins organic substances made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen
basic building blocks are called amino acids
each molecule has a central carbon atom, attached by an amino group (NH2),
a carboxyl group (COOH), a specific side chain (R) and a hydrogen atom
different amino acids can join together t o form different combinations
among 20 amino acids, 12 of them can be made by human body (non-essential
amino acids), the other 8 must be obtained from the diet (essential amino acids).
functions: (1) growth and repair,
(2) form enzymes, antibodies, haemoglobin, hormones, etc.
(3) provide energy (18.2kJ/g) if carbohydrates and lipids are used up.
found in meat, eggs, fish, beans, dairy products, etc.
deficiency in protein may lead to kwashiorkor.

amino acid dipeptide polypeptide protein

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Topic II

Excess amino acids cannot be stored. Amino group is removed to form urea (deamination), then
passed out as urine. Remaining parts are converted into carbohydrates or lipids.

iv) Water no energy value


acts as a solvent, medium for chemical reactions/transport
acts as a cooling agent, reactant for some metabolic reactions
passes out as urine if in excess.

B. Protective food substances


These food substances are needed to stay healthy.

i) Vitamins no energy value, needed in small amounts


help regulate metabolic reactions
Vitamin A Vitamin C Vitamin D
Water-soluble Fat-soluble
Properties Fat-soluble Easily destroyed by oxygen Produced by skin under
in air/high temperature sunlight
Helps form visual pigment For growth and repair of
Helps uptake of calcium
Keeps skin/cornea of the connective tissues
Functions and phosphorus ions
eyes/lining of alimentary canal Helps heal wounds
from the gut
and breathing system healthy Keeps gums and skin healthy
Fish-liver oil, milk, green
vegetables (carrots have Fish-liver oil, dairy
Food source Fresh vegetables, fruits
carotene that can be converted products
to vitamin A in liver)
Night blindness Scurvy
Deficiency Drying up of cornea and skin (bleeding gums/loose teeth, Rickets
disease Easy infection of linings of body bleeds easily and cause Bone fractures
lungs and trachea bruises under skin)

ii) Minerals no energy value, needed in small amounts


help regulate metabolic reactions and building body tissues
examples are calcium, iron, iodine, potassium, phosphorous
Function Food source Deficiency disease
Forms bones and teeth Dairy products (e.g. milk,
Rickets
Calcium Essential for blood clotting and cheese), some green
Bleeding (haemorrhage)
muscle contraction vegetables (e.g. broccoli)

Beef, liver, green


Iron Forms haemoglobin Anaemia
vegetables

iii) Dietary fibre (a.k.a. roughage) consists mainly of cellulose from plant cell walls
adds bulk to food to stimulate peristalsis
holds water to enable faeces remain soft
found in fruits, cereals and vegetables
deficiency in dietary fibre may lead to constipation.

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3. Food tests
Food substance Food test Positive result
Glucose Using Clinistix paper Clinistix paper changes from pink to purple
Reducing sugar Benedicts test Brick red precipitate forms
Starch Iodine test Iodine solution changes from brown to blue-black
A translucent spot is left, which disappears after
Lipid Grease spot test
immersing it in an organic solvent
Protein Using Albustix paper Albustix paper changes from yellow to green
Vitamin C Using DCPIP solution DCPIP solution changes from blue to colourless

4. Balanced diet
Diet refers to all the food we eat. We must have a balanced diet, which consists of all 7 food substances
in right amounts and proportions, to maintain health and meet energy needs of our body. The food
pyramid is a general guide to have a balanced diet, it introduces 6 basic food groups as follows:
(1) eat less: fat, oil, salt and sugar
(2) eat moderately: (a) dairy products; (b) meat, eggs and beans
(3) eat more: (a) vegetables; (b) fruits
(4) eat most: cereals and grains.

Also, different people needs different balanced diet at different stages of life:
(1) Children need more protein, calcium and iron to grow actively.
(2) Males need more energy than females since males have a larger body size, more muscles and less
subcutaneous fat.
(3) People with more muscular activities (heavier workload) require more energy.
(4) Pregnant women need more carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins because their foetuses
need energy and raw materials for growth. Breast-feeding mothers need an extra supply of nutrients
for milk production.

Eating too much or too little is also unhealthy:


Disease/Illness Causes Symptoms/ Risk
Energy intake exceeds energy needs, High blood pressure
Overweight/Obesity so the extra energy is stored as fats Heart disease
Body weight exceeds normal Joints may be easily damaged
Patients consider themselves fat
Anorexia nervosa even though they are very slim Become dangerously weak
(a kind of mental illness) They fear of gaining weight and Even death
refuse to eat
Energy intake is less than energy Becomes thin
Malnutrition
needs, nutrients stored will be used Symptoms of deficiency diseases

Eating food with too much saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol may increase the risks of having
cardiovascular diseases.

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Topic II

CHAPTER 8
NUTRITION IN HUMANS

1. Processes of human nutrition


Nutrition in humans takes place in the digestive system, and consists of five main processes:
(1) Ingestion: food is taken through the mouth into the alimentary canal.
(2) Digestion: food is broken down into soluble and simple molecules.
(3) Absorption: digested food molecules enter into the circulatory (or lymphatic) system.
(4) Assimilation: absorbed food molecules are taken up and used by cells for metabolism.
(5) Egestion: undigested materials are removed from the alimentary canal as faeces.

Digestive system
It consists of the alimentary canal (a.k.a. digestive tract or gut) and its associated glands.
(1) Alimentary canal: mouth cavity pharynx oesophagus stomach small intestine (duodenum
and ileum) large intestine (caecum, colon and rectum) anus
(2) Glands: salivary glands, gastric glands, pancreas, liver, glands in the small intestine.

2. Ingestion of food
In the mouth cavity, food is cut up by the teeth. The process of chewing food is called mastication.

A. Structure of a tooth

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

A tooth is divided into the crown (above the gum), the neck (surrounded by the gum) and the root
(embedded inside the jawbone). Each tooth consists of three layers:
i) Enamel outermost, hardest part covering the crown
non-living, mainly made up of calcium salts (calcium phosphate)
protects the tooth from wearing down as a result of chewing.
ii) Dentine middle layer of a tooth, bone-like (but not as hard as enamel)

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strands of living cytoplasm is running through it.
iii) Pulp cavity enclosed at the centre by dentine
contains living cells, blood vessels and nerve fibres
nerve fibres enable the tooth to detect temperature and pressure.

Around the roots, enamel is replaced by cement. Fibres from cement pass into the jawbone and forms
periodontal membrane. Cement and periodontal membrane fix a tooth to the jawbone.

B. Types of teeth
Location General features Functions
Chisel-shaped
Biting
Incisor At the front of the jaw Has flat sharp edges
Cutting of food
1 root
Pointed and curved
Tearing of flesh
Between incisors and Well-developed in carnivores
Canine (For carnivores) kills prey and
premolars (e.g. lions)
prevents them from escaping
1 root
Larger than canines
At the sides of each
Premolar Has broad top with cusps in humans
jaw Chewing, crushing and grinding
1 or 2 roots
food into smaller pieces
Similar to premolars, but larger
Molar Behind the premolars
2 or 3 roots
*In humans, upper jaw is fixed while the lower jaw is movable.

Dentition refers to the number and arrangement of different types of teeth in a mammal. It can be
represented by a dental formula, which shows the number of teeth on each side of upper/lower jaw.

e.g. human adult, on each side: incisor (i) canines (c) premolars (pm) molars (m)
upper jaw 2 1 2 3
lower jaw 2 1 2 3
No. of teeth on each side = ( 2 + 1 + 2 + 3 ) 2 = 16
Total no. of teeth = 16 2 = 32
Dental formula: i c pm m or simply

Humans have two sets of teeth in a lifetime:


Dental formula General features Teething age
No premolars, fewer molars
Smaller, whiter, more delicate
Milk teeth First 2 years of life
Smaller roots and easily worn away
Usually replaced by permanent teeth
Not replaced by any new teeth if they
Permanent are damaged or lost
Between ages of 6 and 12
teeth the third molars on each side is called
wisdom teeth

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Topic II

3. Movement of food along alimentary canal


I. Swallowing tongue mixes the food pieces with saliva and shapes it into a bolus
tongue rises to push the bolus towards the pharynx
soft palate moves up to prevent the bolus from entering nasal cavity
larynx rises so that the epiglottis covers the opening of trachea
bolus enters the oesophagus.

*It is a reflex action that occurs automatically.

II. Peristalsis rhythmic contraction and relaxation of muscles in the wall of alimentary canal
when the bolus enters the oesophagus, circular muscles (on the wall of
alimentary canal) behind it contract, and those in front of it relax.
longitudinal muscles behind it relax, and those in front of it contract
lumen behind it becomes smaller and the bolus is squeezed forward
helps break down food and mixes it with digestive juices.

4. Digestion of food
A. Physical digestion
It increases the surface area of food, but it does not change the chemical composition/structure. It is
mainly brought about by:
(1) Mechanical actions of the alimentary canal, which includes
(a) chewing by teeth,
(b) churning by muscles in the stomach,
(c) peristalsis along alimentary canal
(2) Emulsification of lipids by bile salt in the small intestine.

B. Chemical digestion
Since the physically digested food is not small enough, they are broken down into smaller, simpler
molecules by chemical reactions (which are catalysed by digestive enzymes).

Carbohydrases Lipase Proteases


Breakdown of complex Breakdown of proteins into
Reactions Breakdown of lipids into
carbohydrates into simpler polypeptides, peptides and
catalyzed fatty acids and glycerol
sugars amino acids
Examples Amylase, sucrase, maltase Pancreatic lipase Pepsin, trypsin, peptidases

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C. The alimentary canal
i) Mouth cavity humans have three parts of salivary glands, which secrete saliva
contains salivary amylase, mucus (moistens and lubricates food) and water
(dissolves soluble substances).

ii) Stomach a muscular bag with gastric glands on its wall to secrete gastric juice
contains proteases, hydrochloric acid (provides acidic medium for proteases; kills
bacteria) and mucus (protects stomach from being digested by protease/damaged
by hydrochloric acid)
food is churned and digested into a semi-solid paste (called chyme)
entrance is guarded by cardiac sphincter that prevents backflow of gastric juice
exit is guarded by pyloric sphincter that regulates the release of food to duodenum.

iii) Small intestine includes duodenum and ileum


its wall secretes slightly alkaline intestinal juice which contains mucus, but
has no enzymes
bile is released via bile duct. It is a green alkaline fluid secreted by liver
(temporarily stored in gall bladder) and has no enzymes, but contains:
(1) bile salts: emulsify lipids into small oil droplets to increase surface area for
lipase to act on;
(2) bile pigments: only give colour to bile; formed by breaking down
haemoglobin in old red blood cells in the liver;
(3) sodium hydrogencarbonate: neutralizes the acidic chyme and provides
alkaline medium for enzymes.
pancreatic juice is released through pancreatic duct to duodenum.

Digestive Site of production


Sites of action Constituents Reactions pH
juice (digestive glands)
~7.5
Salivary amylase,
Saliva Salivary glands Mouth cavity Starch maltose (slightly
mucus, water
alkaline)
Proteases,
Gastric Gastric glands (in 2.0
Stomach hydrochloric acid Proteins peptides
juice stomach wall) (acidic)
(HCl), mucus
Bile salts, bile
pigment, sodium 7.6 8.6
Bile Liver Duodenum Fats oil droplets
hydrogencarbonate (alkaline)
(NaHCO3)
Starch maltose
Pancreatic amylase,
Pancreatic Protein peptides 8.0
Pancreas Duodenum proteases, lipase,
juice Peptides amino acids (alkaline)
NaHCO3
Fats fatty acids + glycerol
Intestinal Glands in walls of Duodenum, Disaccharides monosaccharides 8.5
Mucus, no enzymes*
juice duodenum/ileum) ileum Peptides amino acids (alkaline)
*Specialized cells on its wall have carbohydrates and proteases on their cell membrane.

12
Topic II

5. Absorption of food
Small intestine is very long, which allows sufficient time for complete digestion and absorption.
Absorption is mainly taken place in the ileum. Its wall is highly folded with numerous finger-like
projections called villi, which have the following structural adaptations:
(1) finger-like projections to increase surface area for absorption;
(2) a thin epithelium (one-cell thick) shortens distance to increase rate of diffusion;
(3) each villus has a lymph vessel (called lacteal) in its centre, and is surrounded by blood capillaries, to
carry food molecules away rapidly;
(4) movement of villi caused by peristalsis allows surface of villi to contact newly digested food all the
time, it keeps a steep concentration gradient of food molecules across the wall.

Monosaccharides, amino acids, minerals and water-soluble vitamins are absorbed into the blood
capillaries in the villi by diffusion and active transport. These nutrients are then carried through hepatic
portal vein to the liver, which is then carried to the heart via hepatic vein.

Fatty acids and glycerol diffuse across the epithelium and recombine into lipids, which then enter the
lacteal. They will pass into the main lymph vessels and eventually into the bloodstream near the heart.

Most of the water (>90%) is absorbed in the stomach and small intestine by osmosis. Large intestine is
the last site for water absorption.

6. Assimilation of food
The absorbed food will be used as follows:

excess
glucose glycogen
(releasing energy) (stored in liver/ muscles)

excess
excess
lipids stored in adipose tissue under skin/
excess (energy reserve/ make deposited around internal organs
cell membrane)

excess
deaminated
amino acids urea
(make proteins for (pass out in urine)
growth and repair)

Liver is a vital organ for assimilation, which has the following functions:
(1) regulates blood glucose level
converts excess glucose into glycogen as blood glucose level increases (e.g. after a meal)
converts stored glycogen back to glucose if blood glucose level is too low.
(2) stores glycogen, iron (from breakdown of old red blood cells), fat-soluble vitamins;
(3) produces bile, vitamin A (changed from carotene), heat;
(4) converts excess amino acids into urea (by deamination), carbohydrates or lipids;
(5) changes mild toxins such as alcohol to harmless substance (detoxification).
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7. Egestion of food
As the food materials reach the rectum, they become unwanted semi-solid materials called faeces, which
are brown (due to the bile pigments). They mainly consist of indigestible food (e.g. dietary fibre),
secretions from alimentary canal, bacteria, dead cells, and small amount of water.

