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Summarize the philosophies of vitalism and mechanism and explain how they influenced the development of organic chemistry and mainstream biological thought.(Chapter 4)

Vitalism is the old scientific belief that living things are living because they contain a soul or a spirit. Descartes was the first major challenger of vitalism and has no reduced it to the point that absolutely NO scientific fact supports it. Descartes thought that living things were just living because they are more complex in some or many ways. This is the foundation (or at least a primitive one) of how science views life now: defined by a collection of physical traits.
Descartes principles launched the mechanistic movement of philosophy, which was later accepted by science after the experiments of Wohler. Wohler was able to synthesize urea from inorganic materials, which proved that biological chamicals were not unique to life and therefore life's vital spirit did not exist. The experiments of Wohler were the first time that this had been proven and science quickly rejected vitalism. Mainstream biological thought now is entirely mechanistic. The foundations of organic chemistry are based on these first experiments that showed that organic chemistry was a science and, even though it did reject vitalism, had proven vitalism false.


Distinguish in your own words, what is meant by "form fits function."(Ch.1)

“Form fits function” means that an organism is designed structured or shaped in a way that will help it perform a certain function or many functions easily with this structure. For example, the fins of a fish help it to propel itself through the water. The human heart serves its function as a muscular pump to get blood circulated throughout the entire body.


Explain the octet rule and predict how many bonds an atom might form.(Ch.2)

The octet rule is that an atom wants it's outermost shell to contain the maximum amount of electrons, to complete the octet. An atom can form up to four bonds. This is because each bond consists of the sharing of two electrons and eight electrons total are needed to complete the octet.


Describe how the relative concentrations of reactants and products affect a chemical reaction.(Ch.2)

The more concentrated the solution of reactants, the more the reaction wants to push right making more products.
Same goes vice-versa; if there's more products, then the reaction will push left producing more reactants.


Describe how water contributes to the fitness of the environment to support life.(Ch.3)

Water doesn't "contribute to the fitness of the environment". Water is the environment for life. Water is life, and life is water. Living cells are made almost entirely of water. No living things can exist without water as far as we know. Without water there is no fitness of any environment to support life. Life evolved in water. Before there was water on earth there was no life.


List the properties that emerge as a result of this structure (Water molecule). (Ch.3)

Properties that emerge because of the structure of water molecules include cohesion, adhesion, temperature moderation, and high specific heat.


Describe the biological significance of the cohesiveness of water.(Ch.3)

Cohesion is how water sticks together, many molecules appear as one versatile liquid. In plants, cohesion helps to pull water up the xylem of a plant, defying gravity and supplying nutrients to the entire plant. The water and nutrients go from the root of the plant, all the way to the highest part of the plant- everything is nourished.


Explain how water's high specific heat, high heat of vaporization, and expansion upon freezing affect both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.(Ch.3)

Water's high specific heat helps regulate temperature both in the ocean and on nearby land. A coastal town would experience less heat fluctuations, because water will keep the area from getting too hot. However an area far from the ocean, would experience more drastic temperature change. The high heat upon vaporization also has a buffering effect on nature. If an ocean was too hot, all the animals would probably die. Water's expansion upon freezing makes it float, whereas other liquids would sink. This allows the water to float on the surface and not sink into to ocean and freeze it all together ending oceanic life.


List some advantages for measuring substances in moles.(Ch.3)

When you are measuring a very small quantity of a substance, it would be a good idea to use moles.


Using the bicarbonate buffer system as an example, explain how buffers work.(Ch.3)

Buffers work by accepting hydrogen ions from solutions when they are in excess and donating hydrogen ions to the solution when they are depleted. In the bicarbonate buffer system the chemical equilibrium between carbonic acid and bicarbonate act as a pH regulator. If the H+ concentration in blood begins to fall (that is if the pH rises), more carbonic acid dissociates , replenishing hydrogen ions. When H+concentration begins to rise (pH drops), the bicarbonate ion acts as a base and removes the excess hydrogen ions.


Briefly describe how Charles Darwin's ideas contributed to the conceptual framework of biology.(Ch.1)

Charles Darwin took past information and put the facts together to show how a species evolved to survive harsh conditions. He came up with the idea of "natural selection" where the environment will shape an organism to attain certain traits.


List the five kingdoms and distinguish among them.(Ch.1)

1.Monera: single-c prokaryote
2. Protista: single-c eukarote
3. Plantae:multi-c producer
4. Animalia:multi-c consumer
5. Fungi:multi-c decompose


Diagram the hierarchy of structural levels in biology.(Ch.1)

1. Biosphere
2. Ecosystems
3. Communities
4. Populations
5. Organisms


Diagram the hierarchy of structural levels in biology.(continued)

6. Organs/Organ Systems
7. Tissues
8. Cells
9. Organelles
10. Molecules



Consists of all the environments on Earth that are inhabited by life.



Grasslands, forest, deserts, and coral reefs are ecosystem. An ecosystem consists of all the living things in a particular area, along with all the NONLIVING components.



The entire array of organisms inhabiting a particular ecosystem. It includes many kinds of trees and other plants, a diversity of animals, and enormous numbers of microorganisms.



A population consists of all the individuals of a SPECIES living withing the bounds of a specified area.



INDIVIDUAL living things.


Organ/Organ Systems

A body part consisting of two or more tissues. Each team of organs cooperate to complete a function.



A tissue has a cellular structure. We can see tissue as a group of SIMILAR cells.



The fundamental unit of life, because of structure and function.



The various functional components that make up cells.



A molecule is a chemical structure consisting of two or more atoms.


Explain why weak bonds are important to living organisms.

Weak bonds are crucial to living organisms because they can be broken down and used for growth easily, without the use of much energy. This is part of the process known as metabolism.
If the bonds are too difficult to break, the organism will waste too much energy in prrocessing/digesting its source of energy, and will gain little to aid in growth or development.