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Locomotion in Animals

Animal locomotion, which is the act of self-propulsion by an animal, has many manifestations, including running, swimming, jumping and flying. Animals move for a variety of reasons, such as to find food, a mate, or a suitable microhabitat, and to escape predators. For many animals the ability to move is essential to survival and, as a result, selective pressures have shaped the locomotion methods and mechanisms employed by moving organisms. For example, migratory animals that travel vast distances (such as the Arctic Tern) typically have a locomotion mechanism that costs very little energy per unit distance, whereas non-migratory animals that must frequently move quickly to escape predators (such as frogs) are likely to have costly but very fast locomotion. The study of animal locomotion is typically considered to be a sub-field of biomechanics.


Locomotion requires energy to overcome friction, drag, inertia, and gravity, though in many circumstances some of these factors are negligible. In terrestrial environments gravity must be overcome, though the drag of air is much less of an issue. In aqueous environments however, friction (or drag) becomes the major challenge, with gravity being less of a concern. Although animals with natural buoyancy need not expend much energy maintaining vertical position, some will naturally sink and must expend energy to remain afloat. Drag may also present a problem in flight, and the aerodynamically efficient body shapes of birds highlight this point. Flight presents a different problem from movement in water however, as there is no way for a living organism to have lower density than air. Limbless organisms moving on land must often contend with surface friction, but do not usually need to expend significant energy to counteract gravity.


Newton's third law of motion is widely used in the study of animal locomotion: if at rest, to move forwards an animal must push something backwards. Terrestrial animals must push the solid ground, swimming and flying animals must push against a fluid (either water or air). The effect of forces during locomotion on the design of the skeletal system is also important, as is the interaction between locomotion and muscle physiology, in determining how the structures and effectors of locomotion enable or limit animal movement.

The energetics of locomotion involves the energy expenditure by animals in moving. Energy consumed in locomotion is not available for other efforts, so animals typically have evolved to use the minimum energy possible during movement. However, in the case of certain behaviors, such as locomotion to escape a predator, performance (such as speed or maneuverability) is more crucial, and such movements may be energetically expensive. Furthermore, animals may use energetically expensive methods of locomotion when environmental conditions (such as being within a tunnel) preclude other modes.

The most common metric of energy use during locomotion is net cost of transport, defined as the calories needed above baseline metabolism to move a given distance, per unit body mass. For aerobic locomotion, most animals have a nearly constant cost of transport - moving a given distance requires the same caloric expenditure, regardless of speed. This constancy is usually accomplished by changes in gait. The net cost of transport of swimming is lowest, followed by flight, with terrestrial limbed locomotion being the most expensive per unit distance. However, because of the speeds involved, flight requires the most energy per unit time. This does not mean that an animal that normally moves by running would be a more efficient swimmer, however; these comparisons assume an animal is specialized for that form of motion. Another consideration here is body mass—heavier animals, though using more total energy, require less energy per unit mass to move. Physiologists generally measure energy use by the amount of oxygen consumed, or the amount of carbon dioxide produced, in an animal's respiration.


Paste the word instead of dots

1) Animals move for a variety of ……., such as to find …., a mate, or a suitable microhabitat, and to …… predators.

2) The most common metric of energy use during locomotion is ……

3) Animal locomotion, which is the act of self-propulsion by an animal, has many ……….


Topic 18


The word is from the Latin virus referring to poison and other noxious substances, first used in English in 1392. Virulent, from Latin virulentus (poisonous), dates to 1400.A meaning of "agent that causes infectious disease" is first recorded in 1728, before the discovery of viruses by Dmitri Ivanovsky in 1892. The English plural is viruses, whereas the Latin word is a mass noun, which has no classically attested plural. The adjective viral dates to 1948. The term virion (plural virions), which dates from 1959, is also used to refer to a single, stable infective viral particle that is released from the cell and is fully capable of infecting other cells of the same type.

A virus is a small infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of other organisms. Viruses can infect all types of life forms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea.

Since Dmitri Ivanovsky 1892 article describing a non-bacterial pathogen infecting tobacco plants, and the discovery of the tobacco mosaic virus by Martinus Beijerinck in 1898, about 5,000 viruses have been described in detail,although there are millions of different types. Viruses are found in almost every ecosystem on Earth and are the most abundant type of biological entity. The study of viruses is known as virology, a sub-speciality of microbiology.

Virus particles (known as virions) consist of two or three parts: the genetic material made from either DNA or RNA, long molecules that carry genetic information; a protein coat that protects these genes; and in some cases : an envelope of lipids that surrounds the protein coat when they are outside a cell. The shapes of viruses range from simple helical and icosahedral forms to more complex structures. The average virus is about one one-hundredth the size of the average bacterium. Most viruses are too small to be seen directly with an optical microscope.

