ESO 4. Biology and Geology

1. Cellular Functions
  • The biological meaning of the cellular nutrition, reproduction and interaction.
  • Cellular nutrition (I): membrane transport of substances.
  • Cellular nutrition (II): enzymes.
  • Cellular nutrition (III): the metabolism; anabolism and catabolism in autotrophic and heterotrophic beings.
  • Cellular reproduction (I): the cell nucleus: DNA, chromatin, chromosomes; haploid and diploid cells.
  • Cellular reproduction (II): the cell cycle.
  • Cellular reproduction (III): cancer.
  • Cellular reproduction (IV): the stages of mitosis; its meaning and role in eukaryotic cells.
  • Cellular reproduction (V): meiosis: main events; its meaning and role in eukaryotes' gametogenesis.
  • Cellular interaction: biological meaning and examples in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
2. Heredity and Transmission
  • Mendelian inheritance. Dominance, codominance and incomplete dominance.
  • The Chromosomal Theory of Inheritance. Chromosomes, loci and alleles.
  • The inheritance of sex. Heredity linked to sex; some common diseases.
  • Polygenic and polyallelic inheritance.
  • Mutations. Causes, types and results.
  • The Human Genome Project: benefits and concerns.
  • Genetic testing: basic techniques, benefits and concerns.
  • Genetic manipulation. Basic techniques. Most significant current applications (GM food, gene therapy): benefits and concerns.
  • Cloning. Nuclear transfer. Benefits and concerns.
  • Stem cells: basic techniques, benefits and concerns.
3. The Evolution of Living Matter
  • Ideas on the origin and transmutation of species across time. The advent of the evolutionary thought (common descent and transmutation of species).
  • Signs of evolution: adaptive radiation, adaptive convergence, fossil series, geographical distribution of fossils, biochemical similarities.
  • Lamarck's mechanism of evolutionary change.
  • Darwin and Wallace's mechanism of evolutionary change: evolution by natural selection driven by the environment.
  • Genetics and evolution: mutation, recombination, natural selection of alleles and genetic drift.
  • Evolution by natural selection in action: some examples.
  • Main outcomes of the evolution by natural selection: adaptation, extinction, coevolution and speciation.
4. Natural History of the Earth
  • Fossils: types, occurrence, significance.
  • Historical ideas on the age of the Earth. Principles and procedures that enable to reconstruct the History of the Earth. Relative and absolute dating techniques.
  • The geologic time. Main geochronologic units.
  • Main geological and biological events along the history of the Earth.
  • The evolution of the human lineage.
5. Plant Physiology
  • Plant nutrition: absorption and transport of nutrients, transpiration, photosynthesis, respiration.
  • Plant reproduction: the flower, pollination, fertilization, seed dispersal, germination.
  • Plant interaction: plant hormones and growth.
6. Dynamics of Ecosystems
  • Ecosystems: concept, components. The Ecosphere.
  • Ecological factors; conditions and resources. Limiting factors. Tolerance curves. Ecological niche. Habitat.
  • Ecological factors in land ecosystems.
  • Ecological factors in aquatic ecosystems.
  • Ecological succession.
  • Biotic interactions: intraspecific and interspecific interactions.
  • Population growth. Positive and negative feedback in the interspecific interactions. Plagues and their control.
  • Feeding interactions: flow of energy and matter in the ecosystems; producers, consumers and decomposers; food chains and food webs; trophic pyramids.
  • Biogeochemical cycles.
  • Atmospheric pollution: the greenhouse effect and the global warming; the slimming of the ozone layer; acid precipitations.
  • Water consumption: water treatment and sewage treatment.
  • Water pollution: fertilisers, industrial pollutants, thermal pollution.
  • Other major human influences in the ecosystems.
7. The Earth's Internal Energy
  • The internal heat of the Earth as the cause behind the internal geomorphological changes.
  • Basic internal geomorphological processes: volcanism and seismicity: elements and main features.
  • The Continental Drift theory.
  • The tectonic plates: concept, movement, types and main plates.
  • Divergent tectonic boundaries: causes, occurrence, examples and geological features.
  • Convergent tectonic boundaries: types, causes, occurrence, examples and geological features.
  • Transform tectonic boundaries: causes, occurrence, examples and geological features.
  • Igneous rocks.
  • Metamorphic rocks.
  • Geological risks related to the internal activity of the Earth: risk areas; preventing and measuring earthquakes.
8. The Earth's External Energy
  • The external geomorphological changes vs. the internal geomorphological changes: paces and examples.
  • The Sun and the gravity as the causes behind the external geomorphological agents. The water cycle as an example.
  • The external geomorphological processes: weathering, erosion, transport and sedimentation.
  • Chemical weathering.
  • Geomorphological action of the changes of temperature. Freeze-thaw weathering.
  • Geomorphological action of the wind. Occurrence, aeolian landscapes.
  • Geomorphological action of the superficial continental waters. Types of superficial continental bodies. The geomorphological processes in the sections of a river. Glacial vs. fluvial landscapes.
  • Geomorphological action of the subterranean continental waters. Karstic landscapes.
  • Geomorphological action of the sea. Seawater movements. Landscapes carved by the sea movements.
  • The formation of soils.
  • The formation of sedimentary rocks. Strata.
  • Fossilisation.

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