Faeces are stored temporarily in the rectum that opens through the anus. When the anal sphincter relaxes
and rectum muscles contract, faeces are pushed out through the anus. It is called egestion or defaecation.

14
Topic II

CHAPTER 9
GAS EXCHANGE IN HUMANS

1. Human breathing system


Organisms need oxygen for respiration while carbon dioxide is produced at the same time.

In very small organisms (e.g. Amoeba), gas exchange occurs mainly by diffusion on the body surface. On
the other hand, larger organisms (e.g. humans) need a breathing system for efficient gas exchange and a
transport system to carry gases between site of gas exchange and body cells.

Breathing system
Our breathing system consists of the respiratory tract and structures that aid breathing.
(1) Respiratory tract: nostrils nasal cavity pharynx larynx trachea bronchus
bronchiole (in lungs) air sacs ( in lungs)
(2) Related structures: ribs, diaphragm.

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

15
i) Nasal cavity air enters the nasal cavity through a pair of nostrils
hairs in the nostrils filter large dust particles in the air
nasal cavity is lined with
mucus-secreting cells: secrete mucus to trap dust particles and bacteria/
moisten incoming air
ciliated epithelial cells: cilia beat to sweep mucus towards pharynx, which is then
swallowed/coughed out
capillaries with blood to warm up incoming air
olfactory cells to give sensation of smell (by detecting chemicals).

ii) Pharynx meeting point of respiratory tract and alimentary canal


it rises during swallowing and epiglottis covers the opening of trachea to prevent choking.

iii) Larynx made of cartilage, which prevents larynx from collapsing/stretching


due to pressure changes during breathing
contains vocal cords (which are elastic membranes)
they vibrate when air passes through to produce sound
shorter vocal cords produce higher pitch.

iv) Trachea and bronchi the trachea (a.k.a. wind pipe) divides into 2 bronchi, and then branches into
numerous bronchioles
trachea is supported by C-shaped cartilage; bronchi by circular cartilaginous
rings; bronchioles have no cartilage
cartilages prevent them from collapsing during breathing
inner walls have mucus-secreting cells, ciliated epithelial cells and capillaries
(similar to those in nasal cavity; but no mucus-secreting cells in bronchioles).

v) Air sacs (a.k.a. alveoli) tiny, cup-like structures at the end of bronchioles
form a large respiratory surface for gas exchange to take place
surrounded by blood capillaries

vi) Lungs a pair of (left and right) spongy, pink, lobed organ lying in the thoracic cavity
mainly composed of bronchioles, air sacs and network of blood capillaries
protected by the rib cage (formed by 12 pairs of ribs, sternum and vertebral column)
intercostal muscles are present between each pair of ribs
diaphragm at the bottom of the rib-cage separates thoracic cavity and abdomen
enclosed by inner and outer pleural membranes
inner one is attached to lung surface, outer one touches intercostal muscles and diaphragm
secrete pleural fluid as lubricant (help movement of lung inside thoracic cavity).

*The space between the membranes is called pleural cavity (with pleural fluid inside).

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Topic II

2. Gas exchange in air sacs


Exchange of respiratory gases, i.e. oxygen and carbon dioxide, takes place in air sacs.

Process of gas exchange in air sacs


I. Uptake of oxygen:
Deoxygenated blood (i.e. blood with low oxygen content) is carried by pulmonary artery from the
heart to the capillaries surrounding the air sacs. Oxygen in the inhaled air dissolves in the water film
lining the air sacs. Since oxygen concentration in the water film is higher than that in blood, it diffuses
across the walls of air sacs and capillaries into blood, and then into red blood cells.

II. Removal of carbon dioxide:


Since carbon dioxide concentration in blood is higher than that in air sacs, it diffuses across the walls
of capillaries and air sacs into the air sacs. After gas exchange, oxygen content increases and carbon
dioxide content decreases in blood. This oxygenated blood is carried via pulmonary vein from the
lung to the heart.

Air sacs have the following adaptations for efficient gas exchange:
(1) large number of air sacs provides a large surface area for gas exchange;
(2) one-cell thick epithelium of air sacs to shorten the distance for faster diffusion of gases;
(3) inner surface is moist (due to a watery secretion by epithelium) to allow gases to dissolve in this
water film before diffusing across epithelium of air sacs;
(4) richly supplied with blood in the capillaries to ensure a rapid transport of gases to and from the air
sacs. This keeps a steep concentration gradient for rapid diffusion.

3. Transport of gases in blood


A. Transport of oxygen
Oxygen is mainly transported by red blood cells in the blood. They are specially adapted as follows:
(1) fully packed with haemoglobin molecules in their cytoplasm
haemoglobin is an excellent oxygen carrier (carries ~98% oxygen in blood);
(2) biconcave disc shape to increase the surface area to cytoplasmic volume ratio
shorten the distance for rapid diffusion of oxygen into/out of haemoglobin;
(3) mature red blood cells have no nucleus to hold more haemoglobin.

In air sacs: when oxygen concentration is high, oxygen combines with haemoglobin to form bright red
oxyhaemoglobin in red blood cells.
Hb + O2 HbO2

In body cells: since oxygen concentration is low, oxyhaemoglobin breaks down into haemoglobin and
oxygen. Haemoglobin gives a purplish red colour to blood.
HbO2 Hb + O2

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*The above reaction is reversible, but carbon monoxide (CO) can combine irreversibly with haemoglobin, thus
lowers oxygen-carrying capacity of blood.

B. Transport of carbon dioxide


In body cells: carbon dioxide produced by body cells enters red blood cells and reacts with water inside
to form hydrogencarbonate ions. (This reaction is catalysed by an enzyme.) These ions
dissolve in plasma.
CO2 + H2O HCO3- + H+

In air sacs: hydrogencarbonate ions break down to form carbon dioxide and water (in the presence of
the same enzyme). Carbon dioxide then diffuses out of the plasma into air sacs.
HCO3- + H+ CO2 + H2O

4. Ventilation
Ventilation is the process to bring fresh air to the lungs to maintain high oxygen content in the air sacs,
and to remove carbon dioxide from the lungs. It includes inhalation and exhalation.

I. Inhalation intercostal muscles contract to move the ribs upwards and outwards
diaphragm muscles contract to flatten the diaphragm
volume of thoracic cavity increases so that its pressure decreases
air pressure in the lungs is lower than the atmospheric pressure
air rushes into the lungs.

II. Exhalation intercostal muscles relax to move the ribs downwards and inwards
diaphragm muscles relax to cause the diaphragm to return to dome shape
volume of thoracic cavity decreases so that its pressure increases
air pressure in the lungs is higher than the atmospheric pressure
air is forced out of the lungs.

*Rib-cage model and bell-jar model can be used to demonstrate the movement of ribs and diaphragms during
inhalation and exhalation respectively.

**Exhalation is also contributed by elastic recoiling of lung tissue.

Exhaled air has less oxygen and more carbon dioxide than inhaled air. It is also saturated with water
vapour. However, the amount of nitrogen in both inhaled and exhaled air is the most, since it is neither
used nor produced.

18
Topic II

CHAPTER 10
TRANSPORT IN HUMANS

1. Human circulatory system


In multicellular organisms (e.g. humans), diffusion alone is not fast enough to move over long distances
to all cells within the body. Therefore, a transport system is needed.

In humans, the transport system consists of the circulatory system and the lymphatic system. The human
circulatory system consists of three main parts: blood, blood vessels and the heart.

2. Blood
Blood is a fluid tissue consisting of blood cells suspended in plasma.

I. Plasma mainly consists of water (~90%) and other soluble substances such as:
(1) plasma proteins (e.g. antibodies for body defence and fibrinogen for blood clotting),
(2) nutrients (e.g. glucose, amino acids, minerals, vitamins),
(3) metabolic waste, e.g. urea produced in liver and transported to kidneys for excretion
(4) respiratory gases, i.e. carbon dioxide and a small amount of oxygen,
(5) hormones produced in endocrine glands
distributes heat produced by muscles and liver throughout the body.

II. Blood cells


Red blood cells (RBCs) White blood cells (WBCs) Blood platelets
Irregular in shape Very small pieces of cell
Shape Biconcave disc shape Includes phagocytes and fragments
lymphocytes Irregular in shape
Phagocytes: lobed
Nucleus No (for mature cells) No
Lymphocytes: large and round
Red (due to pigment
Colour No No
haemoglobin)
Phagocytes: quite large (10-29 m) Smaller than red blood
Size (diameter) Quite small (7-8 m)
Lymphocytes: small (6-10 m) cells (1-4m)
Number (per mm3
~5.4 million ~7,000 ~250,000
of blood)
Help in blood clotting to
Contain haemoglobin to carry Protect against diseases by killing
Functions stop bleeding/prevent entry
oxygen pathogens
of pathogens
Site of Bone marrow of long Bone marrow and spleen
Bone marrow
production bones/ribs/vertebrae Mature in lymph nodes
Life span ~120 days A few days (for most of them) A few days
Liver and spleen
Site of Some are killed by pathogens
Haemoglobin is broken down Liver and spleen
destruction Some pass out of the day in faeces
into iron and bile pigment
*In blood clotting, fibrinogen in plasma forms an insoluble network that traps blood cells, forming a blood clot.
The portion of plasma without fibrinogen is called serum, which is less viscous.
19
III. Blood groups human blood can be classified into groups A, B, AB and O
primarily inherited from parents (controlled by genes).
Blood group A B AB O
Antigens present
(on the surface of red A antigen B antigen A and B antigens None
blood cells)
Antibodies present (in Anti-A and
Anti-B antibodies Anti-A antibodies None
plasma) Anti-B antibodies
Can be donated to A, AB B, AB AB A, B, AB, O

Can be received from A, O B, O A, B, AB, O O

*Blood can be differentiated further by Rh factor: those with D-antigen on the surface of red blood cells is
called Rh positive, those without it is called Rh negative.

Individuals with blood group AB (Rh positive) can receive blood from all type of blood and are called
universal recipients. Those with blood group O (Rh negative) can donate blood to people with any type of
blood and are called universal donors. The converse is true for donor-recipient compatibility of plasma.

3. Blood vessels
Blood is carried by blood vessels to different parts of the body. There are three types of blood vessels,
including arteries, veins and capillaries.

Blood Flow Aorta divides into


Heart
( the largest artery)

Vena cavae
(anterior vena cava / Arteries
posterior vena cava)
divide into
join into
Arterioles
Veins
divide into a
join into join into network of
Venules Capillaries

Comparison of different blood vessels

20
Topic II

Arteries Veins Capillaries


Direction of blood From their arterial end to
Away from the heart Towards the heart
flow their venous end
Thicker
More muscles which can
contract/relax (to regulate blood
flow to body cells) Thinner One-cell thick
Wall
More elastic fibres that recoils Less elastic fibres Differentially permeable
when the heart relaxes (to
maintain a blood pressure for
continuous blood flow)
Large (to reduce resistance to Very small (diameter similar
Lumen Small
blood flow) to that of red blood cells)
Oxygenated blood Deoxygenated blood
Exchange of materials takes
Nature of blood (except pulmonary artery and (except pulmonary vein and
place
umbilical artery) umbilical vein)
High (changes periodically as the Low (overcome great friction Drops significantly (but
Blood pressure
heart contracts and relaxes) after long-distance travel) higher than that in veins)
Provided by contraction of High resistance (friction) to
Provided by pumping action of
Force on blood flow skeletal muscles (to squeeze blood flow due to its narrow
the heart
the veins) diameter
No (except at the base of the aorta Yes (to prevent backflow of
Presence of valves No
and pulmonary artery) blood)
Velocity High Low Lowest
Location Deep inside the body Close to the body surface Close to body cells

As skeletal muscles contract, they press against and squeeze the veins. Valve is opened by blood pressure.
When those muscles relax, valves close and prevent backflow of blood. Blood flows only towards heart.

Moreover, capillaries are specially adapted for exchange of materials between blood and body cells:
(1) Network of capillaries (called capillary bed) provides a large surface area for rapid exchange of
materials between blood and body cells;
(2) Total cross-sectional area of capillaries is very large to slow down the blood flow. This allows a
longer period of time for exchange of materials.
(3) Capillary wall is one-cell thick to provide a short distance for rapid exchange of materials.

4. The heart
The heart is a fist-sized muscular organ located inside thoracic cavity between two lungs. It is surrounded
by a membrane called pericardium. Cardiac muscles contract and relax continuously to provide a
pumping force for blood circulation.

The coronary arteries and coronary veins lie on the heart surface. Coronary arteries receive blood from
aorta and supply nutrients and oxygen to cardiac muscles while coronary veins carry carbon dioxide and
other waste away. A heart attack results if coronary arteries are blocked due to inadequate supply of
blood to cardiac muscles.

21
Structure of the heart

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

i) Atria (a.k.a. auricles) two smaller chambers with a thin muscular wall
receive blood at a low pressure from veins and push blood to ventricles
right atrium receives deoxygenated blood from head and arms through anterior vena cava
and blood from legs and abdomen through posterior vena cava
left atrium receives oxygenated blood from the lungs through pulmonary veins.

ii) Ventricles two larger chambers with a thick muscular wall


contract to pump blood out of the heart under high pressure
right ventricle pumps deoxygenated blood to the lungs through pulmonary artery
left ventricle pumps oxygenated blood to all parts of the body (except lungs) via aorta,
it also has a thicker wall since it needs to provide a greater pumping force.

iii) Septum a thick muscular wall separating left and right sides of the heart. It prevents the mixing of
oxygenated and deoxygenated blood.

iv) Heart valves a semi-lunar valve is present at the base of aorta and pulmonary artery respectively
prevent backflow of blood into ventricles as ventricles relax
a large valve is present to separate atrium from ventricle on each side, bicuspid valve
(with 2 flaps) is at the left while tricuspid valve (with 3 flaps) is at the right
prevent backflow of blood from ventricles to atria when ventricles contract
held by heart tendons (a.k.a. chordate tendineae) which prevent valves from turning
inside out when ventricles contract.

