All About Nature



Written and Illustrated by:

Hana S. Hubert

(Aspiring Ecologist)

Information from

Chapter 1.

(Page 1)

10/31/14 (Page 2.)
Characteristics of Living Things:
Living things; including things that were once alive and things that are currently alive; have a set of characteristics that makes them different from non-living things.
I. All organisms are made up of one or more cells. Cells are the basic unit of living matter in all organisms.
A. Unicellular Organisms
1. Perform all life functions using their one cell.
B. Multicellular Organisms
1. Have different levels of organization that are built around the cell.
2. Cells → Tissues → Organs → Organ Systems.

II. All living things obtain and use energy throughout their lives.
A. Plants and Animals get their energy from food.
B. Cellular Respiration is the process that breaks down substances from food and produces.
1. Cells use glucose, a type of sugar.
2. Glucose + Oxygen → Carbon Dioxide + water + energy.
3. Carbon Dioxide is a waste product.

III. All living things get rid of waste. All living things also exchange gases with the environment.
A. Breathing:
1. Replenishes oxygen gas.
2. Removes carbon dioxide gas.
3. Gets rid of cellular waste.


10/31/14 (Page 3.)
Characteristics of Living Things (cont.)

IV. Green plants make their own food.
A. Plant Cells collect light energy to use for photosynthesis.
1. Carbon dioxide + water + light energy → oxygen + glucose.
2. Oxygen is the waste product.
B. Plant Cells perform cellular respiration in order to release the energy.

V. All living things must be able to reproduce.
A. Unicellular organisms reproduce through one cell division.
1. One parent cell grows in size and then splits in two, forming two new individuals.
2. Unicellular organisms grow in cell size.
B. Multicellular organisms reproduce when two parents contribute reproductive cells that will join to form a new individual.
1. An individual cell goes through numerous cell divisions in order to grow and develop.
2. Multicellular organisms grow in cell number.

11/03/14 (Page 4.)
Life Cycles:
I. Incomplete Metamorphosis.
A. 1st Life Cycle change: Eggs
1. Female insect lays eggs.
2. Eggs are covered by egg case.
B. 2nd Life Cycle change: Nymphs
1. Eggs hatch into nymphs.
2. Nymphs look like small adults, but without wings.
3. Nymphs eat the same food as adults.
4. Nymphs live in the same habitat as adults.
5. Nymphs molt outer casings several times.
C. 3rd Life Cycle change: Adult.
1. Nymphs stop molting.
2. Insect grows wings.

II. Complete Metamorphosis.
A. 1st Life Cycle change: Eggs.
1. Female insect lays eggs.
B. 2nd Life Cycle change: Larvae.
1. Larvae hatch from eggs.
2. Larvae do not look like adult insects.
3. Larvae have a worm-like shape with six legs.
4. Larvae molt their skin several times.
C. 3rd Life Cycle change: Pupa.
1. Larvae make a hard, protective case around themselves.
2. Larvae develop into their adult form with wings, legs, and internal organisms.
D. 4th Life Cycle change: Adult.
1. Larvae change into adults within their protective case.
2. Insect emerges as adult.
11/(unknown)/14 (Page 5.)
Responses and Stimuli

One characteristic that all living things have in common is the ability to respond to their environment.
    • Air
    • Water
    • Minerals
    • Organisms
    • Other external factors

A response is any behavior of a living thing that results from an internal or external stimulus.
A behavioral response requires coordination and communication at many levels.
An internal stimulus is something within a living thing that causes a response in the organism.
An external stimulus is something outside a living thing that causes a response in the organism.
Instinctive animal behavior is a response such as the fight or flight response.
Learned behavior is a response based on experience.
A voluntary response is a behavior of a living thing that is under conscious control.
A involuntary response is a behavior of a living thing that is not under conscious control.

