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Answers to end of chapter revision questions
Please note that the following answers are sample answers only.
There may be many alternative answers to the same question that
are also correct. These are examples of correct answers.

Temperature regulation
1 Describe
Desc ibe the importance of homeostasis in living organisms
Answer: Living organisms are made of cells, which must function efficiently to
maintain life. Cells are extremely sensitive to changes in their environment. They
function properly only within relatively narrow ranges of pH and temperature,
they require particular concentrations of nutrients such as glucose and oxygen
and they can tolerate very little build-up in levels of waste products. If a change
in the external environment occurs, this must not affect the balance in the
internal environment of the organism and so a mechanism is needed to ensure
homeostasisthat the internal environment is maintained, despite fluctuations in
the external environment. The mechanism that allows this to occur is a negative
feedback mechanism, co-ordinated by the nervous system.


2. Describe the role of receptors in homeostasis.

Answer: Receptors play an essential role in homeostasis by receiving information
from the environment and passing it on to the central nervous system (the brain or
spinal cord) in order to trigger an appropriate response. The response is often one
which counteracts the change in stimulus and thereby maintains a stable internal
environment by means of a negative feedback mechanism.
3. Explain,
Explain using an example, what is meant by a negative feedback mechanism and
its importance in living systems.
Answer: To minimise changes in the cellular environment, homeostasis is maintained
by a negative feedback mechanismwhere a change in the environment is
counteracted by a response that returns the body to the state of homeostasis. It
is termed negative because it reverses the disturbance to the bodys condition.
For example, if there is an increase in a variable (such as temperature) beyond
its accepted narrow range for humans, the persons internal environment begins
to overheat. This change is detected by thermoreceptors in the hypothalamus and
a message is sent via the nervous system to effector organs, which then produce a
response to counteract the changeit decreases the variable (temperature change).
Similarly, a decrease in environmental temperature is counteracted by a response
that brings about heating, to stabilise the system within the normal temperature
A negative feedback mechanism is therefore essential for homeostasis, allowing
the body to constantly monitor itself and to correct any deviation from the stable

Copyright 2008 McGraw-Hill Australia. Permission is granted to reproduce for classroom use.


4. Explain the relationship between metabolic rate and temperature regulation in

birds and mammals.
Answer: It is well known that birds and mammals regulate their body temperatures
by increasing or decreasing their metabolic rate (and therefore their rate of heat
production), despite fluctuations in ambient temperature. At high temperatures,
metabolic heat production is reduced and evaporative cooling such as sweating or
panting is initiated. As the environment gets colder, they increase their metabolic
rate and as a result metabolic heat production is increased. This may involve
shivering, but some mammals have brown adipose tissue, which burns up energy
rapidly to release heat.
5. Describe the advantage to ectotherms of allowing their body temperature to
fluctuate with the ambient temperature, especially at low temperatures.
Answer: The main advantage is that the animal will not need to use valuable
energy to try to maintain a higher body temperature (thermoregulation uses a
large amount of energy, particularly when the internal body temperature needs to
be much higher than the ambient temperature). In addition, metabolic rate slows
down at low temperatures and so the animal will use up less energy and therefore
requires less food. Since food is often scarce in winter, this is of further advantage.
6. Draw a graph to illustrate the differences in body temperatures recorded in
an ectothermic reptile and an endothermic mammal who are subjected to
environmental temperatures that increase steadily (in 10C increments) over a
period of time from 10C to 40C. What is the optimum temperature range for
an endotherm?

Body temperature (C)











Environmental temperature (C)

Copyright 2008 McGraw-Hill Australia. Permission is granted to reproduce for classroom use.


7. Identify whether each of the following is a structural, behavioural or physiological

response or adaptation to assist in heat gain or heat loss and explain how it assists
temperature regulation in living organisms. Give an example of an animal that
exhibits each. (Answer in the form of a table.)

Type of response
or adaptation

of animal
in which it

(a) Animal curls in a

ball, limbs drawn in

(heat gain)

pygmy possum

Reduces the surface of the body

exposed to cold and so reduces
the rate of heat loss by radiation

(b) Large, thin ears

(heat loss)


Large surface area to radiate heat

into the surrounding air

(c) Burrowing

(heat loss or gain)

Brown snake;
fairy penguin

Avoids extremes in temperature by

reducing exposure of body to heat
or cold

(d) Basking in the sun

(heat gain)


Warms the body by exposing its

surface to heat

(e) Shivering

(heat gain)


Movement of muscles increases

heat production by the body

(f) Panting

(heat loss)


Evaporation of saliva from the

tongue removes heat from the
blood to cool the body (evaporative

(g) Red face

(heat loss)


Peripheral blood vessels dilate to

increase blood supply (carrying
heat) to the body surface so that
heat can radiate out

