Ch 1 4 characteristics of life
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Ch.1.4: CHARACTERISTICS OF LIFE PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Ch.1.4: CHARACTERISTICS OF LIFE. In order to be considered LIVING an organism must meet all 8 of the following criteria: 1. Made of cells , at least one 2. Take in and use energy , do work, produce waste 3. Respond to their environment 4. Grow, develop and die 5. Be highly organized

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Ch 1 4 characteristics of life


In order to be considered LIVING an organism must meet

all 8 of the following criteria:

  • 1. Made of cells, at least one

  • 2. Take in and use energy, do work, produce waste

  • 3. Respond to their environment

  • 4. Grow, develop and die

  • 5. Be highly organized

  • 6. Maintain homeostasis

  • 7. Heredity; contain DNA

    • Be able to reproduce; at least cells, and eventually organisms using the directions in the DNA

    • DNA is able to change and these changes allow populations to evolve

Made of cells

Made of cells

  • Cell Theory says that

    • Cells are the basic structural and functional units of life

    • All organisms have at least one cell

    • Cells only come from pre-existing cells

  • Cells must have at least

    • 1. cell membrane (defining boundary; keep things inside)

    • 2. cytoplasm (material inside cell)

    • 3. genetic material (DNA in the form of a chromosome)

    • 4. free ribosomes ( to make proteins for the cell)

  • Viruses are “less than” a cell

  • Multicellular organisms vs. unicellular organisms

  • Prokaryotic cells vs. Eukaryotic cells

  • Plant cells vs. Animal cells vs. Bacteria cells

Cell types


Pro/pre/ before

‘karyo’ = center or kernel

CM, cytoplasm, DNA and free ribosomes


Must be single cell

No nucleus ;

1 chromosome

No nuclear membrane around chromosome

No organelles that are made of membranes; no internal membrane structures or compartments; including no nucleus/nuclear membrane

May have cell wall


‘eu’ = true

‘karyo’ = center or kernel

CM, cytoplasm, DNA and free ribosomes

Plants, Animals, Fungi and Protista

Can be found in single celled organisms (mildew and algae) can be found in multicellular organisms (people = 30 trillion)

Nucleus made of nuclear membrane to keep in the many chromosomes

Lots of membrane bound organelles that make compartments like endoplasmic reticulum and vacuoles and mitochondria

Some have a cell wall

Cell Types

Take in energy

Take in energy

  • Maintaining life requires constant energy

  • Photosynthesis provides energy for food web (solar energy becomes chemical energy when trapped and stored as sugar)

  • Autotrophic plants make their own “food”

  • Heterotrophic organisms must eat

  • Waste is given off – CO2, NH4 and heat , sweat, urine/feces, even oxygen (plants)

  • Energy is used to do WORK



  • Respond means react

  • Immediate and short term compared to adaptations

  • Senses

  • Stimuli – something that an organism respond to

  • Examples: groan when alarm clock rings, stomach growls when hungry, dog growls when upset, hibernate when cold, grow toward the sunlight, shiver when cold, laugh, sweat during a test, make adrenaline when afraid…..

Grow develop and die

Grow, Develop and Die

  • Growth indicates an increase in size, bigger organisms and/or bigger cells – could be more cells

  • Development refers to changes in structure and function.

    • Baby -> toddler -> teen -> adult -> elderly.

    • Also changes such as metamorphosis

  • Senescence means to age.

  • Living = mortal, won’t live forever. Even things with long life spans (redwood tree 800 -2000 years, still eventually die)

Highly organized

Highly Organized

  • Adult human has +30 trillion cells

  • They aren’t just in a pile, and you wouldn’t work well as one big 120 pound cell!

  • Cells are highly organized internally by cell membrane, organelles, DNA , etc.

  • Organisms are also highly organized with cells  tissues  organs  organ systems and then organisms

  • Unicellular organisms are also highly organized.



  • Process of maintaining a steady internal state while the external environment changes

    • Homeo = same

    • Stasis = steady; together = the same, steady state

  • Body temp, blood glucose level, hydration, etc.

  • Requires a constant input of energy.

  • 1000 Cal a day to stay alive of the 2000-2500 need by an adult human.

Heredity heritable information reproduction

Heredity (Heritable Information )Reproduction

  • Cells wear out and need to be replaced

  • Skin cells reproduce, asexually, to make more skin cells

  • Asexual means one source of DNA (one parent); one skin cell divides and there are 2 new skin cells

  • Organisms will grow develop and die – have to make next generation or their species will be extinct

  • Reproduce more individuals by asexual reproduction or make reproductive cells (egg/ sperm/pollen/spores) to be used in sexual reproduction (potential new organisms… not every acorn will be a tree)

Heredity heritable information evolve sometimes called adapt

Heredity (Heritable Information)Evolve (sometimes called Adapt)

  • The gene pool of a population changes over long periods of time. (7-10 generations)

    • This is genetic, not nervous, endocrine, etc.

    • This is much slower and longer lasting than ‘responses’

    • Impacts populations (genes available) NOT individuals

  • Incorporated into the structure of DNA is its amazing ability to be replicated accurately AND the ability to change and to pass on the new version to the next generation.

  • Process driven by Natural Selection

    • (if you have genes for more successful traits – at that time, in that setting, then you will have offspring that will be successful at leaving offspring. If environment changes then “successful” traits will also change)

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