11/06/14 (Page 6.)
Homeostasis of Organisms

One characteristic of living things is the ability to respond to their environment. A primary goal is to maintain a relatively constant internal environment, because cells can only perform when conditions outside of cells (temperature and amount of glucose and oxygen) are held within narrow limits. Homeostasis is the maintenance of a consistent internal environment.
As shown in the diagram, the disturbing factor is the stimulus, which gets detected by the sensor. The sensor relays internal conditions to the integrating center. The integrating center contains the set point, which is the normal range for a condition. When the integrating center receives the messages from the sensor, it compares the actual conditions to the set points, and determines whether there are differences from set points.
If there is a difference, the integrating center sends a message to either decrease or increase the activity of effectors. Effectors are glands or muscles that cause changes to make up for the departure from the set point. The response is when the effectors return the conditions to the set point.


Chapter 2.

(Page 7)

11/07/14 (Page 8.)
Cell Theory:

A theory is a widely accepted scientific explanation.
There are three parts of the cell theory. The first part states that all living things are made up of one or more cells. Most organisms are unicellular, which means they are made up of one cell. Other organisms are multicellular, made up of many cells.
The second part of the cell theory is that all cells come from pre-existing cells.
The third part of the cell theory states that cells are the basic unit of life. Cells are organized in a way that benefits the organism as a whole. The growth of unicellular organisms is a growth in cell size. The growth of multicellular organisms is a growth in cell numbers.
1. All living organisms are composed of one or more cells.
2. All cells arise from pre-existing, living cells.
3. The cell is the most basic unit of life.


11/(unknown)/14 (Page 9.)
Prokaryotic & Eukaryotic Cells:

In plant and animal cells, the nucleus is enclosed in a membrane. The nucleus contains genetic information that provides instruction for the cell, also known as DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).
DNA is a molecule located in the chromosomes of each cell. DNA provides specific guidelines about traits inherited from parents.
RNA (ribonucleic acid) takes information from the nucleus and relays it to the Ribosomes.
Ribosomes are cell parts that make proteins.

The presence of a nucleus indicates that a cell is Eukaryotic. All kingdoms under the domain Eukaryota—Protists, Fungi, Plants, and Animals—are Eukaryotic.
Prokaryotic cells do not contain a nucleus.
Bacteria, Archae
Prokaryotic Cell
Protists, Fungi, Plants, Animals.
Eukaryotic Cell

11/17/14 (Page 10.)
Plant and Animal Cells:

Cell wall
One large
A few small

All plant cells have a cell wall, which is the outermost layer made up mostly of cellulose. The cell wall gives shape to the cell, and protects the cell from infection. Non-plant organisms that have cell walls are bacteria, fungi, and algae.
Animal cells do not have a cell wall, but they have a cell membrane. It is a thin membrane that forms the cell's outer surface. It is made of proteins and lipids.
Chloroplasts ares small parts within green plant cells that contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll are several green pigments, that capture light energy to make glucose through photosynthesis, and store the glucose for use by the mitochondria.
The mitochondria in green plants use the glucose in the presence of oxygen to make ATP. ATP is the primary source of energy for cells, and allows cells to perform many life functions.
Animal cells do not have chloroplasts, but they have mitochondria. The mitochondria in animal cells uses the sugar from foods that the animal takes in for cellular respiration.
In a plant cell, the vacuole is large, surrounded by a membrane, and filled with a watery liquid. Materials such as nutrients and waste products are stored in the fluid. The vacuole also regulates turgor pressure, which is pressure placed on the plant cell wall by water passing in and out of the cell.
Animal cell vacuoles are not as large as in plant cells, there is instead a few small ones. Like plants cells, the vacuole stores materials in the fluid.