The origins of viruses in the evolutionary history of life are unclear: some may have evolved from plasmids—pieces of DNA that can move between cells—while others may have evolved from bacteria. In evolution, viruses are an important means of horizontal gene transfer, which increases genetic diversity. Viruses are considered by some to be a life form, because they carry genetic material, reproduce, and evolve through natural selection. However they lack key characteristics (such as cell structure) that are generally considered necessary to count as life. Because they possess some but not all such qualities, viruses have been described as "organisms at the edge of life"

Viruses spread in many ways; viruses in plants are often transmitted from plant to plant by insects that feed on plant sap, such as aphids; viruses in animals can be carried by blood-sucking insects. These disease-bearing organisms are known as vectors. Influenza viruses are spread by coughing and sneezing. Norovirus and rotavirus, common causes of viral gastroenteritis, are transmitted by the faecal–oral route and are passed from person to person by contact, entering the body in food or water. HIV is one of several viruses transmitted through sexual contact and by exposure to infected blood. The range of host cells that a virus can infect is called its "host range". This can be narrow or, as when a virus is capable of infecting many species, broad.

Viral infections in animals provoke an immune response that usually eliminates the infecting virus. Immune responses can also be produced by vaccines, which confer an artificially acquired immunity to the specific viral infection. However, some viruses including those that cause AIDS and viral hepatitis evade these immune responses and result in chronic infections. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses, but several antiviral drugs have been developed.

Classification seeks to describe the diversity of viruses by naming and grouping them on the basis of similarities. In 1962, André Lwoff, Robert Horne, and Paul Tournier were the first to develop a means of virus classification, based on the Linnaean hierarchical system. This system bases classification on phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. Viruses were grouped according to their shared properties (not those of their hosts) and the type of nucleic acid forming their genomes. Later the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses was formed. However, viruses are not classified on the basis of phylum or class, as their small genome size and high rate of mutation makes it difficult to determine their ancestry beyond Order. As such, the Baltimore Classification is used to supplement the more traditional hierarchy.


Answer the questions

1) What is the virus?

2) How many parts consist of virus particles?

3) How come viruses spread?


Topic 20

Blue Green Algae

Cyanobacteria , also known as Cyanophyta, is a phylum of bacteria that obtain their energy through photosynthesis.The name "cyanobacteria" comes from the color of the bacteria (Greek: κυανός (kyanós) = blue). They are often called blue-green algae, but some consider that name a misnomer as cyanobacteria are prokaryotic and algae should be eukaryotic, although other definitions of algae encompass prokaryotic organisms.

By producing gaseous oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis, cyanobacteria are thought to have converted the early reducing atmosphere into an oxidizing one, which dramatically changed the composition of life forms on Earth by stimulating biodiversity and leading to the near-extinction of oxygen-intolerant organisms. According to endosymbiotic theory, the chloroplasts found in plants and eukaryotic algae evolved from cyanobacteria ancestors via endosymbiosis.

Blue-green algae, technically known as cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in lakes and streams. They usually are present in low numbers. Blue-green algae can become very abundant in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that receives a lot of sunlight. When this occurs, they can form blooms that discolor the water or produce floating rafts or scums on the surface of the water.

When blue-green algae first appeared on the scene about 2.8 billion years ago, it set in motion biochemical and atmospheric changes that eventually made it possible for complex life to exist. At the time blue-green algae evolved, the Earth's atmosphere was composed mostly of nitrogen (like today), but the other gas, making up about 25%, was carbon dioxide. Blue-green algae was the first life forms capable of oxygenic photosynthesis, which takes in carbon dioxide and the Sun's rays to produce energy, oxygen, and water.

After working for about 500 million years, the blue-green algae transformed the atmospheric carbon dioxide into mostly oxygen. This made much for free energy available for any subsequent organisms, but killed off all the anaerobic (air-hating) bacteria that had dominated the planet before. Because of the massive die-off, this event is known as the Oxygen Catastrophe. Evidence of this event is left behind in the form of banded iron formations, rocks consisting of bands of oxidized iron compounds alternating with iron-poor minerals such as shale. These iron compounds formed when cyanobacteria were locking up iron in compounds which then sunk to the sea floor.

Cyanobacteria at mainly found in the oceans, where they are primary producers and are eaten by many other organisms. The blue-green tinge they give the water is the source of their name, blue-green algae. The green color comes from chlorophyll in their cells. In the oceans, where there is ample nitrogen available in seawater and carbon dioxide available from the atmosphere, the main limiting factor in their growth is iron. Some scientists have begun to experiment with fertilizing the oceans with iron to boost their growth, which can sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and curb global warming.

Cyanobacterias are also well-known for their ability to fix nitrogen or convert it from gas form into solid form another essential feature of any ecosystem. All organisms need fixed nitrogen sources to survive. Other organisms convert fixed nitrogen compounds into protein and nucleic acids.

Cyanobacteria can be found in almost every terrestrial and aquatic habitat—oceans, fresh water, damp soil, temporarily moistened rocks in deserts, bare rock and soil, and even Antarctic rocks. They can occur as planktonic cells or form phototrophic biofilms. They are found in almost every endolithic ecosystem. A few are endosymbionts in lichens, plants, various protists, or sponges and provide energy for the host. Some live in the fur of sloths, providing a form of camouflage.


Aquatic cyanobacteria are known for their extensive and highly visible blooms that can form in both freshwater and marine environments. The blooms can have the appearance of blue-green paint or scum. These blooms can be toxic, and frequently lead to the closure of recreational waters when spotted. Marine bacteriophages are significant parasites of unicellular marine cyanobacteria.


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Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1055

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