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Laboratory Outline

The required laboratory asignments for this Biology course are provided for you online and can be performed anywhere from an internet linked web-browser.

Participation is mandatory. You must hand in all of your assignments on time and complete the lab quiz in order to fulfill the requirements of this course.

The following are the assignments and exercises that you may have to complete, however, you should consult with your laboratory instructor regularly for advice and updates as these assignments are subject to change if or when necessary.


Assignment: #1: What Scientists Do All Day (10 points)

Instructions:

  1. Locate the e-learning module on the Scientific Method

  2. Read the whole page very carefully and follow the links to other important information
  3. There are three experiments where you become the researcher

Your job is to try to find out if:

  • sore feet can predict the weather
    -record 10 observations in a chart form
    -state your conclusion: Can sore fee predict the weather?
  • atmospheric conditions can predict the weather
    -record 10 observations in a chart form
    -state your conclusion: Can atmospheric conditions predict the weather?
  • older bees behave differently from younger bees
    -record results for January - June (no graphs necessary, just numbers)
    -state your conclusion: Do older bees behave differently from younger bees, if so, how?
  • You must complete all three of these investigations and record your results and conclusions.

    Questions:

    1. Do you think your results would be more accurate if you increased the number of times you tested each weather condition? Why?
    2. What could be a reason for the difference in behaviour between old and young bees in Experiment 3? How could you test your hypothesis?

    Material to be handed in:

    • Results and conclusions from each experiment
    • Answers to questions 1 and 2.

    The readings and exercises are testable material.


    Assignment #2: Population Growth (10 points)

    Instructions:

    1. Locate the virtual Lab Bench

    2. Select "Population Growth" from the Bio-Lab center
    3. Complete the assigned readings and exercises for experiments #1, #2, and #3.

    The readings and exercises are testable material.

    Experiment #1

    • Read all six pages.
    • Conduct experiment #1 on page 4.
    • Complete the 0.5 exponential growth curve (graph/pg. 5).
    • Answer questions 1&2 on page 6.

    Experiment #2

    • Conduct experiment #2 on page 1.
    • Complete and add the 0.3-0.8 growth rates to the graph from Experiment #1. The complete graph should have six curves. (Five new curves plus the 0.5 growth rate curve from experiment 1). Label everything.
    • Complete and submit the table of results on page 2.
    • Do not go on to page 3.

    Experiment #3

    • Read all five pages.
    • Conduct experiments #3a and #3b.
    • No work will be submitted for experiment #3, but all information is testable.

    Questions:

    1. At growth rate 0.5, how many bacteria will there be at time period 11?
    2. Why do the numbers of bacteria increase slowly at first then more rapidly later?
    3. How do bacterial cells reproduce? If bacteria reproduce more quickly, will this make the growth curve steeper or flatter?
    4. What could be the cause of the flattening (s-shaped) curve in experiment 3? When the growth curve is completely flat, what does this mean for the rate of reproduction and cell death within the system?

    Material to be handed in:

    • One graph with 6 growth curves (remember to label everything)
    • Data used to make your graph
    • Answers to the questions
    • Tables of results (data in decimals not fractions)

    Graphing Tips:

    • Be sure to label your graph axis and curves (x and y axis are not labels).
    • The x and y axis must be in even increments, ex: 10,20,30 or 225, 325, 425, it can be any increment as long as it's constant throughout the axis. They do not have to be the same increment for x and y.

    Assignment #3: Breaking the Genetic Code (10 points)

    Instructions:

    1. Locate the virtual Lab Bench

    2. Select "Breaking the Genetic Code" from the Bio-Lab center
    3. Complete the assigned readings and exercises for questions #1and #2.

    The readings and exercises are testable material.

    Link #1:

    • Read all seven pages.
    • Complete and submit a table of 20 amino acids and their codons (p. 6). Find at least one codon for every amino acid listed.
    • Answer questions #1, #2 and #3 (p.7). For question 2, you will need to scan many amino acids and codons to find the correct answer. Find at least 3 or 4 codons that code for the same amino acid. Keep looking until you find a group with a distinct pattern.

    Link #2:

    • Read pages 1 - 6.
    • Conduct mutations 1 - 4 without going back to the original codon sequence.
    • Complete and submit the table of results (p. 5).
    • Do not do the Continuation Section.