11/(unknown)/14 (Page 11.)
This chemical energy made during photosynthesis passes from organism to organism in food webs. Photosynthesis provides chemical energy fro organism within food webs, and provides food for green plants.
Green plants can make their own food through a process called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis occurs in the leaves of green plants. The photosynthetic process converts the energy of sunlight into chemical energy fro the plant to use in all it's other life processes.
In the first stage of photosynthesis, light from the sun strikes leaf cells that contains cell parts called chloroplasts. The chloroplasts have chlorophyll inside of them that collects energy from the sun to use in photosynthesis.
The chloroplasts use water brought up from the soil to convert the light energy into chemical energy in the form of ATP. Once the water is brought up, the water molecules split into hydrogen and oxygen. Oxygen is given off as a waste product, and escapes through holes in the leaves called stomata, and escapes into the air.
The second stage does not require light. The chloroplasts use the chemical energy that has been stored in ATP to combine the hydrogen with carbon dioxide that enters the leaf through the stomata to make glucose, a type of sugar.
Glucose is food for the plant but is in a form that can't be used directly by a cell. Through cellular respiration, the plant uses glucose to provide energy for the cell that can be used directly. Glucose provides energy for the plant and is used to form cells for the plants growth.
The process of photosynthesis:
carbon dioxide + water + light energy → glucose + oxygen
11/25/14 (Page 12.)
Cellular Respiration:

Cellular respiration is the process that the cells of organisms perform in order to get energy. Aerobic respiration is when oxygen is used in cellular respiration, and Anaerobic respiration is when oxygen is not used in cellular respiration. Some organisms only use Aerobic respiration, while others only use Anaerobic respiration. Some can even use both!
Cellular respiration releases energy from glucose, when the mitochondria uses the glucose to make ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
Cellular Respiration:

glucose + oxygen → carbon dioxide + water + energy stored in ATP

Plant and Animal cells both perform cellular respiration, although only plant cells perform photosynthesis.

12/01/14 (Page 13.)
Homeostasis of Cells:

Homeostasis is the maintenance of a consistent internal environment (ex. Water & nutrient balance). Cells need to extract energy in order to maintain homeostasis, and nutrients that pass into cells are used to provide this energy.

Energy is needed for:
    • Making materials
    • Cell Growth
    • Cell Division
    • Cell production

Cells of all organisms go through similar procedures to maintain homeostasis.
    • Reproducing
    • Extracting energy from food
    • Getting rid of wastes
    • Transporting materials through diffusion and osmosis

Cells reproduce by dividing, for three purposes:
    • Growth
    • Replacement
    • Repair

When cells divide, or reproduce, they must first make a copy of the nucleus and cell parts.
When food is consumed, the nutrients get absorbed into the wall of the small intestine. The nutrients move though tiny blood vessels in the villi, and are carried away to cells of the body. Once nutrients enter the cell membrane, enzymes start breaking down the nutrients.
After the broken down nutrients have been converted to energy through cellular respiration, the waste products are excreted as urine.
Cells maintain homeostasis through diffusion and osmosis. Diffusion is the movement of nutrients, ions, or small molecules through the cell membrane.
Higher concentration → Lower concentration
Illustration 2: Diffusion

Illustration 1: Osmosis

Osmosis is the movement of water through the cell membrane. The cell membrane is semipermeable (only allows certain small molecules through).

Chapter 3.

(Page 14)

12/02/14 (Page 15.)

Comparing Cells and Organisms:

A life process is the way in which an organism functions to survive. All organisms grow and develop.
Cells, which are the basic unit of matter in living things, divide and develop which in turn allows the organisms to grow and develop.;
Organisms get energy, by eating food. The food is broken down so that it can be absorbed and used as nutrients. Food that is not absorbed is eliminated as waste.
Cells need energy also. Green plants take in energy through photosynthesis, and perform cellular respiration to convert the glucose produced into a usable form of energy.
Organisms also need energy, by eating food. The food is broken down so that it can be absorbed and used as nutrients. Food that is not absorbed is eliminated as wasted.

12/05/14 (Page 16.)