The heart is adapted as an effective pump as follows:


(1) cardiac muscles can contract and relax continuously;
(2) ventricles have thick muscular wall to provide a strong pumping force;
22
Topic II

(3) heart valves prevent backflow of blood;


(4) heart tendons prevent bicuspid and tricuspid valves from turning inside out.

5. Blood circulation
In a complete blood circulation, blood flows through the heart twice, first to the lungs (pulmonary
circulation), then to all other parts of the body (systemic circulation). This type of circulation is called
double circulation.

A. Pulmonary circulation
Right ventricle pulmonary artery lungs pulmonary veins left atrium

B. Systemic circulation
Left ventricle aorta all body parts (except lungs) vena cavae right atrium

Key: oxygenated blood


deoxygenated blood

For nutrients absorbed in small intestine (e.g. glucose, amino acids):


Small intestine hepatic portal vein liver hepatic vein posterior vena cava heart

*Hepatic portal vein is the only portal vein in humans (in which both of its ends are connected to capillary beds).

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

23
6. Exchange of materials into body cells
A. Formation of tissue fluid
At the arterial end of capillary bed, blood pressure in capillaries is higher than that of fluid
surrounding the body cells. Some materials in plasma (e.g. oxygen, sugars, lipids, water, minerals and
hormones) are forced out of the differentially permeable capillary wall to form tissue fluid.

Useful substances will diffuse from the tissue fluid into body cells and waste (e.g. carbon dioxide)
diffuse out from body cells into tissue fluid, then into blood. Due to retention of plasma proteins, red
blood cells and blood platelets, water potential in the blood at the venous end of capillary bed is lower
than that in tissue fluid, water in tissue fluid will return into capillaries by osmosis. Excess tissue fluid
will be drained into lymph capillaries of the lymphatic system.

B. Composition and significance of tissue fluid


Composition of tissue fluid is similar to that of blood, except for the absence of red blood cells, blood
platelets and plasma proteins since they are too large to pass through the capillary wall. White blood
cells can squeeze through capillary walls into tissue fluid.

Tissue fluid is an important linkage for the exchange of materials between capillaries and body cells. It
also provides a constant environment for body cells.

7. Lymphatic system
The lymphatic system consists of a network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes along the vessels.

Structures in lymphatic system


i) Lymph vessels lymph capillaries are blind-end vessels located in the capillary beds, they join
together to form larger lymph vessels
tissue fluid inside is called lymph which flows in a way similar to blood in veins
lymph is kept flowing slowly by contraction of muscles surrounding the vessels
valves are present to prevent backflow of lymph
eventually join a pair of large veins in the neck, returning lymph into blood.

ii) Lymph nodes found at intervals along lymph vessels


white blood cells accumulate there to kill pathogens in the lymph.

The lymphatic system has the following functions:


(1) it collects and returns excess tissue fluid to blood;
(2) it protects us against diseases. Lymph nodes filter out pathogens from the lymph before returning to
blood (since white blood cells kill pathogens in the lymph nodes);
(3) it transports lipids. Lipids are absorbed into lacteals (which join the lymphatic system) in the villi of
small intestine, and then passed into lymph and finally into blood.

24
Topic II

CHAPTER 11
NUTRITION AND GAS EXCHANGE IN PLANTS

1. Plants as autotrophs
Plants can make complex organic substances from simple inorganic substances (autotrophic nutrition),
they are called autotrophs.

They use light energy to produce food (carbohydrates) from carbon dioxide and water by photosynthesis.
Oxygen is released as a by-product.

Plants also absorb minerals and water from the soil, in which minerals are used for synthesizing other
materials such as proteins, lipids and chlorophyll.

Plants convert light energy into chemical energy by photosynthesis. They serve as basic food sources for
other organisms (producers).

2. Minerals essential for plant growth


Plants need a variety of minerals in the form of ions to stay healthy; otherwise they will suffer from
deficiency diseases. The elements that form these minerals can be divided into two types:
(1) Major elements: plants need these elements in a relatively large amount, e.g. nitrogen, phosphorous,
potassium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium and iron.

(2) Trace elements: plants need a very small amount of these elements, e.g. copper, zinc, molybdenum,
cobalt and boron.

Element Major form in soil Main functions Deficiency symptoms


-
Nitrate (NO3 ), Synthesis of proteins (amino Poor growth
Nitrogen (N)
ammonium salts (NH4+) acids contain nitrogen) Yellow leaves
Synthesis of nucleic acids, Poor growth (especially
phospholipids, some proteins the roots)
Phosphorous (P) Phosphate (PO43-)
Required in some enzymatic Purple patches form on
reactions leaves
Promotes photosynthesis and
Poor growth
transport in plants
Potassium (K) Potassium ion (K+) Curled-up leaves with
Required in some enzymatic
dark-coloured edges
reactions
Poor growth
Magnesium (Mg) Magnesium ion (Mg2+) Synthesis of chlorophyll
Yellow leaves
*When performing the water culture experiment, a young seeding is used rather than a mature plant because
(1) the former grows faster to show a more obvious result and
(2) does not store many minerals which may affect growth.

25
3. Absorption of water and minerals
Terrestrial dicotyledonous plants mainly absorb water and minerals via the roots.

A. Structure of roots
i) Root cap protects the root tip
the cells are continuously rubbed away and replaced by new cells.
ii) Epidermis outermost layer, made up of thin-walled cells
protects the inner tissues from infection
many epidermal cells develop root hairs.
iii) Cortex underneath epidermis, made up of several layers of thin-walled cells
stores food (starch) and allows water and mineral to pass across the root.
iv) Vascular bundle situated at the centre of the root
consists of phloem for food transport and xylem for mineral and water
transport.

To facilitate water and mineral absorption, roots are structurally adapted as follows:
(1) epidermal cells consists of one layer of thin-walled cells and are not covered by cuticle;
(2) root branches and root hairs provide large surface area for absorption of water and minerals;
(3) long and fine root hairs can easily grow between soil particles.

B. Process of water and mineral absorption


As the water potential of the soil water in usually higher than that of the cytoplasm of the root hairs,
water moves into the root hairs by osmosis. Water will then move into the neighbouring cortex cells
by osmosis. (Some move along the cell walls of the cortex cells.) Water will move inwards from cell to
cell, and eventually reach the xylem and drawn up by transpiration pull.

Minerals (in the form of ions) are absorbed into the root by active transport (against concentration
gradient). Some will be absorbed together with water as water is absorbed into the root. Sometimes,
minerals will be absorbed by diffusion.

4. Gas exchange in plants


Plants exchange gas by diffusion. For terrestrial plants, gas exchange mainly takes place through leaves,
stems and roots.

26
Topic II

A. Structure of leaves

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

i) Epidermis outermost layer for protecting inner tissues from mechanical injuries and infection
most epidermal cells do not contain chloroplasts, except guard cells
usually covered by a thin waxy layer of cuticle, which reduces water loss.
ii) Palisade mesophyll tightly packed cylindrical cells underneath the upper epidermis
contains many chloroplasts for photosynthesis.
iii) Spongy mesophyll irregularly-shaped cells beneath palisade mesophyll, with air spaces
among them
contains fewer chloroplasts than palisade mesophyll cells.
iv) Vascular bundles situated inside veins and the mid-rib, and embedded in the mesophyll
consist of two tissues: phloem and xylem.
v) Guard cells sausage-like cells with many chloroplasts
each spore on the epidermis (i.e. stoma) is surrounded by two guard cells
control the opening and closing of stoma.

27
Leaves are organs structurally adapted for gas exchange as follows:
(1) leaves are broad and flat to provide a large surface area for gas exchange;
(2) air spaces between spongy mesophyll cells allow gases to diffuse freely;
(3) surface of mesophyll cells is moist to allow gases to dissolve in it and then diffuse into or out of
the cells easily;
(4) guard cells are present to regulate the rate of gas exchange.

As the stomata open for gas exchange, water on the surface of mesophyll cells will be evaporated and
lost through the stomata. This may lead to dehydration.

Terrestrial plants have an impermeable layer of cuticle covering the epidermis to prevent water loss.
The upper epidermis also has fewer (or even no) stomata than the lower epidermis since it is under
direct illumination by the sun.

Floating plants only have stomata and cuticle on their upper epidermis. Submerged plants have no
cuticle so that gases, water and minerals can diffuse directly all over their surface.

B. Process of gas exchange


In leaves, gases from the environment diffuse into the air space through stomata. They then dissolve in
the moist surface (water film) of the mesophyll cells and subsequently diffuse directly into the cells.
The gases diffuse into neighbouring cells. The process reverses if the gases diffuse out of the plant.

The stems also have stomata (for herbaceous plants) or lenticels (for woody plants) for gas exchange.
Lenticels are small broken parts on the thick cork layer covering the stem.

Roots are not covered by cuticle, therefore gas exchange take place all over their surfaces.

C. Relationship between gas exchange and light intensity


Plants exchange gas for two different vital processes:
(1) Respiration: oxygen is taken in and carbon dioxide is released; it takes place all the time at a
nearly constant rate.

(2) Photosynthesis: carbon dioxide is taken in and oxygen is released; its rate increases as light
intensity increases.

28
Topic II

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

In the dark, only respiration occurs but no photosynthesis since there is no light. Therefore there is a
net uptake of oxygen and a net release of carbon dioxide.

In the daytime, as the light intensity increases, the rate of photosynthesis increases. At the
compensation point, the rate of photosynthesis is equal to the rate of respiration; there is no net
exchange of gases.

As the light intensity increases further, rate of photosynthesis is usually faster than rate of respiration
since light intensity is high. Therefore there is a net uptake of carbon dioxide and a net release of
oxygen.

The uptake of carbon dioxide will eventually stop since some other factors (e.g. carbon dioxide
concentration) limit the rate of photosynthesis.

29
CHAPTER 12
TRANSPIRATION, TRANSPORT AND SUPPORT IN PLANTS

1. Transpiration
All organisms lose water to the surroundings, so water must be replaced continuously to maintain a
constant water balance. Plants lose water by a process called transpiration, which is the loss of water
vapour from the surfaces of plants due to evaporation.

Over than 90% of water is lost through stomata of leaves and young green stems, and less than 10% of
water is lost through cuticle. In woody plants, a very small proportion of water is lost through lenticels of
woody stems. (Its water loss is the most if all leaves have been fallen off.)

A. Process of transpiration
Water film on the surface of mesophyll cells evaporates into the air space. The air space becomes
almost saturated with water vapour. The water vapour concentration in the air space is now higher
than that in the atmosphere, water vapour thus diffuses to less saturated outside via stomata.

During transpiration, mesophyll cells continuously lose water to the air space, thus lowering its water
potential. Water is then drawn from neighbouring cells by osmosis. The neighbouring cells draw water
in the same way as before; a water potential gradient is set up between the xylem and mesophyll cells.
Eventually, water is drawn from the xylem and a force is created to pull water up the xylem vessels,
which is called the transpiration pull.

Transpiration is considered significant in the following ways:


(1) Heat is absorbed from the leaves by evaporation. A cooling effect is produced to prevent
overheating in hot conditions.
(2) As water is pulled up in the xylem vessels, this results in the transport of water and dissolved
minerals in it.
(3) Water is drawn into the roots from the soil as water is pulled up in the xylem vessels. This helps
the absorption of water and minerals from the soil.

*Rate of transpiration is measured by a potometer.

A bubble potometer can be used to measure the rate of water uptake by a leafy shoot. The leafy shoot should be
cut and fit into the potometer under water to prevent blockage of xylem vessels by air bubbles, which would
affect the water uptake of the shoot.

A weight potometer can measure the rate of water uptake by its burette, and the rate of water loss by the
balance. The amount of water absorbed is slightly greater than the amount of water lost since some water is
retained of photosynthesis, growth and other metabolic activities.

30
Topic II

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

B. Factors affecting rate of transpiration


i) Light intensity rate of transpiration increases with increasing light intensity
as amount of light increases, stomata open wider and more water vapour in the
air space can diffuse out
stomata close at night, so rate of transpiration decreases
at very high light intensity, temperature of the plant increases, some stomata
will close to reduce the amount of water loss, transpiration rate becomes nearly
constant.
ii) Temperature the higher the temperature, the higher the transpiration rate
evaporation rate is higher, rate of diffusion of water vapour out of the stomata
is higher.
iii) Relative humidity the lower the relative humidity, the higher the transpiration rate
concentration gradient of water vapour between the air space and the
atmosphere increases as the relative humidity of surrounding air is lower
(less saturated with water vapour), thus diffusion rate increases.
iv) Air movement rate of transpiration increases in windy conditions
wind prevents the decrease in concentration gradient of water vapour between
the air space and the atmosphere, thus diffusion rate increases.

2. Transport in flowering plants


In flowering plants, substances are transported through vascular tissues, which consist of phloem and
xylem. They are arranged in long, separate strands called vascular bundles.

A. Vascular bundles
i) Xylem mainly consists of xylem vessels
continuous hollow tubes made up of dead cells
these cells have no cytoplasm or nucleus, but thick and lignified cell walls
transports water and minerals.

31
ii) Phloem mainly consists of sieve tubes and companion cells
sieve tubes are living cylindrical cells with porous end walls called sieve plates
have cytoplasm but no nucleus
companion cells are narrow cells beside each sieve tube
contain nucleus and cytoplasm, support metabolism of sieve tubes
transport organic nutrients e.g. sucrose.

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

In a dicotyledonous plant, the distribution of vascular bundles is different:


(1) Leaf: situated in the large central mid-rib and small veins.
(2) Stem: arranged in a ring at the periphery, with xylem in the inner region, phloem in the outer.
(3) Root: located at the centre, with phloem in found between xylem tissues.

B. Transport of substances
As the leaves transpire, water is drawn out from the xylem vessels to replace water lost. Water is
pulled up to the upper end of xylem vessels from the roots by transpiration pull. A continuous stream
of water is formed inside the xylem vessels. Dissolved minerals in water are also transported up the
plant.

Organic nutrients, e.g. sucrose, produced inside leaves are transported along phloem to growing
regions (e.g. buds, root tips, fruits) or storage organs. This process is called translocation. The exact
mechanism is still unknown.

