The Level 2 Biology Course
- Investigate and identify interrelationships and possible patterns within populations and communities, using New Zealand examples.
- Investigate diversity in animals and plants by comparing aspects of their structure and function above the cellular level of organization.
- Investigate the structure and functions of cells, including cell organelles, to identify their similarities and differences.
- Examine scientific evidence for evolution, and explain how genetic variation and natural selection can lead to genetic changes within populations.
- Process information to enable informed debate on the impact of human activities within ecosystems.
- Investigate examples of processes or techniques used in applied biology that meet human needs or demands.
- Focus and plan by formulating hypotheses and designing experiments.
- Gather information by recording qualitative and quantitative observations and locating relevant background information.
- Process and interpret information using appropriate statistical and graphing procedures, identify trends, relationships and patterns, and draw conclusions and evaluate the reliability and validity of the results.
- Report in a well-reasoned, concise and appropriate manner with conclusions that are justified and supported by relevant data.
Section A: Ecology: A study of ecological patterns and processes, illustrated as far as possible by investigating aspects of one or more local communities. This includes the identification of major groups of plants and animals with emphasis on New Zealand examples, whether indigenous or introduced. The importance of managing resources to ensure their sustainability, e.g. fisheries, agriculture, forestry. A knowledge and understanding should be gained of:
- Autecology: Organisms and their habitat plus adaptive features (structure, physiology, behavior, and life history).
- Synecology: Population characteristics (size, distribution, density, growth). Intraspecific relationships (competition for living space, food and nutrients, reproductive needs). Community patterns (zonation, stratification, succession). Interspecific relationships (competition, predation, parasitism, mutualism).
- Ecosystems: Trophic structure (food chains, food webs and energy flow). Carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles.
Section B: Form and Function: A study of organisms to illustrate different adaptations which, through evolution, exist to deal with the problems common to all life.
- Three animal groups are to be studied as to how each is adapted to carry out a function.
- Different ways in which a limited range of organisms carry out this function can be studied, for comparative purposes.
- The topic to be selected for the animals to be studied must be internal transport, gas exchange, nutrition, excretion, support and movement, sensitivity and coordination or reproduction.
Section C: The Cell: The cell as a unit of living matter. The structure and function of a generalized plant and animal cell will be studied in this course and is an underlying theme throughout the year.
- Components and organelles.
- Reasons for similarities and differences of cells.
- Cell processes, including enzyme function.
- Factors which affect cell structures and processes.
- Applications and techniques using cells.
Section D: Evolution (Genetic Variation): An understanding of how genetic variation is acted upon by natural selection to cause evolution.
- Recombination, the dihybrid cross, and biodiversity.
- Effects of mutation and selection pressures on the gene pool.
- Genetic drift and founder effect.
- Genetic change within population.
Section E: Gene expression: An understanding of how genes are expressed by cells. The chemical structure of genes, nature of the genetic code, significance of proteins, protein synthesis, phenotype determination, metabolic pathways, mutations and the influence of the environment on phenotype expression.
- Molecular components’ role in carrying the genetic code.
- Triplets, codons and anticodons; the effects of redundancy.
- Sequences of DNA to mRNA to polypeptide.
- Processes of transcription and translation.
- Role of enzymes in biochemical reactions.
- Mutagens and their effects at the genotype and phenotype level.