    Material to be handed in:

    • Table of twenty amino acids and their codons
    • Answer to questions #1, #2 and #3 (p. 7 of Link #1)
    • Table of results from mutations 1 - 4

    Assignment #4: Properties of Enzymes (10 points)

    Instructions:

    1. Locate the virtual Lab Bench

    2. Select "Property of Enzymes" from the Bio-Lab center
    3. Complete the assigned readings and exercises for questions #1, #2, and #3.

    The readings and exercises are testable material.

    Link #1

    • Read pages 1-8.
    • Complete and submit the table of results and graph.
    • You will use the following range for this experiment: Substrate Concentration: 0-160 in increments of 10
    • Do not complete the refining your experiment section on pages 7&8.

    Link #2

    • Read pages 1-7.
    • Complete and submit the table of results and graph.
    • You will use the following range for this experiment:
      Temperature: 0-110 increments of 10
    • Do not complete the refining your experiment section on pages 5-7.

    Link #3

    • Read pages 1-6.
    • Complete and submit the table of results and graph.
    • You will use the following range for this experiment:
      pH: 0-14 in increments of 1
    • Do not complete the refining your experiment section on pages 5-6.

    Questions:

    1. Why do think the temperature and pH graphs are shaped the way they are, with a sudden jump in product and then a decline to nothing very quickly? What does this tell you about the working range of the enzymes being tested?
    2. Would you expect an enzyme extracted from a mammal (body temperature 37 degrees C) to work at a temperature of 5 degrees C? Why/why not?

    Graphing Tips:

    • Product Produced will always be the y-axis title (vertical axis)
    • Your x-axis (horizontal axis) will change from graph to graph and will be the variable that you manipulated (Temperature, Substrate, pH).
    • Some of your results may seem strange, but are instrumental in understanding the characteristics of enzymes. Be sure you can explain your results.
    • Be sure to label your graphs (x and y axis are not labels).
    • The x and y axis must be in even increments,
      ex: 10,20,30 or 225, 325, 425, it can be any increment as long as it's constant throughout the axis.
      They do not have to be the same for x and y.

    Material to be handed in:

    • 3 graphs
    • Answers to questions 1 and 2 above


    Assignment #5: Classification (10 points)

    Part One
    Instructions:

    1. Locate the material on Classification on the main website

    2. Read and understand this material

    The readings and exercises are testable material.

    Part Two
    Instructions:

    1. Locate the following Virtual Core web location:
    2. Choose investigation Number One from the "Topic Guide"
    3. Scroll down to Question #2 and select "Ask Mendel's Mother" located next to the word "HELP". Read this section before attempting to complete the experiment.
    4. After you have finished with the help section, select "First Experiment" and begin.
    5. Combine all 4 folios and use all 40 animals in your assignment (see below).
    6. Your classification tree should follow a similar format as below (at least 4 levels) and can be more extensive. You must have two or more branches off of each box. Lists of animals and their characteristics will not be accepted, you must have a diagram, similar to the one below, of your classification tree. Remember clarity and simplicity are important - we should be able to follow your scheme easily.

    Questions:

    1. What does "mutually exclusive" mean? Explain using an example of an appropriate mutually exclusive pair of traits. Why is it important to use mutually exclusive groups when classifying organisms?
    2. Do you think it would be easier to classify plants or animals? Why? (Hint - think about the different groups you used for the animals - would it be easier or harder to find appropriate groups for plants?)

    Material to be handed in:

    • Classification tree
    • Answers to Questions 1 and 2

    Assignment #6: Ecological Niche (10 points)

    Instructions:

    1. Locate the virtual Lab Bench

    2. Select "Ecological Niche" from the Properties of Microbes
    3. Read the web page.
      The readings and exercises are testable material.
    4. Click on and then print the Table of Results found in the middle of the page. You will have 1 temperature and 1 pH table for each organism.
    5. Utilize the links on the bottom of the page to conduct experiments to determine the optimum temperature and pH for the four microbes below that match the last 4 numbers of your social security number. If you have duplicate numbers or 9 in your SSN pick a microbe randomly.