(h) Lips and nose

appear blue

(heat gain)


Vasoconstriction of peripheral
vessels to reduce blood supply to
the extremities and retain heat in
the core of the body

(i) Thick fur

(heat gain)

Polar bear

To insulate the body and retain

heat (prevent heat loss from body
surface by radiation, convection or


Transport: dissolved nutrients and gases

1. Compare the role of haemoglobin in transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide in
the blood.
Answer: Haemoglobin readily binds with oxygen when the blood oxygen
concentration is low (for example, in capillaries carrying blood from the heart
to the lungs) and it combines easily with carbon dioxide when its levels in the
blood are lower than the carbon dioxide concentration of the surrounding tissue
(for example, in actively respiring cells). The oxygen molecule combines with
the iron part of the Hb molecule, whereas the carbon dioxide combines with


Copyright 2008 McGraw-Hill Australia. Permission is granted to reproduce for classroom use.


an amino group on the protein (globin) part of the Hb. The presence of oxygen
increases the affinity of Hb to pick up more oxygen atoms. Once one oxygen
atom has combined with haemoglobin, it has an increased affinity for oxygen. This
continues with each subsequent atom that combines, giving it a greater affinity
for oxygen. Carbon dioxide lowers the affinity of Hb with oxygen, causing it to
release oxygen.
2. Explain the adaptive advantage of haemoglobin in terms of its being pH sensitive.
Answer: When the pH drops, haemoglobin changes shape and tends to lose its
affinity for oxygen. This has an adaptive advantage because, in the body, blood
with lower pH contains carbon dioxide and this is exactly where oxygen is most
needed. Carbon dioxide combines with water to form carbonic acid, which powers
the pH. This changes the shape of the Hb and so it drops off oxygen at sites in
the body which have a high carbon dioxide (and low oxygen) concentration. If
haemoglobin retained a strong affinity for oxygen at all times, it would readily
pick up oxygen, but would not release it. This adaptation in haemoglobin shape is
therefore essential for the release of oxygen at sites that are oxygen depleted.
3. In a table, identify the forms in which carbon dioxide is transported in the blood
and the proportion of each form.
Form in which carbon dioxide is transported in blood


Dissolved in the plasma


In red blood cells as carbaminohaemoglobin


In plasma as hydrogen carbonate ions


4. Distinguish between the terms oxygenated and deoxygenated blood and identify
in which blood vessels in the body one would expect to find the most highly
oxygenated blood and why.
Answer: Oxygenated blood carries oxygen and is bright red in colour due to the
presence of oxyhaemoglobin, whereas deoxygenated blood carries carbon dioxide
and is a dark red in colour.
5. Compare arteries, capillaries and veins in terms of the structure of their walls, the
size of the lumen and the direction of blood flow.




All have an inner endothelial layer lining their lumens.

Structure of walls

Three layers, with thick middle

layer with large amount of
smooth muscle and elastic fibres

One layer of endothelial cells only;

no elastic or smooth muscle

Three layers, with thinner middle

layer with less smooth muscle
than arteries and very few elastic

Size of lumen

Relatively smaller than that of

a vein, but larger than that of a

Small lumenthe size of the

diameter of a red blood cell

Large lumen

Direction of blood

From heart to tissues of the body

Within tissues, from arterioles to


From tissues back to the heart

Copyright 2008 McGraw-Hill Australia. Permission is granted to reproduce for classroom use.


6. Explain,
Explain in terms of their functions, why:
(a) the walls of arteries need to be thicker than those of veins
(b) the walls of capillaries are so thin
(c) veins have valves.
(a) The thicker walls of arteries are necessary to withstand the higher pressure of
blood arriving from the heart as a result of its pumping action. More smooth
muscle strengthens the wall to withstand the pressure, and more elastic fibres
enable the wall to expand with the arrival of blood and then to propel the
blood forwards as the wall recoils.
The walls of veins must have less smooth muscle and fewer elastic fibres so
that the thinner wall can be easily compressed by the surrounding muscles to
assist with the return of blood to the heart, since blood seeps into veins from
capillaries and there is no pumping force to drive the blood towards the heart.
This lack of a pumping action also means that the veins receive blood under
less pressure and therefore they do not need thick layers of strengthening
(muscle) tissue or elastic tissue for recoil.
(b) Thin walls in capillaries are essential for efficient exchange of nutrients and
wastes (largely by diffusion) between blood and body cells. Thinner walls of
cells mean there is an increased surface area over which exchange of gases
(and exchange of other substances such as nutrients into cells and wastes out
of cells) can occur.
(c) Valves are essential to prevent the backflow of blood in veins, since veins do
not receive blood that is pumped to propel it forwards. Blood seeps into veins
from capillaries, and valves are essential for the continued movement of blood
in one direction only (towards the heart), especially in the arms and legs
where venous blood must flow against the force of gravity.
7. Outline the advantages of the use of blood products as opposed to whole blood.
Answer: The use of various products rather than whole blood promotes more
effective treatment because patients can receive only the blood components that
they require. It also increases (up to three times) the number of patients who can
benefit from each unit of whole blood donated.
8. Identify the main substances that need to be transported in plants and state the
importance of these substances in the plant.
Answer: The main substances that must be transported in plants are:
water and inorganic mineral ions, absorbed by the roots and required for
metabolism and photosynthesis
food (organic nutrients, especially sugars) that are produced as a result of
photosynthesis and need to be transported to other parts of the plant.