32
Topic II

3. Support in plants
Terrestrial plants need to stand upright to (1) ensure that their leaves can receive the maximum amount of
sunlight, (2) create favourable conditions for pollination and dispersal of fruits/seeds.

Support in plants is mainly provided by:


i) Turgidity of thin-walled cells provide support to young stems and non-woody parts
when water supply is adequate, xylem has a higher water potential
than cells in the cortex and pith. Water moves from xylem to these
cells by osmosis, and the cells become turgid and press against
each other to give support to the plant. The plant stands upright.
when water supply is inadequate/has lost too much water, these
cells become plasmolysed and flaccid. They cannot support the
plant and the plant wilts.

ii) Rigidity of thick-walled cells provide mechanical support to plants


xylem vessels have thick cell walls that contain lignin
independent of water content in plants
as a woody plant grows, more and more xylem is formed. Older
xylem tissues are pushed inwards and become hard wood tissues.

**Thick-walled cells can also be found in other tissues of a stem, e.g. collenchyma and sclerenchyma. They also
help support in plants.

33
*CHAPTER 13
REPRODUCTION IN FLOWERING PLANTS

1. Types of reproduction
Organisms can produce offspring for the continuation of a species.

There are two types of reproduction: asexual reproduction and sexual reproduction.
Asexual reproduction Sexual reproduction
Number of parents One Usually two (opposite sex)
Gametes involved No Male and female
Meiotic cell division (to produce gametes)
Types of cell division Mitotic cell division
Mitotic cell division (growth/development)
Genetic make-up of
Identical to its parent Different from its parents
offspring
Bacteria (a single-celled organism):
binary fission Flowering plants: flowers and seeds
Examples
Yeast: budding Humans
Flowering plants: vegetative propagation

2. Asexual reproduction in flowering plants


Vegetative propagation is the process in which the vegetative parts (parts not involving in sexual
reproduction, e.g. leaves, stems, roots) of flowering plants develop into new plants. Those parts may act
as storage organs to allow the plant to survive in poor growing conditions.

In winter, aerial part of the plant dies and underground storage organ remains dormant in the soil. Buds
grow into new aerial shoots using food in storage organs. Adventitious roots grow and start to absorb
water and minerals from the soil. The shoots develop leaves and old storage organ dries up as food is
used up. Food is made by photosynthesis and is transported to new storage organs to support its growth.

34
Topic II

A. Common types of vegetative propagating organs


i) Stem tuber underground swollen stem, with a lot of starch
its surface has eyes formed by a bud and scale leaf scars
e.g. potato.
ii) Rhizome horizontally growing underground stem, stores reducing sugars
e.g. ginger, iris, lotus.
iii) Bulb short vertical underground stem with layers of scale leaves (dry/fleshy)
stores reducing sugars
e.g. onion, daffodil (narcissus).
iv) Corm short vertical underground stem with no fleshy scale leaves
only protective scale leaves are present
e.g. Gladiolus, water chestnut.

B. Artificial vegetative propagation


It is often used in agriculture or horticulture to produce desired plant species more quickly, e.g. leaf
and stem cuttings. To ensure success, we often carry out in warm and moist climate to cut down water
loss by transpiration, and dip the cut end of the plant into auxin solution to stimulate growth.

**Other techniques include marcotting, layering, grafting, etc.

3. Sexual reproduction in flowering plants


Flowering plants can reproduce sexually by producing flowers and seeds. This involves the production
and fusion of gametes of opposite sex.

A. Structure of a flower

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

i) Stalk supports the flower, attaches it to the plant stem.


ii) Receptacle a swollen base that floral parts are attached to.

35
iii) Sepals make up the outermost ring of a flower, called calyx
small and usually green in colour to protect flower bud/carry out photosynthesis
some are brightly coloured to attract insects.
iv) Petals make up the ring just inside calyx, called corolla
usually brightly coloured, scented to attract insects
some have nectaries to secrete nectar for insects to feed on
some have insect guides to direct insects towards nectary.

v) Stamens consists of filaments with anther at its tip


each anther contains 2 to 4 pollen sacs
pollen grains formed inside carry male gametes.

vi) Carpels the innermost ring of a flower, consists of stigma, style and ovary
style supports stigma which receives pollen grains
ovary contains ovule that has female gametes (i.e. ova/egg cells) inside
attached to ovary wall by a stalk
protected by a layer of cells called integuments
with a small hole (micropyle) in the integument.

Most flowers are bisexual (with both stamens and carpels), but some
are unisexual (have either stamens/carpels only).

B. Pollination
It is the transfer of pollen grains from anthers to stigmas of flowers.

Self-pollination is the transfer of pollen grains to stigmas of the same flower or other flowers of the
same plant; while cross-pollination is the transfer of pollen grains to flowers on another plant of the
same species. The former one has less genetic variations in the offspring.

Pollination can also be classified by external agents used:


Insect-pollinated flower Wind-pollinated flower
Size Large, conspicuous Small
Petals Brightly coloured, scented Dull coloured (or green)
Nectary Present Absent
Outside the petals; thin and flexible
Anther and stigma Inside the petals; sticky stigma
filaments; feathery stigmas
Large and heavy Small and light
Pollen grains Rough and sticky surface Smooth and dry surface
Small in amount Large in amount
Examples Gladiolus, morning glory Grasses, oaks

36
Topic II

C. Fertilization
After pollen grains are received by stigma of the same species, sugary secretion on the tip of stigma
stimulates pollen grains to develop a pollen tube. Pollen tube secretes enzyme to break down
neighbouring style tissues and grows towards the ovule. It grows through micropyle and its tip bursts
to release male gamete into the ovule. Male gamete fuses with female gamete to form a zygote. This
process is called fertilization.

After fertilization, the sepals, petals, stamens, stigma and style will wither and fall off. Other floral
parts will have the following fates:

fertilized ovum ovule integument ovary ovary wall



embryo seed seed coat fruit fruit wall

A fruit consists of a fruit wall enclosing seeds. It protects the seeds and helps disperse them. Some
fruits have fleshy and edible fruit walls (e.g. peaches, berries) while some have not (e.g. peanuts).

A seed has the following structures:


i) Seed coat protect embryo from damage/attack by microbes.
ii) Micropyle a small pore for absorbing water
iii) Hilum a scar formed on the surface of seed coat as ovule detached from ovary wall.
iv) Embryo made up of 3 parts
radicle: future root, the first part to emerge out of the seed in germination
plumule: future shoot.
cotyledon: modified leaf for storage of food, and the first leaf to make food by
photosynthesis.

*Monocotyledonous plants have one cotyledon, while dicotyledonous plants have two cotyledons.

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

Fruits and seeds are dispersed by external agents, for example:


(1) Wind: suitable for small fruits with thin wings, e.g. dandelion.
(2) Animals: some fruits are brightly coloured and edible (e.g. berries) or have adhering outgrowths
(e.g. burdock).
(3) Water: e.g. coconut.
(4) Explosion: as the pod dries up, tension increases in fruit wall and causes it to split open to release
seeds inside, e.g. pea, bauhinia.
37
4. Pros and cons of asexual and sexual reproduction
Vegetative propagation Production of flowers and seeds
(asexual reproduction) (sexual reproduction)
Faster Offspring shows genetic variations
Not depend on external agents Dispersal help colonize new areas
Advantages
Obtain food directly from parents Less likely transmission of diseases from
Retain desirable characteristics in offspring parents to offspring
Slower
No genetic variations in offspring External agents required for pollination,
Overcrowding and keen competition among seed/fruit dispersal
Disadvantages offspring and parents Food stored is limited; seeds may not
More likely transmission of diseases/pests germinate
form parents to offspring Unfavourable characteristics may be created
(during meiosis/fusion of gametes)

38
Topic II

CHAPTER 14
REPRODUCTION IN HUMANS

1. Human reproductive system


Humans can reproduce only sexually. The male and female reproductive systems are specialized for
sexual reproduction.

A. Structure of human male reproductive system

Source: New Senior Secondary: Mastering Biology

i) Scrotum a sac holding testes


1 3C lower than body temperature for sperm production and growth.
ii) Testis 1 pair in males, made up of coiled sperm tubules
produce sperms and male sex hormones (begin at puberty)
cells of tubule walls produce sperms; cells between tubules produce male sex hormones.
sperms move to epididymis to store temporarily/develop motility.
iii) Vas deferens (a.k.a. sperm duct) transports sperms
iv) Glands includes seminal vesicles, prostate gland and Cowpers gland
secrete seminal fluid that (1) neutralizes acidity in vagina,
(2) provides fuel (glucose) to activate sperms,
(3) provides a medium for sperms to swim.
mixture of sperm and seminal fluid is called semen.
v) Urethra discharges both semen and urine.
vi) Penis external male reproductive organ
rod-like structure with erectile (spongy connective) tissue and blood vessels
blood fills up erectile tissue when sexually stimulated
erect penis can be inserted into vagina to eject semen (copulation).

39
B. Structure of human female reproductive system

Source: New Senior Secondary: Mastering Biology

i) Ovary 1 pair in females, with follicles


produce ovum and female sex hormones (begin at puberty).
ii) Oviduct a pair of narrow muscular tube, whose inner wall is lined with cilia
they beat to transport ovum to uterus
fertilization takes place here.
iii) Uterus central muscular thick-walled chamber, with a ring of muscles called cervix at its
narrowed base
gives a well-protected constant environment for the embryo/foetus to develop
forms part of the placenta
contract of its muscles help to push out the baby through vagina during labour.
iv) Vagina a muscular tube partially enclosed by a thin membrane (hymen)
has an opening for expulsion of menstrual blood
usually broken during first sexual intercourse/exercise
holds penis during sexual intercourse
its acidic secretion reduces bacterial growth
acts as a birth canal for foetus.
v) Vulva external female reproductive organ.

C. Male and female gametes


i) Sperm male gamete produced in testes
looks like a tadpole, very small but produced in large numbers
consists of a head, midpiece and a tail
head contains a nucleus (with haploid number of chromosomes) and acrosome (has
enzymes for penetration into ovum)
midpiece contains many mitochondria
tail allows sperm to swim
constituents only 1% of semen (by volume).

40
Topic II

ii) Ovum female gamete produced in ovaries (number of ova in ovaries is fixed before birth)
spherical in shape, relatively big, produced in much smaller numbers
cannot move by itself (only by beating action of cilia and contraction of muscles)
consists of a nucleus (with haploid number of chromosomes), cytoplasm as food reserve
for early development of embryo and cell membrane surrounded by protective layer.

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

2. Sexual maturity
Sex organs (i.e. testes and ovaries) are well formed at birth but not yet mature, they eventually become
mature during puberty. Puberty begins at ages of about 11 to 14, with more production of sex hormones,
which stimulate gamete formation and development of secondary sexual characteristics.

I. Secondary sexual characteristics**


(1) Man: enlargement of penis and testes, growing of hairs (on face, armpits, around penis),
deepening of voice, broadening of shoulders, better muscular development.
(2) Women: development of breasts, growing of hairs (on face, armpits, around genital area),
broadening of hip, occurrence of menstruation.

II. Ovulation takes place once every 28 days


only one follicle inside ovary matures completely at a time
follicle grows in size and bursts to release a mature ovum into the funnel of oviduct
Remaining follicle cells become the yellow body.

III. Menstrual cycle occurs every 28 days, varies with different females
uterine lining thickens and its blood supply is increased to prepare for implantation
if ovum is not fertilized, (1) thickened uterine lining will break down,
(2) yellow body degenerates in about 14 days after ovulation
uterine lining, blood and ovum discharge through vagina (menstruation/period)
if ovum is fertilized, (1) uterine lining will not break down, (2) degeneration of
yellow body will be delayed
no menstruation until baby is born
after menstruation, another ovum in ovary will develop, the cycle then repeats.

*A woman reaches menopause at age of around 50. Ovulation and menstruation gradually stops and
she can no longer become pregnant.

41
Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

3. Fertilization in humans
Fertilization occurs in female body in nature (internal fertilization). However, test-tube baby could be
born using a technique called in vitro fertilization (IVF).

I. Copulation (a.k.a. mating) erectile tissue is filled up with blood when sexually stimulated
soft penis becomes erect and can be inserted into vagina
muscles of epididymis/sperm duct contract to eject semen into vagina (ejaculation).

II. Fertilization sperms swim through the cervix, up the uterus and enter the oviducts
acrosome (at head of sperm) secretes enzyme to digest protective layer of ovum
only one sperm can penetrate through ovums cell membrane
tail is cut off once the sperm enters ovums cytoplasm
fusion of nuclei of sperm and ovum takes place to form a zygote
protective layer of ovum changes to prevent other sperms to enter.

Twins are individuals born to the same mother in one pregnancy, there are two types of twins:
(1) Identical twins: 1 fertilized ovum separates into 2 embryos by mitotic cell division
same genotype.
(2) Fraternal twins: 2 ova fertilized by 2 different sperms respectively
different genotypes.

4. Development of embryo
The fertilized egg (zygote) divides repeatedly by mitotic cell division to form a ball of cells (called
embryo). The embryo then implants onto thickened uterine lining. This occurs about 7 days after
fertilization (the beginning of pregnancy).

42
Topic II

I. Amnion thin membrane developed by embryo which secretes amniotic fluid that:
(1) serves as a cushion to absorb shock,
(2) keeps the embryo moist (prevents it from desiccation),
(3) provides a constant environment for embryo,
(4) supports the embryo (by allowing it to move around easily),
(5) lubricates birth canal during labour.

II. Placenta temporary disc-shaped organ, formed by maternal uterine tissue and embryonic villi
finger-like villi increase surface area for exchange of substances
capillaries of embryo and mother are close to each other but do not join, so mothers
blood is separated from embryos blood
walls of capillaries are very thin to increase the rate of diffusion of substances:
(1) From mother to embryo: nutrients (e.g. glucose, mineral salts), oxygen, antibodies;
(2) From embryo to mother: carbon dioxide, metabolic wastes (e.g. urea, excess salts)
advantages: (1) prevent high blood pressure of mother from damaging blood vessels of
embryo;
(2) prevent harmful substances to diffuse from mother to baby (but some
small harmful substances, e.g. alcohol, are still able to pass through)
secretes hormones to maintain thickness of uterine lining/keep placenta good for diffusion.

