Biology 2 - Labs

Lab 1

Lab 2

Lab 3

Lab 4

Lab 5

Lab 6

Lab 7

Lab 8

Laboratory Exercise 1

Kingdom Treasure Hunt

Depending on who is counting, all known organisms can be placed into five or six (or more) broad categories called kingdoms. This exercise is meant to get you thinking about the differences between kingdoms in terms of form and function. For instance, plants and animals have very different ways of acquiring and using energy and nutrients, reproducing, avoiding predators, etc., and their morphology and physiology are correspondingly different.

As you walk through several habitats on our field trip, find and sketch representatives of as many kingdoms as you can (the team with the most kingdoms wins!). You may also use signs of organisms, such as prints or scat, but sketches of actual organisms are preferable.

In each notebook entry, you should attempt to answer the following:


  1. In what kingdom does this organism belong? What phylum (if possible)? What characteristics place this organism into this classification?
  2. How does this organism acquire and use energy? What are its trophic characteristics; is it a heterotroph, autotroph, chemoautotroph, etc.? Is it aerobic or anaerobic?
  3. How does this organism cope with metabolic waste?
  4. What are the cellular characteristics of this organism (i.e. membrane-bound organelles? cell wall? multi-cellularity?
  5. For multi-cellular organisms, what organ systems are in evidence?
  6. Include field notes on size, color, behavior, habitat, etc.

**Bonus question: Can you find members of two different kingdoms living in a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship?

The Kingdoms and Major Phyla

We will stick to the six-kingdom view of the world for the purposes of this exercise: Eubacteria, Archaebacteria, Protista, Animalia, Plantae, Fungi. Each group will have a handout for reference in the field, but you should think beyond the tables and diagrams in considering the characteristics of your organisms.


 Biology 2: Form and Function


Laboratory Exercise 2

Kingdom Review and the Morphology of Nutrition

In this lab we will look at various characteristic examples of each Kingdom, and in each focus specifically on nutrition. During this exercise remember to keep a concise, neat and representative notebook. Remember that to receive a grade for the lab, you must show your material to us before leaving the lab.

A quick note about drawing: Drawings should be made with a pencil (HB or harder), should be concise, and reflect what you see (not what should be there). Drawings should be proportionally correct and should include dimensions (ask an instructor how to do this if you're not sure). Finally, drawings should be labeled using a ruler, and should include a title that identifies the feature being examined, any unusual preparations necessary to view that structure (stains, etc.), and the magnification at which it is viewed.



Examine the provided slides demonstrating various species of bacteria. Identify the three different cell shapes - spirilla, coccus and bacillus. How do bacteria obtain their energy? Are there any obvious structures that aid in obtaining energy?



Examine the various slide specimens of alga, Amoeba, Euglenoids and dinoflagellates. What observable features do they all have in common? Choose one autotrophic, and one heterotrophic protist, and draw both. Label key features, and include a short paragraph on each, detailing how energy is obtained.



Examine the various examples of Zgyomycota, Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. With the aid of your textbook, identify similarities and differences between each using a table. Are Fungi autotrophic or heterotrophic? Choose one fungal species to draw, label key features, and write a paragraph on how it obtains its energy.



Review the various representatives of Plantae (Pterophyta, Bryophyta, Gymnophyta and Anthophyta). Plants synthesize complex organic molecules using light energy, CO2 and H2O. Therefore, plants obtain energy through photosynthesis. In more developed plants, the necessary molecular supplies to photosynthesis must come through the roots and through leaves. Draw labeled representative samples of a cross-sectioned angiosperm leaf, one dicot, and one monocot root.



Examine the various slides of some of the representative phyla of Animalia, including Porifera, Cnidaria, Platyhelminthes, Nematoda, Annelida and Arthropoda. These phyla encompass almost all the basic body plans seen in all animals. Animals by definition are heterotrophic. Using a table, document the transition in both body plan and foraging morphology between the various phyla. Choose one phylum and draw a labeled example, highlighting structures used for foraging and digestion.


Thought Question for the Day

Within animals, do you think there is a correlation between a consumer's brain mass to body mass ratio, and the prey it consumes? Explain your answer in a paragraph.


Laboratory Exercise 3

Rocky Intertidal Field Trip: form, function and resource partitioning

The rocky intertidal is an excellent place to study the connection between ecology and physiology. Our study site will be a collection of boulders, large and small, resting on an exposed outcrop which is covered by the sea at high tide and exposed to the air at low tide. An organism which inhabits the rocky intertidal must be adapted to cope with the special challenges offered by such an environment and to take advantage of the available resources. Just a few of the stresses intertidal organisms encounter include pounding by waves, exposure to hot or cold air, desiccation, and reduced time for breathing and/or eating. At the same time, there may be lots to eat in the intertidal because it can be very productive, receiving ample sunlight and often having greater access to nutrients which run off from land. Also for many species, the intertidal can often offer refuge from predators who can't take the rigors of intertidal life.

To overcome the obstacles and take advantage of the benefits in the rocky intertidal (or in any other environment) organisms can use either physical, behavioral, or physiological adaptations. In other words, they can adapt by changing form and/or function. But even if an organism can eat, deal with the environmental stress, and escape predators in the intertidal, that doesn't guarantee it will survive there because it may not be alone. Organisms in the intertidal compete for space, light, food, shelter, and dozens of other resources. The best hope of surviving is minimizing competition by using resources that are not being used by other species or by using them more efficiently than other species. In this way, species which are found living together in a particular habitat usually jockey for position and divide up the available resources, a process ecologists call resource partitioning. An organism's niche is the cluster of resources each organism uses and the role they play in the community of organisms.

In this activity, you will look for resource partitioning in the rocky intertidal by comparing the niches of several organisms.


1. Vertical Zonation

Beginning at the high tide line and moving down toward the waterline, use your key to identify the algae and the invertebrates you see attached to the rocks. Diagram and label your transect to show the distribution of each species.

Make a chart showing the distribution of red, green, and brown algae in your transect (red, green, brown vs. high, mid, low). What adaptations in form and function determine this distribution?

Make a similar chart for the invertebrates. Choose two (mussels, periwinkles, and barnacles might be good candidates) and decide what factor determines the upper limit of the animal's distribution and what determines the lower limit?

2. Horizontal Zonation

Now compare the flora and fauna in two sites at roughly the same elevation above the high tide line, one which is exposed to high wave energy and another which is more sheltered. Diagram and label the species in each.

Determine, roughly, the species richness of each site by counting the number of species which reside there. Explain your results in terms of form and function.

For the algae in each site, diagram the thallus (body) of the one most common species. What adaptations in thallus type allow an alga to endure high wave energy? Why would algae evolve to live in areas with high wave energy&emdash;in other words, what are the advantages of living in the high wave energy areas?

Draw and compare the size and shape of a species found in both your sites (barnacles might be a good candidate). How do they differ and why?

3. Exposure

Imagine this area of rocky intertidal exposed to the air on a hot sunny day in August. What problems would the organisms encounter in this situation?

How might an alga evolve and adapt to overcome these problems? Give an intertidal example of an alga that is well suited to summer exposure.

How might an animal evolve and adapt to overcome these problems? Give an intertidal example of an animal that is well suited to summer exposure.