Unicellular Organisms:

All organisms are made up of cells. If something is not made up of cells, then it is not an organism. Organisms that are made of just one cell are called unicellular organisms. If you can see an organism with your unaided eyes, then it most likely mulitcellular. Most organisms are unicellular. Unicellular organisms have to carry out all of the life function of multicellular organisms.
Life Functions:

* Moving
* Reproducing
* Taking in food
* Getting rid of waste
Some unicellular organisms have cilia (SIL-ee-uh), which are hair-like projections that swishes back and forth to move the cell, or make a current in the fluid that surrounds the cell. Other unicellular organisms have a flagellum (fluh-JEL-um), a single skinny tail that whips back and forth to move the cell through fluid. Still other unicellular organisms have pseudopods (SOO-doah-pods), which are temporary extensions of the protoplasm or cytoplasm. Pseudopod means false foot.
Most unicellular organisms reproduce asexually (ay-SEX-yoo-uhl-ee), one parent: two children. It is called Binary Fission (BY-nare-ee FISH-un). Binary Fission is a reproductive process commonly used by bacteria and other one-celled organisms, where a cell splits to form two separate cells. Unicellular organisms also can reproduce sexually through conjugation (con-JOO-gay-shun). Conjugation is the transfer of genetic material through a temporary connection between two unicellular organisms of the same species.
Unicellular organisms ingest food through endocytosis (EN-doah-sy-toe-sis); which is the movement of materials such as food into the cytoplasm of a cell through membranous vesicles or vacuoles. There are two types of endocytosis: phagocytosis (FAG-oh-cy-toe-sis)—when an organisms engulfs a material, and pinocytosis (PEE-no-cy-toe-sis)—when an organism gulps a droplet of fluid.
Exocytosis is the movement of waste materials out of the cytoplasm of a cell through vesicles or vacuoles.

1/05/15 (Page 17.)

Multicellular Organisms:

All organisms are composed of cells, which are the basic unit of matter in all living things. Multicellular organisms are living things made up of many cells. If you can see the organism with your unaided eyes, then it is most likely multicellular.
While most unicellular organisms reproduce asexually, most multicellular organisms reproduce sexually, through meiosis. In meiosis, reproductive cells are formed with half the genetic material of the parent organism. The organisms contribute the reproductive cells for fertilization. The male organisms contributes sperm cells, and the female organisms contributes egg cells. The two cells join to form one, fertilized cell.
After a cell is fertilized, it goes though a process called mitosis. Mitosis is a type of cell division reserves for tissue growth and repair in sexually reproducing organisms. In mitosis, the cell splits into two cells, then the two cells split to form four cells, then eight cells, sixteen cells, so on and so forth. The number of cells depends on the size of the organism.
As the organism develops, it's cells differentiate into different kinds of cells. After the cells differentiate, they become specialized. All of the same kinds of cells group to form tissue, and the tissue makes up an organ, and and the organ is part of an organ system.

Cells → Tissues → Organs → Organ Systems

The cells of a multicellular organism divide up the workload to keep the organism functioning.

Chapter 4.

(Page 18)

1/08/15 (Page 19.)

A biome is a type of environment in which organisms can be found. Each supports different organisms that are adapted to that region of Earth. Plants and animals adapt to the biome that they live in.

      1. Terrestrial Biomes
A. Dry Biomes
1. Chapparal
2. Desert
B. Grasslands (prairies)
1. Tropical Savannas
2. Temperate Grasslands
C. Forests
1. Tropical seasonal forests
2. Temperate deciduous forests
3. Rainforests
4. Taigas
D. Tundra
1. Alpine
2. Arctic

II. Aquatic Biomes
A. Freshwater
1. Rivers and streams
2. Ponds and lakes
3. Wetlands
B. Marine
1. Coral reefs
2. Estuaries
3. Oceans

1/09/15 (Page 20.)