III. Umbilical cord connects abdomen of embryo with placenta, contains blood and stem cells
contains two umbilical arteries and one umbilical vein
umbilical artery: carries deoxygenated blood from embryo to mother
umbilical vein: carries oxygenated blood from mother to embryo.

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

Main organs appear at the end of 8th week, embryo is then called foetus. It normally takes 39 weeks from
fertilization to birth.

43
5. Birth process
During last month of pregnancy, the head of embryo turns down towards the cervix. Uterine and
abdominal muscles contract rhythmically with increasing strength and frequency and cervix dilates.
(Labour begins and labour pain is experienced.) Amnion breaks, amniotic fluid flows out through vagina
to act as lubricant.

Pelvis expands and muscular contraction becomes stronger and stronger to expel the baby out of uterus.
Umbilical cord is then tied and cut. Uterine muscles contract powerfully to push placenta out of the body.

Remains of umbilical cord will dry up and fall off. A scar (navel) will be left at babys abdomen.

*Caesarean section is carried out (i.e. cut open mothers abdomen and uterus to deliver the baby) if natural birth
possesses risks to life of baby/mother.

6. Parental care
Babies receive great care and protection from their parents. This parental care ensures a better
development of babies and increases their chance of survival.

In humans, it starts from suckling of milk produced s mammary glands. Breast milk is the best
food for babies since:
(1) it contains all nutrients that a baby needs,
(2) it contains antibodies to protect baby against disease in early months,
(3) it enhances development of brain and retina in babies.

Breast-feeding helps build a bond between mother and baby. It also helps recovery of mothers uterus,
reduces risk of breast/ovarian cancer for the mother.

7. Birth control
Birth control aims to (1) slow down the increasing rate of human population,
(2) reduce the rate of using of natural resources/pollution,
(3) conserve environment/save natural habitats.

It also allows better family planning to provide a better living standard for each family member.

Unwanted pregnancy can be prevented using different contraceptive methods:


Contraceptive
Male/female Biological basis Other effects/Notes
method
Avoid sexual intercourse during fertile Signs of ovulation:
Rhythm (natural) Male and period (a few days around ovulation) (1) sudden rise in body temperature,
method female Reduce chance of fertilization (2) mucus secretion from cervix
Unreliable becomes more fluid
Thin dome-shaped rubber cap with a
Diaphragm
Female metal spring, used to cover cervix /
(barrier method)
Prevent sperm from entering uterus

44
Topic II

Thin rubber sheath fits tightly over


erect penis (condom)
Thin rubber pouch inserted into vagina
Condom/Female
Male and (female condom) Protect against sexually transmitted
condom
female Trap ejaculated sperm, prevent them diseases, e.g. syphilis, HIV infection
(barrier method)
from entering uterus
Often used with spermicide
Quite reliable if properly used
Flexible plastic/metal loop or coil
Inter-uterine device inserted into uterus
Female Regular medical checks are needed
(IUD) Prevent implantation of embryo
Very reliable
Contraceptive Contain synthetic sex hormones Side effects exist
pills/patch or injection Female Prevent ovulation Need to seek medical advices before
(hormonal method) Very reliable use
Cut and tie sperm duct Male sex hormones still produced by
Vasectomy Sperms cannot be transferred to female testes, distributed in blood
Male
(surgical method) body Sperms still produced, secondary
Sterile (permanently) sexual characteristics still develop
Female sex hormones still produced
Cut and tie oviducts
by ovaries, distributed in blood
Tubal ligation Ovum cannot meet sperms (site of
Female Ovulation/Menstruation still occur,
(surgical method) fertilization removed)
secondary sexual characteristics still
Sterile (permanently)
develop

45
*CHAPTER 15
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

1. Concept of growth and development


Growth is an irreversible increase in size and dry mass of an organism, which is the result of:
(1) Cell division: increase in number of cells by mitotic cell division.

(2) Cell enlargement: increase in size of cells by assimilating food substances and synthesizing new
materials in cytoplasm.

Development is an irreversible change in form and increase in complexity of an organism. It is resulted


from differentiation of cells, which is a process that cells specialize to carry out different functions.
Similar types of cells group together to form tissues, organs and systems.

2. Measurement of growth
There are different parameters for measuring growth:
Parameters Advantages Disadvantages
Continuous measurement is not
Dry mass (dry weight)
possible (since organism is killed)
- Mass with water removed More accurate to measure amount of
Need a large sample size
- Heating in oven 100C for over 30 organic matter in an organism
Time-consuming
minutes (to obtain constant mass)
Not suitable for large organisms
Continuous measurement is possible
Fresh mass (fresh weight) Less accurate (affected by water
(since organism is alive)
- Mass with water retained content of organism)
Easy and convenient
Size
- Length/height: structures that mainly Continuous measurement is possible
Not too accurate since measures growth
grows by elongation (since organism is alive)
in one dimension only
- Surface area: flat structures Easy and convenient
- Volume: irregularly shaped structures

Different parts of a plant can be measured in the following ways:


i) Seedling by dry mass/fresh mass
use more seedlings as spare seedling in case some of them die off during the experiment.
ii) Root marks with equal intervals are marked onto the radicle (marking method)
growth rates of different regions of a root can be compared.
iii) Stem by auxanometer.
iv) Leaf use transparent grid paper to cover the leaf
count the number of squares to estimate surface area.
v) Fruit immerse it into water
measure the increase in volume of water in container.

46
Topic II

3. Germination of seeds
As seeds are dispersed to a suitable place, they will grow and develop into a new plant.

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

The seed absorbs water and swells, seed coat then breaks and radicle emerges. Root hairs develop from
the radicle to increase surface area for water and mineral absorption. The hypocotyl grows in a hook and
elongates, bringing up cotyledon up above the soil. (Cotyledons protect delicate plumule tip from
damage.) The hypocotyl straightens and cotyledons become green to carry out photosynthesis for a few
days. Young leaves will develop to make food and cotyledons fall off.

Conditions for germination of seeds


i) Supply of water softens seed coat and makes cotyledon swell for emergence of radicle and plumule
activates enzymes to convert insoluble storage food into soluble forms
as a medium to transport soluble food to growing regions.
ii) Suitable temperature for effective enzymatic activities and chemical reactions.
iii) Supply of oxygen oxidizes storage food to provide energy for growth
in an earlier stage, seeds can still germinate in the absence of oxygen due to
anaerobic respiration.

4. Growth in plants
Growth only happens in certain regions called meristems, which are groups of cells that are able to divide
by mitotic cell division throughout the plants life. There are two types of meristems:
i) Apical meristem found at root and shoot tips
its growth increases length of the plant, thus is called primary growth.

ii) Lateral meristem found at periphery of stems and roots


between phloem and xylem (in woody plants)
produces cells differentiating into secondary phloem and xylem
older xylem tissues are pushed inwards and become wood
illustrated by formation of annual rings
its growth increases thickness of the plant, thus is called secondary growth.

47
Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

A. Factors affecting growth in plants


(1) Light: essential for photosynthesis to make food and chlorophyll synthesis.
(2) Temperature: affects rate of enzymatic reactions.
(3) Water: as an important raw material for photosynthesis.
(4) Food supply: as an essential raw material for respiration.
(5) Concentration of plant hormones: different concentrations would stimulate/inhibit growth of
different parts of plants.
(6) pH of the soil: too acidic/alkaline soil are not suitable for plant growth.

B. Growth curve
It can be obtained by plotting any parameter of growth (e.g. mass, height) of organism against time.
An annual plant is a plant that lives for only one growing season, usually with an S-shaped curve.

Stage 1: dry mass decreases, storage food is


broken down during germination.

Stage 2: dry mass increases, green leaves are


formed to make food by photosynthesis,
rate of food production is faster than
that of food consumption.

Stage 3: dry mass decreases due to dispersal of


fruits and seeds.

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

48
Topic II

5. Growth in humans
Growth occurs in all parts of the body, but active growth usually takes place at certain period, usually at
infancy and adolescence. When a human becomes an adult, they show no net increase in their size, but
cell division still continues to replace worn out or damaged cells (e.g. production of new blood cells).

Different parts of the body grow at different times and rates. For example, the brain grows rapidly during
infancy and early childhood while reproductive organs only start to grow more rapidly at puberty.

Body part Relative size Reasons


Grows more rapidly at early age
Head Decreases with age
Grows more slowly than other parts at later stage
Grows more slowly at early age
Limbs Increases with age
Grows more rapidly than other parts at later stage
Trunk Remains nearly the same Grows at a proportional rate to that of the whole body

Boys and girls have also different growth rates at adolescence. Around age 11 to 14, growth rates of girls
is faster than that of boys; while growth rate of boys is faster after age of 14. It shows that girls enter
puberty earlier than boys.

*All cells except nerve cells are capable of dividing actively in order to replace old cells.

Growth curve
The growth curve typically consists of five stages:

Source: New Senior Secondary: Mastering Biology

*Growth hormone secreted by pituitary gland in the brain stimulates growth of bones and muscles. Too much
growth hormone will result in gigantism and too little will cause dwarfism.

49
CHAPTER 16
DETECTING THE ENVIRONMENT

1. Irritability
Organisms have to detect changes in both external and internal environment and give appropriate
responses to survive. This ability is called irritability.

Changes that cause a response in the body are called stimuli. They are detected by receptors which are
made up of sensory cells. Some are single sensory cell (e.g. pain receptors in skin) while some are sense
organs (e.g. eyes, ears) consisting of numerous sensory cells.

A. Types of receptors
Type of receptor Sense organ Stimulus detected
Photoreceptor Eye Light
Mechanoreceptor Ear, skin Sound, vibration, pressure, touch
Chemoreceptor Nose, tongue Chemicals (in air and food)
Thermoreceptor Skin Temperature

B. Coordinating systems
When a sense organ detects a stimulus, it converts it into nerve impulses, which are then sent to the
brain via nerves. The brain interprets and gives sensations (such as sight, hearing, taste, etc.). Nerve
impulses are then sent by the brain to effectors such as muscles and glands to give responses.

Coordination is the process that receptors and effectors work together to give appropriate responses to
a stimulus. In humans, this is carried out by two coordinating systems: the nervous system and the
endocrine system.

Plants have no such coordinating systems as humans; they rely on chemical substances produced.
Their responses are slow and usually involved movement of body parts caused by growth.

2. The human eye


We have a pair of eyes that detect light. We use them to obtain around 80% of information from the
environment. Each eye is spherical and is held in the socket of the skull by three pairs of eye muscles.
Contraction of these muscles allows the eye to rotate in different directions.

The front surface of the eye is protected by:


(1) upper and lower eyelids which can close and allow blinking;
(2) eyelashes which help trap dirt and other objects from entering the eye;
(3) eyebrows which prevent sweat from running into the eye;
(4) tears secreted by tear gland, which (a) contains an enzyme to kill bacteria and (b) keep eye surface
moist and clean (helped by blinking).

50
Topic II

A. Structure of the eye

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

i) Sclera white, opaque, tough coat made of fibres


protects the delicate inner structures, maintains shape of eyeball
as a surface for attachment by eye muscles
its front part is the transparent cornea, protected by a thin transparent conjunctiva
their curved surface help refract light into the eye.

ii) Choroid contains a black pigment, which absorbs light to reduce reflection of light within the
eye/help form a sharp image
is rich in blood vessels to supply nutrients/oxygen to and remove wastes from the eye
its front part forms the iris, which is a pigmented muscular structure
its colour depends on pigments present
controls the size of pupil (a hole at the centre of iris that light enters the eye).

iii) Retina contains light-sensitive cells (i.e. photoreceptors) rod cells and cone cells
its central region is the yellow spot which contains cone cells only
optic nerve is a bundle of nerve fibres that carries nerve impulses from retina to brain
the place where optic nerve leaves the eyeball is called blind spot, in which no
photoreceptors are present

iv) Lens transparent, elastic, biconvex, consisting of transparent living cells with no nuclei
refracts and focuses light onto retina
connected to ciliary body (behind the iris) by suspensory ligaments
ciliary muscles control thickness of lens, hence degree of refraction of light

v) Aqueous humour watery fluid that fills the anterior chamber between cornea and lens
supplies nutrients and oxygen to cornea/conjunctiva/lens by diffusion
keeps cornea in convex shape, refract light onto retina.

51
vi) Vitreous humour a jelly-like fluid that fills posterior chamber between lens and retina
helps maintain spherical shape of eyeball and refract light onto retina.

*Human has two eyes with overlapping visual fields to a binocular vision, which gives (1) a 3-dimensional
vision, (2) accurate judgment of distance of an object, and (3) cancels out the blind spot effect of each eye.

This ability is important for predators to hunt preys. On the other hand, prey animals (e.g. rabbits) have eye at
two sides which provides a wider visual field for them to detect predators.

B. Control of the amount of light entering the eye


i) In bright light circular iris muscles contract and radial iris muscles relax
pupil constricts (size of pupil decreases) to allow less light to enter the eye.
ii) In dim light circular iris muscles relax and radial iris muscles contract
pupil dilates (size of pupil increases) to allow more light to enter the eye.

C. Photoreceptors in the eye


i) Rod cells contains visual purple that is sensitive to light of low intensity
work well in dim light, responsible for black and white vision
distributed throughout retina except yellow spot and blind spot
ii) Cone cells work best in bright light, responsible for colour vision
consists of three types, each is most sensitive to red, green and blue respectively
colours other than red/green/blue are seen as combined results
concentrated at yellow spot, a few is present at periphery of retina
objects are seen sharply if their images fall on yellow spot.

Light rays from an object are refracted by cornea, aqueous humour, lens and vitreous humour onto the
retina. The image formed is real, inverted and diminished. It is detected by rod and cone cells, which
then generate nerve impulses. These impulses are transmitted along optic nerve to visual centre at
cerebral cortex of the brain. The brain interprets the nerve impulses and sees an upright image.