      1. Scribio euglensis
      2. Falitius rebrantus
      3. Rambies uglitus
      4. Pseudomonas retii
      5. Escherichia coli
      6. Sulfolobus litia
      7. Leuconostoc botolus
      8. Neisseria atol

      Hint: Use the link begin growing cells to determine optimum condition.
    6. Record the results in your Table of Results.
    7. Construct a graph demonstrating the fundamental niche (the temperature and pH range in which the cells can grow) as well as the optimum niche of each microbe with respect to temperature and pH. The fundamental niche will be shown as a box on your graph - the height of box covers the whole pH range of the microbe's growth, and the width covers the whole temperature range. Your complete graph will have four boxes, one for each microbe. Optimum niche will be a point on the graph. Hint: the highest log value equals the optimum pH or temperature.
    8. Questions:
      1. Is there a niche overlap? What does that mean?
      2. Which organisms overlap and which do not?
      3. What would happen if all of your microbes were put into a test tube at 10 degrees at a pH of 7? Would there be competition, if so, which ones would survive?

    Material to be handed in:

    • Tables of Results (4 temperature tables, 4 pH tables & 1 table with optimum pH and temperature)
    • Graph of results with the fundamental and optimum niche
    • Answers to questions 1, 2 and 3

    Assignment #7: Genetic Crosses (10 points)

    Background:

    In sexually reproducing organisms, female gametes are called eggs and male gametes are called sperm. The male and female each contribute half of the genetic material needed to produce offspring. In this assignment some of the genotypes are signified by letters like R, r, T and t. Phenotype is what the organism looks like based on their genotype, ex: R-red, T-tall, r-pink, or t-short. The dominant genes are signified by capital letters while the recessive genes are signified by lower case letters. In order for a recessive gene to be expressed in the phenotype it must occur in duplicate (rr=pink). In contrast, dominant genes and phenotypes only have to occur once in the genes in order to be expressed (RR and Rr both = red).

    Instructions:

    1. Locate the material on Mendelian Genetics and read all the information very carefully and thoroughly.

    2. Locate the virtual Lab Bench

    3. Select "Punnett Squares" from the Bio-Lab center (part of Mendelian Genetics)
    4. Follow the instructions for performing the 4 required genetic crosses, using the Punnett Square and reporting the number and phenotypes each cross produces in the offspring.
      Read the lecture material that covers biological information before attempting to do this assignment.
    5. Print out four Result Sheets from the assignment web page or reproduce them on your own paper. You will see that there is a place on the left for the male gametes and a place on the right for the female gametes. The boxes in the middle signify the possible combinations of offspring that the male and female can produce.
    6. Approach this assignment as a three step process - In order to begin the Punnett Square crosses you must first determine the different gamete combinations that each parent can contribute to the offspring. For example, if the female has rrTt she can contribute either rT or rt since you are taking only half of the material for each egg. In this case where there are only two different combinations you must repeat both on the Punnett Square, as there are always four possible gamete combinations, even if some look the same (so the four possibilities here are rT, rt, another rT and another rt. If the male has RrTt then he can contribute RT, Rt, rt and rT. Place these combinations on the outside of the Punnett Square box, under the heading 'male gametes' and 'female gametes'
      For the second step, fill in the 16 boxes inside the square, using the gametes you wrote above each corresponding row and column. You should end up with four letters in each box, two from the male and two from the female. For the final step, examine each of the four-letter combinations in each box, and identify the phenotype of each offspring plant produced. Once this is done count the number of each phenotype that you found in your offspring (you should have a total of 16) and write those numbers below the corresponding box.

    Questions:

    1. What is the difference between a haploid and a diploid cell? Are gametes haploid or diploid? What about the offspring produced? Are they haploid or diploid?
    2. Do you think itŐs possible for two plants with dominant phenotypes to produce offspring with recessive phenotypes? Eg. Can two Red and Tall parents produce offspring that are Pink and Short? What about two Pink and Short parents? Could they produce offspring that were Red and Tall? Explain why you think these outcomes are possible or not.

    Material to be handed in:

    • Punnett Squares and phenotype charts
    • Answers to Questions 1 and 2


    In addition to using the computer to generate data and to analyze your results, you must report your results properly to your instructor for grading. Depending on the nature of the assignment this reporting may take different forms;

    • Students may be asked to prepare reports describing and explaining the results they have seen during these laboratory exercises.
    • Students may be asked to draw graphs showing the relationship between different kinds of data.
    • Students may be asked to make tables of data, or present results using pictures or other diagramatic forms.
    • These reports, graphs, results, and data will be graded and count towards the final laboratory grade.

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Science at a Distance
© 2005, Professor John Blamire