Biodiversity is the number of different species found in an environment. A species is a group of organisms that have similar physical characteristics, and reproduce with each other. The more species living in an environment, the more biodiversity there is, just like the less species living in an environment, the less biodiversity there is. There is also more biodiversity if there are more individuals in each species.
Different species rely on each other. If the number of individuals in a species decreases, the number of other individual in other species will decrease as well if the two species rely on each other. For example, a certain kind of stinging ant lives on the acacia tree. The acacia tree provides the ants with food and a home, and the ants remove neighboring shrubs, and insects that live on the tree as well. If the number of acacia trees decreases, so will the number ants, and vise versa.
A biodiversity crisis is a rapid decline in the variety of species on Earth. Non-native species can reduce biodiversity by out-competing native plants. Some causes of a biodiversity crisis are:

* Non-native species
* Human activities

Non-native species can reduce biodiversity by out-competing native plants. Clearing forests forces native species to find new homes in non-native areas> Those species might not survive in non-native areas, and if they do, they may out-compete native species. Both ways, biodiversity is reduced.

Organisms that humans introduce either intentionally or unintentionally to a new geographic area.
Organisms that are found naturally in a geographic area.

1/12/15 (Page 21.)
The biosphere is all the living things on Earth and all the non-living things with which they interact. A biome is a type of environment in which organisms can be found within. Within a biome are many ecosystems. An ecosystem is made up of many different organisms that exist in the same environment as well as the non-living things with which they interact.
Each ecosystem contains many different organisms that interact with one another in various ways. One such way is though obtaining food. Food provides energy required to perform life processes. Nutrients are substances necessary for growth. Some organisms make their own food, through photosynthesis. Those organisms that produce their own food are called producers. The organisms that eat other organisms for food are called consumers, and cannot make their own food. Organisms that get their energy from dead plant and animal materials are called decomposers.
Organisms within each ecosystem depend on one another. Organisms rely on non-living things within their ecosystem in order to survive, too.

Non-living things within an ecosystem:

    • Air
    • Water
    • Temperature
    • Precipitation
    • Sunlight
    • Soil type
    • Elevation

Ecosystems are self-contained, nearly all the interactions between each of the organisms occurs within the ecosystem. Organisms are adapted to the ecosystem in which they live.
A community is a group of all the organisms living together and potentially interacting in a particular area. Unlike ecosystems, which include living and non-living things within a given area, communities include only the living things within a given area. In both ecosystems and communities, living things depend on one another for survival.
A population is a group of interacting individuals belonging to one species and living in the same geographic area.
An organism is an individual living thing, that is a part of a population of that kind of species.

Biosphere → Biomes → Ecosystems → Communities → Populations → Organisms
1/13/15 (Page 22.)
Biotic & Abiotic Factors:

Biomes are types of environments in which organisms can be found. Biomes are characterized by both living and non-living features. The living features are known as biotic factors (by-AH-tik FAK-ters), and the non-living features are the abiotic factors (AY-by-ah-tik FAK-ters). Biotic factors in a biome often depend on abiotic factors. A example of this would be a tree (biotic factor) depending on the availability of water (abiotic factor).
Each biome consists of a number of ecosystems. An ecosystem is made up of many different organisms (biotic factors) that exist in the same environment as well as the non-living things (abiotic factors) with which they interact. Both biomes and ecosystems are characterized by living and non-living features. The more abundant that an abiotic factor is, the more biotic factors the ecosystem can support.
The abiotic factors in an ecosystem or biome can greatly influence the biotic factors. For example, extremely high or low elevations (abiotic factor) can result in less plants and animals (biotic factors).

1/13/15 (Page 23.)
Habitats & Niches:

Ecosystems are made up of many different organisms that exist in the same environment as well as the non-living things with which they interact. The organisms are adapted to the ecosystem in which they live. A habitat as a unique environment in which an organism lives. Habitats are part of an ecosystem where an organism can survive, and must be able to satisfy all of an organism's needs: such as food, water, light, and shelter.
Each habitat has a characteristic community of organisms. A population is a group of interacting individuals belonging to one species and living in the same geographic area. Each population within a habitat has a specific job to do. That is what a niche is: a role that a population has within it's community. Generally, only one population can fill a niche in a particular ecosystem.
No two species can coexist in an ecosystem if their niches are identical. However, organisms with similar niches can exist in similar habitats within different ecosystems.