D. Eye accommodation
Our eye has the ability to focus on objects at different distances by changing the curvature of lens.

i) For near objects circular ciliary muscles contract to reduce tension in suspensory ligaments
lens becomes more convex due to its own elasticity
light is refracted more by lens and focused onto retina.
ii) For distant objects circular ciliary muscles relax to increase tension in suspensory ligaments
lens becomes less convex as it is pulled outwards
light is refracted less by lens and focused onto retina.

*Refraction of light mostly occurs at cornea. Light refraction at lens is mainly for fine focusing.

52
Topic II

E. Eye defects
Eye defect Conditions Cause Corrections
Can only see near objects clearly Wear concave lenses to
Lens is too thick
Short sight (image of distant objects forms in diverge light rays before
Eyeball is too long
front of the retina) reaching the eye

Can only see distant objects clearly Wear convex lenses to


Lens is too thin
Long sight (image of near objects forms behind converge light rays before
Eyeball is too short
the retina) reaching the eye
Cannot distinguish some or all
Deficiency or defect in one
colours
or more of the three types
Colour blindness Red-green colour blindness is the Cannot be cured
of cone cells
most common
Inherited from parents
Total colour blindness is rare
**Astigmatism is caused by unevenly curved cornea or lens. It can be corrected by wearing lenses with different
curvatures in different regions.

Some of the eye defects can be corrected by wearing contact lenses or, more recently, laser eye surgery.

Ray diagrams:

3. Tropism in plants
Tropism is the directional growth movement of a part of a plant as a response to a unilateral stimulus.
The growth direction is affected by the direction of the stimulus.

If the plant grows towards the stimulus, it is regarded as a positive response. If it grows away from the
stimulus, it is regarded as a negative response.

53
A. Types of tropism
(1) Phototropism: a directional growth movement as a response to a unilateral light source.
(2) Geotropism: a directional growth movement as a response to gravity.
(3) Hydrotropism: a directional growth movement as a response to a unilateral water source.

Shoots Roots
Positive ()
Phototropism Negative ()
(much stronger than gravity)
Geotropism** Negative () Positive ()
Positive ()
Hydrotropism** /
(much stronger than gravity)

Such responses enable leaves to obtain maximum amount of light for photosynthesis; they also allow
roots to grow deep into soil to obtain water and minerals, and to get better anchorage.

Source: New Senior Secondary: Mastering Biology

*Rotating clinostat is an instrument that rotates along a horizontal axis, so that each side of the sample (e.g.
shoots or radicles) are evenly acted on by a unilateral stimulus (e.g. light, force of gravity). It can remove the
effect of unilateral stimuli.

B. Auxins as plant hormones


People have been using oat coleoptiles to study growth movement of plants since 18th century. (A
coleoptile is a protective sheath that encloses young shoot of embryo in plants in grass family.) It is
preferred since it has a simple shape and grows rapidly.

Only the shoot tip or root tip gives responses (i.e. sensitive) to stimuli, in the way of growth. The
following experiments show how shoot tip is responsible for the growth responses of plants:

Scientist Experiment Results Explanations

Shoot tip is positively


Charles
phototropic
Darwin
Bending occurs
(1880)
behind the tip

54
Topic II

The tip is responsible


for detecting light and
producing a substance
for growth

Only agar but not


mica allows chemicals
to pass through, the
Boysen-
substance produced by
Jenson
the tip is a chemical
(1913)
This chemical
diffuses down the tip
and causes growth

The chemical passes


down shaded side but
not illuminated side

The side with


displaced tip receives
higher concentration of
Paal
this chemical
(1919)
That side will grow
more rapidly and bends
to the other side

The chemical produced


Went
by the tip diffuses into
(1928)
agar block

Light causes uneven


distribution of the
chemical
The shaded side has a
higher concentration of
the chemical than the
illuminated side

The first plant hormones discovered are auxins, named by Went. They are chemicals mainly produced
by the growing points of shoot tips and root tips, and then diffuse to region of elongation where
growth is caused. The most common type of naturally occurring auxins is indoleacetic acid (IAA).

55
They are easily diffused away from the illuminated side to the shaded side by the effect of light.

Source: New Senior Secondary: Mastering Biology

Concentration (ppm) Effect on root growth Effect on shoot growth


-6 -3
10 to 10 Stimulating No effect
-2 2
10 to 10 Inhibitory Stimulating
10 2
Inhibitory Inhibitory

*Different plants are also affected differently by the same concentration of auxins. Some synthetic auxins are
used as weed killers, for example, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is used in grass lawns or grain fields
to remove dicotyledonous weeds.

**They are also produced by buds, flowers and developing fruits. They can inhibit the growth of side buds
while allowing the bud at shoot tips to grow; they can also stimulate adventitious roots to grow when growing
new plants from cuttings.

C. Mechanism of phototropic response in plants


Distributions of auxins are even in roots and shoots when light comes from all directions. However,
unilateral light (one side illumination) causes uneven distribution of auxins in both shoot tips and
root tips as auxins are diffused away to the shaded side. Concentration of auxins on the shaded side is
higher than that in the illuminated side.

High concentration of auxins stimulates the shoot growth but inhibits root growth on the shaded side.
Therefore, the shaded side will grow faster than the illuminated side. The shoot grows and bends
towards light, while the root grows and bends away from light.

56
Topic II

4. The human ear


We have a pair of ears that detect sound, which is a form of energy in waves of pressure. The information
received is important for communication and survival (by escaping from danger).

A. Structure of the ear

Source: New Senior Secondary: Mastering Biology

The human ear consists of three main parts: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear.
i) Outer ear includes pinna, eardrum and auditory canal
pinna is a flap of elastic cartilage covered by skin to (1) collect sound waves in the air,
(2) help direct sound through auditory canal to a thin elastic membrane (eardrum)
cerumen (a.k.a. ear wax) is produced for (1) cleaning, (2) lubrication, (3) inhibiting
bacterial/fungal growth.

ii) Middle ear consists of three ear bones, called hammer, anvil and stirrup
they amplify and transmit vibrations from eardrum to oval window, which is a
flexible membrane to transmit vibrations to the inner ear
round window releases pressure in cochlea into the air in the middle air
connected to pharynx by the Eustachian tube
allows air to enter/leave the middle ear to minimize pressure difference between
middle ear and the atmosphere (usually done by swallowing)
eardrum bulges if pressure on both sides are not equal. It cannot vibrate freely
in response to sound waves and we feel pain.

iii) Inner ear consists of tubes that forms cochlea (for hearing) and three semicircular canals
(involved in keeping body balance)
cochlea is a coiled tube with three canals separated by membranes
upper and lower canals are filled with a fluid perilymph
central canal are filled with endolymph, and contains sensory hair cells (a kind

57
of mechanoreceptors) to detect changes in pressure
semicircular canals are located in three planes at right angles to each other
this enables the hair cells to detect head movements in any directions
auditory nerve is a bundle of nerve fibres that carries nerve impulses from the hair
cells to brain.

B. Mechanism of hearing
Sound waves in the air are collected by pinna and are directed to the eardrum along auditory canal.
They cause mechanical vibration in the eardrum. The ear bones amplify and transmit vibrations from
eardrum to oval window. As the oval window vibrates, perilymph in the upper canal of cochlea is
forced to vibrate. Such vibrations are transmitted to endolymph of the central canal.

This bends and stimulates the hairs of sensory hair cells, which then generate nerve impulses. These
impulses are transmitted along auditory nerve to auditory centre of the brain. The brain interprets the
nerve impulses and hears the sound.

58
Topic II

CHAPTER 17
COORDINATION IN HUMANS

1. Human nervous system


Changes in the external and internal environment (stimuli) are detected by receptors. And responses are
produced by effectors (such as muscles and glands) after stimuli are received.

In order to make all receptors and effectors to function properly and efficiently, coordination is necessary
to connect them together. In humans, this is carried out either by the nervous system and the endocrine
system.

General plan of human nervous system


The nervous system is composed of two main parts:

(1) The central nervous system (CNS) the brain and the spinal cord;
(2) The peripheral nervous system (PNS) 12 pairs of cranial nerves and 31 pairs of spinal nerves.

They are all made up of nerve cells (neurones) which are the basic units of the nervous system.

2. Neurones and nerve impulses


A. Structure of a neurone

i) Cell body consists of a nucleus, cytoplasm and organelles (e.g. mitochondria).


ii) Nerve fibres branch out from cytoplasm, can be dendrons or axons
dendrons transmit nerve impulses towards cell body
axons transmit nerve impulses away from cell body.
iii) Myelin sheath a fatty layer surrounding nerve fibres
functions: (1) insulates and protects nerve fibres,
(2) prevents leakage of nerve impulses,
(3) ensures fast transmission of nerve impulses.

*Nerves are bundles of nerve fibres wrapped in connecting tissues.

59
B. Types of neurones
There are three types of neurones:
(1) Sensory neurones: transmit nerve impulses from receptors to the CNS
with a long dendron, and a short axon; cell body is oval-shaped.
(2) Motor neurones: transmit nerve impulses from the CNS to effectors
with short dendrons, and a long axon; cell body is star-like.
(3) Interneurones: transmit nerve impulses between neurones within CNS
dendrons same length as axon.

C. Transmission of nerve impulses


Nerve impulses are electrical in nature as they are transmitted along nerve fibres. As a nerve impulse
reaches the ending of an axon of a neurone, neurotransmitters (chemical) are released in the ending.
They diffuse across the synapses to the dendrons of another neurone, and stimulate it to generate nerve
impulses. This ensures one neurone can communicate with many other neurones, and the transmission
of nerve impulses is in one direction.

3. The brain
The brain makes up about 2% of our body weight. It is enclosed by cranium, and covered by three layers
of membranes. Cerebrospinal fluid is produced inside cavities of the brain, and fills the space between
inner and middle membranes. It supplies nutrients/oxygen to neurones and removes wastes from them,
absorbs shock and maintains shape of the brain by providing mechanical support.

Source: New Senior Secondary: Mastering Biology

The brain is divided into three parts:


i) Cerebrum a highly convoluted structure to increase surface area for packing more neurones
externally divided into left and right cerebral hemispheres
left hemisphere mainly controls right side of the body while right hemisphere
controls the left side
internally divided into cerebral cortex (outer region) and medulla (inner region)
cerebral cortex is made up of grey matter comprising cell bodies of neurones,
medulla is made up of white matter comprising nerve fibres
cerebral cortex is divided into three areas and give following functions:
(1) sensory areas interpret nerve impulses from receptors, give sensations such as

60
Topic II

sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch;


(2) motor area initiates voluntary actions by sending impulses to effectors;
(3) association areas integrate information from different receptors, give memory,
reasoning, learning, judgment and intelligence.

ii) Cerebellum a two-lobed convoluted structure underneath the back of cerebrum


grey matter at outer region, and white matter at inner region
functions: (1) coordinates voluntary muscular movement;
(2) responsible for body balance during movement.

iii) Medulla oblongata a slender tube connecting the brain to spinal cord
grey matter at inner region, and white matter at outer region
functions: (1) controls involuntary actions (e.g. breathing, heartbeat), and
reflex actions e.g. swallowing, coughing;
(2) relays impulses between spinal cord and the brain.

4. The spinal cord


It is a hollow tube extending from medulla oblongata of the brain, with a central canal at its centre, which
is filled with cerebrospinal fluid. It is covered by three layers of membranes and protected by vertebral
column. Its outer region consists of white matter, and inner H-shaped region consists of grey matter.

Source: New Senior Secondary: Mastering Biology

It has 31 pairs of spinal nerves; each of them is connected to the spinal cord by two nerve roots:
(1) The dorsal root contains sensory neurones. It has a swelling called dorsal root ganglion since the cell
bodies of sensory neurones group outside spinal cord.
(2) The ventral root contains motor neurones, in which their cell bodies are in grey matter of spinal cord.

Spinal cord relays impulses between receptors or effectors and the brain; it is also responsible for reflex
actions.

61
5. Nervous actions
A. Voluntary actions
These actions involve interpretation and are under conscious control of the cerebrum. When a
receptor receives stimuli and generates nerve impulses, these nerve impulses then transmit along the
sensory neurones to the cerebrum. The cerebrum processes and integrates information, and then sends
impulses along the motor neurones to effectors to generate a response.

receptor sensory neurone CNS interneurone motor neurone effector

*Some voluntary actions are directly initiated by cerebrum without responding to any stimulus; learning may
be required in this case.

B. Reflex actions
These actions do not involve the cerebrum (involuntary actions). They are inborn, rapid and
automatic responses to avoid further damages to the body or help regulate some vital processes e.g.
breathing. They are also stereotyped since the same stimulus always gives the same response.

Reflex actions involving medulla oblongata are called cranial reflexes e.g. blinking reflex of the eye;
while those involving spinal cord are called spinal reflexes e.g. swallowing and coughing.

Reflex actions Types of reflex actions Reflex arc


pain receptor (in skin) sensory neurone spinal cord
Withdrawal reflex Spinal reflex
interneurone motor neurone arm muscle (effector) contracts
stretch receptor (in upper thigh muscle) sensory neurone
Knee jerk reflex Spinal reflex
spinal cord motor neurone leg muscle contracts
light receptor (in retina) sensory neurone brain
Pupil reflex Cranial reflex
interneurone motor neurone iris muscle contracts/relaxes
*A reflex arc is the shortest nervous pathway in a reflex action. It usually consists of receptor, sensory neurone,
interneurone, motor neurone and effector, except knee jerk reflex (with no interneurone).

Source: New Senior Secondary: Mastering Biology

Nerve impulses are transmitted to the brain via another pathway so that a person can know what happening.
However, the reflex action has already completed before the nerve impulse reaches the cerebrum.

62
Topic II

Some voluntary activities can also be rendered reflex actions after long practising time, e.g. playing piano and
typing.

6. Human endocrine system


The endocrine system is responsible for hormonal coordination.

Endocrine glands are ductless glands that produce chemicals called hormones, which then diffuse
directly into the blood stream. They do not release their secretions thorough ducts as exocrine glands (e.g.
salivary glands in the alimentary canal), but are richly supplied with capillaries for rapid diffusion.