Copyright 2008 McGraw-Hill Australia. Permission is granted to reproduce for classroom use.


9. With the aid of a labelled diagram, illustrate the forces involved in lifting water
and dissolved mineral ions up the xylem.
1 Transpiration: as the sun warms the leaves, stomata
open and water evaporates through the openings
2 Suction force: increased evaporation at the leaf
surface creates a pull at the upper end of the water
3 Cohesionadhesision and capillarity: the pulling
force is extended to the water column and
creates a force that pulls water upwardsthe
transpiration stream (depends on properties of water)

4 this creates a force that pulls water into the roots by


dicot leaf



transverse section
young root

transverse section
dicot stem

10. In a table, compare the translocation of materials in xylem with translocation in




Dissolved inorganic minerals

Organic nutrients (such as sugars)

Main direction of

Upwards, from roots to leaves

Both upwards (e.g. from leaves to

flowers and buds near the top of
the plant) and downwards (e.g. from
leaves towards the roots)

Mechanism of
transport (current

Transpiration streamdependent
on evaporative suction pull of
transpiration, as well as adhesion,
cohesion and capillarity

Pressure flowdependent on a
difference in the osmotic pressure
gradient between the source (leaves,
where sugars are loaded) and sink
(tissues where sugars are offloaded)


The translocation in both types of tissue relies on a pressure-flow mechanism

which moves liquid contents from their source in the plant to where they are

Copyright 2008 McGraw-Hill Australia. Permission is granted to reproduce for classroom use.


Excretion: wastes, water and salt balance

1. In the form of a table, summarise the features in plants that minimise water loss
under the following
g headings
Mechanisms that minimise
water loss

Features evident in plants


Explanation of how this

conserves water

Include the following mechanisms (in the first column):

features to reduce the internal temperature of plants
adaptations to reduce exposure of the leaves (or stomata) to the sun:
reduced exposure of stomata
reduced surface area of leaves or leaf-like structures
adaptations to reduce the difference in water concentration between the
plant and the outside air
features related to water storage:
storing water
reducing water loss in fruits.
Mechanisms that minimise
water loss

Features evident in plants

Explanation of how this conserves water

Features to reduce the internal

temperature of plants

Shiny, reflective waxy leaves

Thick, insulating cuticle

Temperature is kept lower in the plant, requiring

less water to be lost by evaporative cooling.

Adaptations to reduce the

exposure of the leaves (stomata)
to the sun
reduced exposure of stomata

Leaf orientation in eucalypts

Stomata remain closed and so less transpiration

Fewer stomata, ensuring less water loss. (This is
usually accompanied by some other modification
to compensate for the lack of photosynthetic
surface area, such as cladodes and phyllodes.)

reduced surface area of

leaves or leaf-like structures
(and the organs that have
the highest proportion of

Leaves reduced to leaflets

Leaves reduced to scales (phyllodes and
Rolled leaves
Complete loss of leaves/flowers

Adaptations to reduce
the difference in water
concentration between the plant
and the outside air

Sunken stomata
Hairs on leaves
Rolled leaves

Features related to water

storing water
reducing water loss in fruits

Succulent plant organs (for example leaves

or stems)
Woody fruits

A decreased concentration gradient results in

less water leaving the plant tissues by osmosis
and less water diffusing out of the stomata of
leaves. This is achieved by producing a microclimate immediately around the leaf, where
moist water can be trapped and a barrier is
created to prevent its evaporation or removal by
currents of dry air.
In areas of inconsistent rainfall water can be
stored during wet periods, for use during times
of drought.
Less water is lost from the plant when fruits
are dispersed if the fruit is woody and stores no
water (compared with flesh fruits).

Copyright 2008 McGraw-Hill Australia. Permission is granted to reproduce for classroom use.