Chapter 5.

(Page 24)

1/19/15 (Page 25.)
Limiting Factors
Carrying Capacity:

A population consists of all organisms of a species living together in a given area at a given time. Population density is the number of organims of a species per unit area. Limiting factors are environmental factors that restrict population growth.
Limiting Factors:
    • Water
    • Food
    • Shelter
    • Space
    • Disease
    • Parasitism
    • Predation
    • Nesting Sites

Carrying Capacity is the number of organisms in a population that an ecosystem can sustain. The number of organims that can survive in an ecosystem is dependant on the area's limiting factors. The carrying capactity of an area is not an absolute number.

1/20/15 (Page 26.)
Interactions Between

When a population increases in size, it requires more resources. Sometimes, a population can grow so large that there are not enough resources. As a population size increases, more resources are required. The size of the prey populations depends on the size of the predator population. A smaller predator population means a larger prey population, and the size of the predator population will increase if of the prey population increases.

1/26/15 (Page 27.)

Food provides organisms with energy required to perform life processes (e.x. Reproducing, getting rid of waste).

Autotrophs (AUT-oh-troaph), also known as producers, are green plants, algae, and some micro organisms. Autotrophs obtain their energy from the food they make, and also serve as food sources for other organisms. Heterotrophs (HET-er-eh-troaph) obtain their energy from organisms. Consumers—which are all organisms—obtain their energy from the organisms they eat.
Producers convert light energy from the sun to chemical energy through photosynthesis. “Photo” means light, and “synthesis” means to put together. The conversion of light to chemical energy through photosynthesis by producers is the original source of energy for nearly every ecosystem on Earth.

1/29/15 (Page 28.)

Populations of organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem. Two categories are Heteretrophs (HET-er-eh-troaph) and Autotrophs (AUT-oh-troaph). Autotrophs are organisms that produce their own food while Heteretrophs obtain their energy from organims. Consumers are a kind of Heteretroph because they get their food by consuming—eating—their food.
Primary consumers are consumers that feed off of Autotrophs, also know as Producers. Secondary consumers are consumers that hunt, kill and eat Primary consumers. Scavengers are consumers that eat the remains of organism that have died.

2/03/15 (Page 29.)

Producers are Autotrophs that obtain their energy from the food they make. Consumers are Heteretrophs that obtain their energy from the food they eat. Primary consumers directly eat producers. Secondary consumers eat Primary consumers.
Decomposers obtain their energy by breaking down waste materials and remains of other organisms after they have died. They release the nutrients from the organisms back into the air to be recycled, and obtain some of the nutrients themselves.

2/012/15 (Page 30.)
Energy in Ecosystems:

Producers turn light energy into chemical energy through photosynthesis. The energy made by the producers is the original source of energy for nearly every ecosystem on Earth. Primary consumers feed off of the producers, and therefore the energy goes from the producer to the primary consumer. Secondary consumers eat primary consumers, and Tertiary consumers eat Secondary consumers. Lastly, decomposers break down waste materials and the remains of dead organisms.
The energy from the producers gets passed down to consumers and decomposers. Less chemical energy is available with each pass; the energy transfer is inefficient and leads to energy losses. The Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transferred and transformed. When undergoing the changing of light energy to chemical energy, some gets lost as heat. Because of so much energy loss, energy is constantly being supplied by the sun.
While energy is being cycled, only a small amount of original chemical energy gets passed on to the next organism. An energy pyramid shows the distribution of energy in an ecosystem. More energy is concentrated in lower levels of the pyramid the higher levels.


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