Hormones are chemical messengers that are effective in small amounts. They are circulated in the blood
stream and act on specific target cells or organs to cause them to give responses. They are important for
regulation of body processes and maintaining constant internal environment.

Hormones secreted
Endocrine gland Location** Functions of hormones secreted
(examples)**
Controls secretions of other endocrine glands
Thyroid-stimulating
Pituitary gland At the base of the brain Affects growth, reproduction, urine
hormone, growth hormone
concentration
Thyroid hormones Affects metabolic rate
Thyroid gland Throat
(e.g. thyroxine) Regulates growth and development
Pancreas Abdomen (behind
Insulin, glucagon Regulate blood glucose level
(islets of Langerhans) stomach)

Adrenal glands On top of kidneys Adrenaline Prepare the body for emergency action

Sex hormones Stimulate development of reproductive


Testes (male) Male: scrotum
Male: testosterone systems (make sperms/release eggs) and
Ovaries (female) Female: lower abdomen
Female: estrogens secondary sexual characteristics
*Pancreas is both an endocrine and exocrine gland.

7. Comparison between hormonal and nervous coordination


Nervous coordination Hormonal coordination
Electrical (nerve impulses)
Nature of message Chemical (hormones)
Chemical (neurotransmitters)
Method of transmission Conduct in nerve fibres Circulate in blood stream

Rate of transmission Faster Slower


Localized Widespread
Area affected
(restricted to places with nerve supply) (one hormone can affect several targets)
Duration of response Short-term Long-lasting
Reproduction, growth, development,
Body processes involved Voluntary, involuntary or reflex actions
homeostasis

63
*CHAPTER 18
MOVEMENT IN HUMANS

1. The human skeleton


Movement in humans is brought about by the musculo-skeletal system, which is composed of skeleton,
muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments.

Human skeleton is made up of living cells, which is either bone or cartilage.


Bones Cartilages
Hardness Harder Softer, more elastic
Minerals (mainly calcium phosphate),
Constituents Fewer minerals than bones
proteins
Their cavities contain bone marrow
Structure that produce blood cells /
Canals in bones contain blood vessels
Between bones to reduce friction
Distribution All throughout the skeleton Gives shape/support to some structures
(e.g. pinnae/nose/wall of trachea)

A. General plan of the human skeleton


i) Axial skeleton lies on the central axis of the body
mainly for support and protection of internal organs
skull consists of cranium and bones that form the face (e.g. jawbones)
eight smaller bones are fused together to form cranium
protects the brain and some sense organs (e.g. eyes, ears)
vertebral column (a.k.a. spine) is made up of 33 vertebrae separated by
cartilaginous intervertebral disc
supports body weight/protects the spinal cord/provides surface for muscle
attachment to maintain an upright posture
rib cage consists of 12 pairs of ribs, connected to the sternum at the front (by
cartilage and the vertebral column at the back
protects the lungs and the heart/helps bring about breathing actions.

ii) Appendicular skeleton lies on both sides of the body, mainly for movement
limb bones are arm and leg bones
a fore limb (arm bone) includes humerus, radius, and ulna
a hind limb (leg bone) includes femur, knee cap, tibia, and fibula
allow movement of the body
girdles are strong structures with flat bones
pectoral girdles form the shoulders/join arm bones to axial skeleton
pelvic girdle forms the hip/join leg bones to axial skeleton.

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Topic II

B. Functions of the human skeleton


(1) It forms a rigid framework for muscles to act on, so as to support and give shape to the body.
(2) It provides lever systems for muscles to act on, hence enabling movement of the body.
(3) It protects delicate internal organs and structures.
(4) Bone marrow in long bones (e.g. ribs, limb bones) can produce new blood cells such as red blood
cells, white blood cells and blood platelets.
(5) Yellow bone marrow stores lipids.
(6) Bones store minerals such as calcium and phosphate.

2. Joints
A joint is the place where two or more bones meet. It allows the bones to move in a flexible way.

A. Types of movable joints in humans


i) Ball and socket joint allows movement in three planes and circular movement
ball-shaped end of one bone fits into cup-shaped end of another bone
e.g. hip and shoulder joints.
ii) Hinge joint allows movement in one plane only
e.g. elbow and knee joints, joints between finger and toe bones.
iii) Pivot joint limited to nodding only
e.g. atlas and axis between the skull and vertebral column at the neck.
iv) Gliding joint limited movement only, but allows sliding of bones
e.g. between vertebrae.

*Some joints are immovable, e.g. sutures in cranium. The bones are joined up firmly, so they are impossible to
move.

B. Structure of a movable joint


i) Ligaments elastic fibres connecting two bones
form a capsule enclosing the joint
allow bones to move
prevent dislocation of joints during
movement.

ii) Cartilage absorbs shock, reduces friction


prevents the surface of bones from
being worn-out during movement.

iii) Synovial membrane secretes synovial fluid as a lubricant to reduce friction


nourishes cartilage cells.

65
3. Muscles
Muscles make up about 40% of our body weight. They are principal effectors for movement in humans.

A. Types of muscles
Types Location Structure Functions Control
Muscle fibres held by Voluntary
Attached to associated Powerful contraction,
Skeletal muscles connective tissues Involuntary by
bones by tendons easily fatigue
Striated reflex actions
Powerful contraction,
Cardiac muscles In the heart Striated Involuntary
easily fatigue
In the walls of hollow
Smooth muscles organs (e.g. alimentary Non-striated Contract slowly Involuntary
canal, blood vessels)
*Each muscle fibre is a single muscle cell with many nuclei.

B. Mechanism of muscle contraction


Contraction of skeletal muscles is simulated by nerve impulses from motor neurones, i.e. controlled
by the nervous system. A powerful contraction is achieved as several groups of muscle fibres are
stimulated at the same time by a motor neurone.

As a nerve impulse reaches the ending of axon of a motor neurone, it stimulates it to release
neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters diffuse across synapse called neuromuscular junction to
the muscle fibre, and stimulate it to generate an electrical impulse. The electrical impulse spreads
along the muscle fibre and triggers muscle contraction.

4. Movement of the body


A skeletal muscle usually has one end attached to one bone and the other end attached across a joint to
another bone. They are attached to bones by tendons, which are inelastic and transmit force generated by
muscles to pull the bones.

If the tendon is long, a muscle can move a bone that is far from it (e.g. finger bones). If muscles attach
directly to bones without tendons, our limbs would be too thick and bulky for fine movements.

**Tendons that move during muscle contraction are called insertions; while those that remain stationary
during contraction are called origins.

A. Action of skeletal muscles


Muscles that work in pairs to cause opposite actions in a movement are called opposing
muscles/antagonistic muscles). As one muscle contracts, the other relaxes.
(1) Flexor: a muscle that bends a limb (towards a joint) as it contracts.
(2) Extensor: a muscle that straightens a limb (straightens a joint) as it contracts.

As the flexor and extensor contract and relax in a coordinated way, our body is allowed to move.
Cramps occur when groups of muscles contract at the same time without coordination.

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Topic II

e.g. elbow joint: a hinge joint that allows movement in one plane only.

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

Antagonistic muscle pairs involved:


Biceps a flexor in front of humerus
has 2 origins which both locate on scapula (shoulder bone) and 1 insertion on radius.
Triceps an extensor at the back of humerus
has 1 origin on scapula, 2 origins on humerus and 1 insertion on ulna.

When biceps contracts, triceps relaxes to raise the forearm.


When triceps contracts, biceps relaxes to lower the forearm, elbow joint is also straightened.

B. Lever principle of movement Effort


(1) Bones at joints act as levers. (force by biceps)

(2) The joint act as a fulcrum.


(3) The effort is the tension caused by the
Fulcrum
contraction of muscles (elbow joint)
(4) The load is the weight of the bone (with tissues) Load
and other weight to be moved (if any). (weight of forearm
and other weight) Elbow joint

e.g. movement of forearm:


The effort only needs to move a short distance in order to move the load a long distance. It implies that
a small contraction of the biceps can cause a large movement in the forearm.

C. How to keep muscles healthy?


(1) Always keep a correct posture to minimize muscular effort. Otherwise, muscles may become
fatigue easily and cause deformation of skeleton.
(2) Take in food rich in calcium and vitamin D (e.g. milk and cheese). Otherwise, osteoporosis may
result.
(3) Exercise regularly to increase size of muscle fibres and blood supply to strengthen muscles, bones
and make joints more flexible.
67
CHAPTER 19
HOMEOSTASIS

1. Concept of homeostasis
The capacity of living things to maintain a constant internal environment is called homeostasis. It is
important for organisms to survive since it ensures the best internal environment for the cells to function.

Some parameters of the internal environment that must be kept stable are as follows:
(1) Water and mineral content in blood: It is known as osmoregulation, which is regulated by kidneys of
the urinary system. A stable water potential in cells is essential for them to carry out metabolic
activities properly.
(2) Blood glucose level: It is regulated by the pancreas and the liver to provide sufficient glucose for
respiration in cells.
(3) Gas content in blood: It is regulated by controlling rate and depth of breathing and heartbeat.
Sufficient supply of oxygen is essential for respiration and removal of carbon dioxide as a metabolic
waste is important to maintain a stable pH in blood.
(4) Body temperature: The human skin is important to keep a body temperature at 36.5 37C.

Negative feedback mechanism


Homeostasis is often brought about by negative feedback mechanism. It has three components: a receptor,
a control centre and an effector.

The receptor first detects the changes in level of the parameter. The control centre (usually part of
nervous system or endocrine system) then processes information received and coordinates different
effectors, such as glands, to produce a response that has an opposite (negative) effect in order to reverse
the original change. The level of the parameter can be restored to normal.

** In a positive feedback system, the response increases the degree of original change, e.g. during labour, uterine
muscle contractions stimulate the brain to secrete more hormones, which in turn causes stronger uterine
contractions.

2. Regulation of blood glucose level


A. Actions of hormones
Effect on blood
Hormone Site of production Process stimulated
glucose level
Liver cells convert excess glucose into glycogen
(which is then stored in liver/muscles)
Body cells take in more glucose, which will then be
Insulin Pancreas Decrease
oxidized to carbon dioxide and water
Liver cells convert less glucose from other substances
(e.g. proteins)
Glucagon Pancreas Increase Liver cells convert stored glycogen into glucose
*Glycogen stored in muscles will not be converted into glucose and circulated in the bloodstream.

68
Topic II

Blood glucose level is regulated by negative feedback mechanism.

When blood glucose level increases (e.g. after absorption of glucose in small intestine), pancreas
secretes more insulin and less glucagon into blood. Insulin acts on liver cells and body cells as stated
above to lower the blood glucose level to normal.

When blood glucose level decreases (e.g. during exercise), pancreas secretes less insulin and more
glucagon into blood. Glucagon acts on liver cells as stated above to raise the blood glucose level to
normal.

B. Failure to regulate blood glucose level


Normal blood glucose level in human blood is kept constant at 90 100mg/100cm3.

If blood glucose level is too high, water will leave the cells by osmosis, affecting normal metabolism.
Glucose may eventually pass out of the body in urine if blood glucose level is higher than that the
kidneys can reabsorb (i.e. 180mg/100cm3), this happens in people with diabetes mellitus.

After glucose is taken in, a healthy person will have his/her blood glucose level return to normal
within a short period of time. For a diabetic, blood glucose level remains high, but falls gradually
since glucose passes out in urine.

Source: Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts

Diabetes mellitus is often caused by failure to produce enough insulin by pancreas. This may be
controlled by injecting insulin, or totally cured by pancreas transplant.

If blood glucose level is too low, i.e. falls below 40mg/100cm3, all body cells will be affected due to
insufficient glucose for respiration. Since neurones in the brain can only use glucose as their energy
source, they cannot function properly, and the person will become unconscious.

69
CHAPTER 20
ECOSYSTEMS

1. Basic concepts of ecology


Organisms are adapted to live in a specific habitat with a well-defined set of physical conditions (e.g. soil
type, temperature, humidity, etc.), and interact dynamically with one another and with the environment.

Ecology is the study of interrelationships between organisms and those between organisms and their
environment. It can be studied at different levels:
species population community ecosystem biome biosphere

Level of organization Descriptions


Species a group of similar organisms that can interbreed to give fertile offspring

Population a group of individuals of the same species living in the same habitat

Community all the populations of the different species living in the same habitat
a self-supporting, stable, but dynamic unit of living (all the organisms in the community) and
Ecosystem
non-living (physical environment) components interacting with each other
a complex of ecosystems covering a large geographical area, characterized by a dominant
Biome
type of plant, e.g. savanna, desert, tropical rainforest, tundra
Biosphere entire space on earths surface containing organisms

The ecosystem
It is the basic unit of ecological study. All ecosystems are self-supporting, stable but dynamic since they
have the following basic features:
(1) Physical environment affects and, in turn, affected by organisms (interactions).
(2) Organisms develop special relationships with one another (interdependence).
(3) Energy flows from one organism to another in the form of food when organisms are being eaten; it is
eventually lost as heat. A constant input of energy from the sun is thus essential.
(4) Various elements are cycled in the ecosystem rather then lost.

Different ecosystems have different living and non-living components. Major types of ecosystems in
Hong Kong are freshwater stream, rocky shore, mangrove, grassland and woodland.

2. Components of an ecosystem
Each ecosystem has 2 components: abiotic factors (non-living component) and biotic community (living
component). These components influence the number, types, distribution and behaviour of organisms,
and also their adaptations to, thus their survival, in a habitat.