2. Explain why it is essential to remove carbon dioxide and the nitrogenous waste
ammonia from cells.
Answer: These are wastes that become toxic if they accumulate in cells. Carbon
dioxide combines with water to lower pH, and ammonia raises pH. This reduces
the metabolic efficiency of cells since all chemical reactions in cells are controlled
by enzymes and enzymes are pH-specific, only functioning efficiently at optimal
pH. They do not function at all outside a narrow range of pH.
3. Identify three reasons why it is essential to maintain the water concentration in
living organisms.
Water provides the medium for biochemical reactions in cells.
Water is essential for the removal of wastes.
A change in water concentration would affect the osmotic balance of the cell
and this could affect pH and enzyme activity.
4. Explain why energy is required for the reabsorption of glucose and amino acids
in nephrons.
Answer: Glucose and amino acids are required by the body and should not be lost
in urine. Therefore they are reabsorbed from the nephron into the surrounding
kidney tissue and back into the blood capillaries, despite the fact that they may be
in lower concentration in the nephron than they are in the blood. Active transport
is the type of movement required to move substances against a concentration
gradient, and this type of transport utilises energy.
5. Copy a version of Figure 3.17 and complete the figure, showing the movement
of water, salts, urea, drugs and hydrogen ions. Provide a key and indicate which
movement is by means of active transport and which by means of passive
transport (distinguish between osmosis and diffusion).




distal arm

(loop of Henle)


Figure 3.17

Copyright 2008 McGraw-Hill Australia. Permission is granted to reproduce for classroom use.



1 proximal tubule
NaCI nutrients




4 distal tubule
H 2O

K+ H+

2 descending
limb of loop
of Henle
H2O (water)
salts (NaCI, etc)

HCO3 (bicarbonate ions)

H+ (hydrogen ions)
glucose; amino acids
some drugs

3 thick segment
of ascending

3 thin segment
of ascending

5 collecting


active transport
passive transport

6. Analyse the information in Figure 3.18 and then use evidence from the diagram
to explain the relationship between the type of nitrogenous waste produced and
the type of environment in which the organism lives.

semi-solid uric acid
Figure 3.18

Answer: The diagram indicates that a tortoise produces the excretory waste uric
acid in a semi-solid form. The diagram of a nephron provides evidence that the
uric acid is a waste that is excreted. Since uric acid is less toxic than other forms of
nitrogenous wastes, it requires very little water to be flushed out of the body. This
is typical of organisms that inhabit an environment where water is a limiting factor
and there is a need to conserve water within the body. Therefore we can deduce
that the tortoise lives in a dry area (an environment where water is limited).

Copyright 2008 McGraw-Hill Australia. Permission is granted to reproduce for classroom use.


7. In renal dialysis, blood is taken from a vein and run past a dialysate fluid,
separated by a selectively permeable membrane. Describe what would happen if
the concentration of glucose in the dialysate was lower than the concentration
of the patients blood.
Answer: Glucose would diffuse out of the patients blood into the dialysate since
molecules move passively from a high to a low concentration. This would lead to
a shortage of glucose in the patient.
8. Compare the chemical composition of blood arriving at the glomerulus with the
composition of glomerular filtrate.
Blood arriving at the glomerulus

Glomerular filtrate

Both contain a large amount of water and dissolved substances.

Plasma proteins, red blood cells and white blood
cells are present in the blood.

Plasma proteins and blood cells are too large to

filter through and so they are absent from the
filtrate in a kidney that is functioning normally.

End products of digestion are present in the

blood, including amino acids.

Glucose and amino acids are present in the

filtrate as they are small enough to move out of
the capillary and into the Bowmans capsule by

9. Identify the hormone absent from people who suffer from Addisons disease and
the main
this h
hormone iin kid
kidney ffunctioning.
l i th
i role
l off thi
ti i
Answer: These people lack the hormone, aldosterone. Its main function is to
increase the permeability of the membranes of the ascending limb of the loop of
Henle to salts. This results in an increase in salt reabsorption in the nephron and
so salt is conserved in the body, blood volume increases and blood pressure is
10. Name one Australian insect and one Australian plant that are adapted to
minimise water loss and describe this adaptation in each.
Answer: The blowfly is an Australian insect that excretes uric acid, which requires
very little water to flush it out, and the blowfly is able to reabsorb a large amount
of water from its digestive tract, via rectal pads, into the kidney tubules, which lie
in close proximity to the rectal pads.
The she-oak is an Australian plant that reduces water loss by having a
decreased surface area of leaves and therefore fewer stomata exposed to the air.
The leaves of the she-oak are reduced to scales at the nodes of the stems and the
stem has taken over the photosynthetic function of leaves (which appear as thin,
needle-like branches). Stems have fewer stomata than leaves and therefore lose
less water by transpiration.

Copyright 2008 McGraw-Hill Australia. Permission is granted to reproduce for classroom use.