21 Introduction

Module 11 – Diversity of Life I

Module Introduction


In Module 3, we defined cells as the basic unit of life and then went on to categorize all cells into one of two groups: eukaryotes or prokaryotes. You learned that all cells have an outer membrane called the plasma membrane and all cells have genetic material, DNA. While there are differences in the amount of genetic material, how the genetic material is organized, where it is found in the cell, and what it encodes, all cells have this material and in all cases the “code” in the genetic material is encrypted in a series of nucleotides. While the basic units for the “code” are the same, there is obviously so much diversity when you compare bacteria to animals and other organisms. What allows for that diversity?

In the these next two modules, we begin to explore the diversity of life and the three domains of life: Archea, Bacteria, and Eukarya. In this module, we will scan the following groups of organisms:

  • bacteria
  • archea
  • protists
  • fungi

We will even take a look at viruses, which are not classified as living things .

Learning Outcomes

This module addresses the following Course Learning Outcomes listed in the Syllabus for this course:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of biological principles.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of scientific method.
  • Communicate scientific ideas through oral or written assignments.
  • Interpret scientific models such as formulas, graphs and tables.
  • Demonstrate problem solving methods in situations that are encountered outside of the classroom .

Module Objectives

Upon completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Define the three domains of life: Archea, Bacteria, and Eukarya.
  • Describe several ways microbes are essential to life.
  • Describe how viruses “hijack” living cells and state the purpose of this “hijacking.”
  • Define several types of beneficial bacteria.
  • Describe several types of bacteria that have ill effects on humans.
  • Answer the questions:
    • What traits would an organism have in order to be classified as a protist?
    • What protists are able to undergo photosynthesis?
  • Define autotroph and heterotroph.
  • Define pathogen extremophile mutualism , and binary fission.
  • Describe several roles for fungi in society and nature.
  • Define lichen hyphae sessile spore yeast mutualism .
  • Answer the questions:
    • How do fungi obtain nutrients?
    • How is this similar/ dissimilar to the way humans obtain nutrients? 1


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