70
Topic II

A. Abiotic factors
i) Temperature affects distribution and behaviour of organisms, partly because it affects
enzymatic activities, and thus metabolic rate or organisms
homoiotherms (e.g. birds/mammals) can maintain their body temperature, thus
remain active in a wider temperature range
mammals may have a thick layer of subcutaneous fat and furs to reduce heat
loss in cold areas
birds usually migrate to warmer places in cold seasons
poikilotherms (e.g. fish/amphibians/reptiles) cannot maintain a constant body
temperature, thus are restricted to a narrower temperature range
amphibians/reptiles may hibernate in winters
fish/some types of insects (e.g. butterflies) may migrate to warmer places in
cold seasons
some plants cannot grow in tropical regions (e.g. apples) while some cannot grow
in cold regions (e.g. bananas, pineapples).

ii) Light intensity and duration affects photosynthesis rate and flowering of plants.
some plants flower only at night, e.g. Epiphyllum
affects behaviour of animals: some are active in daytime (diurnal) while some are active
at night only (nocturnal)
nocturnal animals may have good night vision (e.g. owls) or special methods for
sensing the environment, e.g. bats determine location of obstacles/preys by receiving
echoes of ultrasound emitted.

iii) Rainfall and humidity affects water available in a habitat


relative humidity affects transpiration rate in plants and evaporation
rate of sweat in animals
plants living in dry areas (xerophytes) have needle-shaped leaves/thick
cuticle to reduce water loss, long roots to absorb more water, e.g. cacti
animals may cut down water loss by:
(1) having thick fur as insulating barrier;
(2) having hard scales (reptiles);
(3) excretion of uric acid (birds/insects);

iv) Wind speed affects pollination of flowers/dispersal of seeds/transpiration rate


organisms in habitats with strong winds must be firmly attached to ground surface.

v) Water current in streams/at coastlines: organisms are flatten in shape to reduce water resistance
fish may have fins modified into sucker-like structures
on rocky shores: organisms firmly attach to rock surface/immobile.

vi) Salinity concentration of minerals in water


determines water potential and movement of water by osmosis
in estuaries with a wider range of salinities: some mangrove plants possess salt glands

71
in leaves to remove excess salt absorbed.

vii) Soil provides water, minerals, anchorage for plants


its nature (particle size, air/water/nutrient content, pH value, etc.) determines plant types
that can grow
organic matter (dead plants/animals/excreta) are decomposed by microorganisms into a
dark brown substance called humus, which is a source of nutrients for plants.

viii) Oxygen concentration oxygen concentration increases with decreasing temperature/more


turbulent water flow/less organic matter
soil particles are smaller/more closely packed in silt/clay than in sand,
easily become water-logged with low oxygen content
some aquatic insects have specialized breathing structures
some mangrove plants have roots that grow out of water-logged soil.

B. Some terms to describe a biotic community


i) Habitat the place (physical environment) where an organism lives
ii) Niche the role /way of life that an organism has in its natural environment
each species occupy a specific niche
determined by temperature range in which it lives, types of food it eats, space it occupies
if two populations of different species have the same niche, they cannot exist stably at the
same time
iii) Species diversity variety of organisms in a community
determined by total number and relative abundance of each species
iv) Dominant species species that exert strong control over composition/diversity of community
usually the most common type of plants in a terrestrial ecosystem.

C. Relationships between organisms


Populations of organisms interact with each other in different ways (interdependence), some may gain
benefits (), is harmed () or not affected at all (0).

i) Predation ( , ) predators hunt, capture, kill and eat preys, forming food chains/webs
populations of predators and preys sometimes follow a cycle
change in population of predator is always lagging behind that of prey
e.g. snakes feed on rats.
ii) Competition ( , ) organisms compete for common needs, e.g. food, shelter, sunlight, oxygen,
water, mates, etc.
may be intraspecific (same species) e.g. barnacles on the same rock;
or interspecific (different species) e.g. barnacles and mussels
intraspecific competition is more intense since individuals of the same
species have the same needs.
iii) Commensalism ( , 0) two organisms live together such that one is benefited while the other is
neither harmed or benefited

72
Topic II

e.g. (1) barnacles on shells of crabs (for movement, food);


(2) epiphytes on tree trunk (for more sunlight).
iv) Mutualism ( , ) both organisms gain benefits when two organisms live together
e.g. (1) sea anemone (for movement, food) and hermit crabs (protection);
(2) lichen: algae (for water, protection, anchorage) and fungi (food) on
tree trunks or bare rocks;
(3) nitrogen-fixing bacteria (for shelter, food) and leguminous plants
(for nitrates)
v) Parasitism ( , ) parasites live on/inside the host to obtain benefits while the host is harmed
e.g. tapeworms live in mammals (such as humans).

D. Ecological succession
Gradual change in the composition of a community over a period of time is called ecological
succession.

New species are better adapted to new conditions than original species since the former modify their
environment. They gradually replace original species and reach a stable climax community consisting
of the maximum number of organisms in a habitat.

I. Primary succession
(1) A barren area (e.g. created by volcanic eruption, reclamation) is colonized by lichens and
mosses forming a pioneer community. Accumulated organic matter and broken rocks forms
the soil.
(2) Grass, ferns and herbs then gradually replace lichens and mosses, providing food and shelter
for small animals.
(3) Death and decay of plants thickens soil for shrubs to develop, attracting more animals.
(4) Soil becomes so thick and rich in nutrients that trees grow over shrubs, forming woodland. A
climax community is also reached.

II. Secondary succession


It takes place in area previously supported life but now barren, e.g. woodland after a hill fire.
Pioneer community are not needed as soil is present. And it takes a shorter time to reach a climax
community since seeds, roots and underground vegetative organs may still present in soil and they
come grow rapidly in favourable conditions.

3. Energy flow within an ecosystem


The ultimate source of energy used by all organisms is the sunlight. Since energy flow is a one-way
process and cannot be recycled, a continuous supply of energy from the sun is needed in order to support
vital activities of an ecosystem.

Less than 10% of energy is transferred between successive trophic levels. Most energy is lost as heat
during respiration/through excretory products (e.g. urea, carbon dioxide)/some materials are not digested
or absorbed/organisms are not being eaten.

73
A. Food chains and food webs
A food chain shows a particular set of linear feeding relationship between organisms. It always starts
with a producer.

Organisms may be classified as producers, consumers or decomposers:


i) Producers usually photosynthetic, e.g. plants, algae, phytoplanktons
absorb light energy and convert it into chemical energy stored in glucose
make their own food (autotrophs), act as food (energy) source to all heterotrophs.
ii) Consumers heterotrophs, usually animals
transfer chemical energy along food chains in the form of food
can be classified into:
(1) primary consumers (feed on producers), e.g. herbivores, zooplanktons
(2) secondary consumers (feed on primary consumers), e.g. carnivores
(3) tertiary consumers (feed on secondary consumers).
animals can feed on plants (herbivores), animals (carnivores) or both (omnivores)
iii) Decomposers mainly fungi or bacteria
decompose organic wastes and dead bodies into inorganic nutrients (can be
absorbed by plants)
recycle materials e.g. carbon, nitrogen.

e.g. grass mouse snake hawk


Producer Primary consumer Secondary consumer Tertiary consumer
(plant) (herbivore) (carnivore) (carnivore)
Trophic
First Second Third Fourth
level

Energy flows from a lower trophic level (feeding level) to a higher one. Due to energy loss as heat/as
chemical energy used by decomposers, a food chain seldom consists of more than 5 trophic levels. The
longer the food chains, the less consumers at higher trophic levels it can support (i.e. function less
efficiently.

A food web shows all possible feeding relationships among organisms.

Example (1): Example (2):


hawk
duck
lizard snake

fish tadpole
grasshopper mouse rabbit protozoa

green and other plants pond weed green algae

74
Topic II

B. Ecological pyramids
I. Pyramid of numbers
It shows the number of organisms at each trophic level (proportional to the width of each bar).
Since less and less energy is available between each successive trophic level, number of organisms
that can be supported at higher trophic levels is usually fewer. But it cannot express accurately the
energy level relationships between (1) large producers and consumers, or (2) hosts and parasites.

grass mouse snake hawk tree caterpillar small bird hawk grass mouse cat flea

hawks hawks fleas


snakes small birds cats
mice caterpillars mice
grass tree grass

II. Pyramid of biomass


It shows the total dry mass (biomass) of organisms at each trophic level. Since the amount of
energy stored is usually proportional to amount of living material in the body or an organism, a
more accurate energy level relationship can be shown.

hawks hawks fleas


snakes small birds cats
mice caterpillars mice
grass tree grass

4. Materials cycling
As matters can neither be created nor destroyed (i.e. there are a fixed amount of elements), a continuous
supply of materials is made possible only by their cyclic use among organisms. Such cycling of materials
forms the basis for interdependence among organisms in an ecosystem.

A. Carbon cycle
dissolution in water
Carbon dioxide
(then diffusion)
photosynthesis (in atmosphere)

combustion
respiration carbonates
(in limestone)
respiration
fossil fuels
carbohydrates decomposition
(e.g. coal, petroleum)
(in producers) (then respiration by
decomposers)

under heat/pressure
feeding death
for a long time
carbohydrates organic wastes/
(in consumers) death/excretion dead bodies

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B. Nitrogen cycle
nitrogen diffusion
lightning
(in atmosphere)
(then dissolution
in rainwater) diffusion

denitrification nitrogen
(by denitrifying bacteria) (in soil air)

nitrogen-fixation
nitrates (by nitrogen-fixing bacteria)
(in soil)
nitrification ammonium
absorption and nitrites
(by nitrifying bacteria) compounds
assimilation (in soil) nitrification
(in soil)
proteins (by nitrifying bacteria)
(in producers)

feeding ammonification
proteins organic wastes/ (by putrefying
(in consumers) death/excretion dead bodies bacteria/fungi)

5. Conservation of ecosystem
Humans, with his intelligence, are capable to modify the environment to some extent to enhance their
survival. These changes may upset the balance of the ecosystem and may eventually threaten our survival.

Undesirable impacts brought by human activities on the environment are exemplified as follows:
(1) Air pollution: exhaust fumes from vehicles/factories/power stations e.g. CO, CO2, NO2, SO2, etc.,
carbon/lead particles and CFCs may cause acid rain/form smog/cause respiratory
diseases/destroy ozone layer etc.

(2) Water pollution: sewage from factories/homes/agriculture may contain excessive inorganic nutrients/
organic wastes that favour algal/bacterial growth; other pollutants may be pesticides,
toxic heavy metal ions, oil and hot water.

(3) Land pollution: rubbish decomposes in landfills, giving off harmful gases/bad smells; metal cans or
non-biodegradable plastics corrode slowly and take up lots of land space.

(4) Noise pollution: loud sound from machinery/construction/human activities may result in mental
stress, even deafness.

(5) Over-exploitation of resources (e.g. overfishing) may not give enough time for resources to
regenerate, causing rapid depletion.

(6) Deforestation destroys natural habitats, causes soil erosion/desertification, upsets carbon cycle
balance and may cause global warming.

(7) Reclamation also destroys coastal/marine habitats.

(8) Destruction of habitats or overhunting may put species into extinction (endangered species).

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Topic II

(9) Global warming leads to climatic changes such as melting of ice caps in polar regions, more frequent
floods/storms or even droughts in some places. Agriculture is also threatened.

Conservation is important for maintaining a sustainable ecosystem in order to ensure a continuous


supply of resources for both present and future generations.

Four principles are involved:


(1) Protection of what is left, e.g. set up natural reserves, enact laws.
(2) Good management of what must be used, e.g. prohibit large-scale fishing during fishing moratorium.
(3) Reduction of the use of natural resources and production of waste whenever possible, e.g. recycling
of paper/metal cans/plastic bottles, not using plastic bags.
(4) Replacement of non-renewable resources with renewable ones, e.g. using solar power/wind power
instead of fossil fuels to generate electricity.

The government has taken various measures in reducing pollution and conservation:
(1) enacting pollution control ordinances;
(2) launching the Action Blue Sky Campaign to reduce air pollution;
(3) launching the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme (HATS) with sewage treatment plants.

6. Study of a local habitat


Different sorts of data about biotic community and abiotic factors in a habitat can be obtained by using
sampling methods and direct measurement using relevant instruments respectively. Correlation between
any of these factors could be found out in this ecological study.

A. Sampling methods
They are used to study the distribution and abundance of organisms in a habitat.

I. Quadrats a square frame of a fixed area e.g. 1m2


used for random sampling to estimate the abundance of organisms
procedures: (1) it is thrown to fall at random positions,
(2) count and record the number of organisms enclosed,
(3) repeat sampling and calculate a mean value.
abundance can be shown by:
percentage frequency of a species

absolute density of species A

relative density of species A

percentage cover of species A

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II. Transects a piece of inelastic string with markings at regular intervals e.g. 1m
used for systematic sampling to record changes in both abundance and distribution of
species in habitats with some transitionse.g. along a rocky shore
can be the line transect method or the belt transect method
line transect method:
(1) place a transect in a specific position carefully chosen
(2) record individuals that touches the transect at regular intervals (or all the way along)
belt transect method has 2 versions:
(1) (a) set up 2 parallel transects at 0.5m/1m apart (to study a strip of fixed width),
(b) record the number of organisms within 2 lines.
(2) (a) place quadrats at fixed intervals along a transect,
(b) record organisms enclosed by the quadrats.

Quadrat Line transect Belt transect


Sampling method Random sampling Systematic sampling
Kinds of habitat Fairly uniform habitats
suitable for using (only suitable for small, immobile/ Habitats with transitions in environmental conditions
this method fairly slow-moving organisms)
Abundance of organisms in the Abundance of certain species
Information area enclosed, e.g. percentage Presence/absence of a at different points along the line
obtained frequency, density, percentage species Range of distribution of
cover organisms

B. Measurement of abiotic factors


Abiotic factors Measuring instruments
Temperature Thermometer
Light intensity Lux meter
Relative humidity Wet-and-dry-bulb thermometer, thermohygrometer
Wind speed Anemometer
Salinity Refractometer, conductivity meter
pH value pH meter, pH paper
Oxygen concentration in water Dissolved oxygen meter

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Topic II

REFERENCES

Pan K.C. (2003). Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts, Book 1.

Pan K.C., Cheung L.M. (2003). Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts, Book 2.

Pan K.C., Cheung L.M. (2004). Certificate Biology: New Mastering Basic Concepts, Book 3.

Yung H.W., Ho K.M., Ho Y.K., Tam K.H., Tong L.P. (2009). New Senior Secondary: Mastering Biology, Book 1A,
1B, 2.

Yung H.W., Ho K.M., Ho Y.K., Tam K.H., Tong L.P. (2010). New Senior Secondary: Mastering Biology, Book 3.

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