Lecture Final Study Guide

This study guide is now complete for Fall 2018.

The final will be Wednesday, December 12, 11:30-1:30 in the lecture room. Note the time! One hour earlier than our usual lecture time.

The format will be similar to the midterms: one long answer and 50 multiple-choice questions. The long answer will count for one third of the points.

Long answer questions

There will be one long-answer question, chosen from this list:

  1. Diagram & describe how the oxygen-carrying pigments in mammals help ensure that tissues will get enough oxygen. [Hints: your answer should include adult & fetal hemoglobin, myoglobin, CO2, and rest vs. exercise situations.]
  2. Diagram & explain how xylem sap & phloem sap are transported in plants. (Hints: there are several diagrams in the book showing different parts of the overall process; you should try to combine all this information into one big diagram. You don’t need to copy all these figures in your answer, but you should include the information they express. Don’t forget to include water potential.)
  3. Diagram and describe how the human kidney functions to make concentrated urine. (Hint: your answer should include Include both cortical and juxtamedullary nephrons. You don’t need to cover the hormonal regulation of kidney function.)
  4. Diagram and describe how countercurrent exchange mechanisms work. Use specific examples for: (1) gas exchange; (2) thermoregulation; (3) osmoregulation; and (4) reducing evaporative water loss from breathing. (One example for each.)
  5. Compare and contrast a dolphin and a tuna in terms of gas exchange, thermoregulation, and osmoregulation. (Hint: these are not three separate topics. The mechanisms of gas exchange, thermoregulation, and osmoregulation are interdependent. In this question, I’m asking you to integrate topics that came up at different points in the quarter. Key idea: air vs. water. Assume that the dolphin and the tuna are approximately equal in mass, live in the same ocean environment, and eat the same food.)

 Review multiple-choice questions

There will be 50 multiple-choice questions. Approximately half of those will review material that was previously covered on the midterms; the rest will be new material from the last section of the course. The review questions will be very similar to the questions that were on the midterms. Some of the questions on the final will be modified versions of questions that were on the midterms, in some cases asking the same question about a different organism or another part of a particular process. Some of the questions may be unchanged from the midterms. Use your midterms as a study guide for these review questions. If you understand all the midterm questions and answers, you should do well on that part of the final.

Important concepts for new multiple-choice questions

Sensory systems

  • Types of sensory receptors. What’s wrong with the traditional 5-senses idea?
  • Sensory transduction in sensory receptor cells
  • Second messenger
  • Gated ion channel: Na+ flow into cell starts action potential
  • Resting potential & action potential; What are the spikes on the little graphs?
  • Signaling within a cell vs. signaling between cells.
  • Evolution of chemoreceptor proteins & chemoreceptor organs. Which came first, and how do we know?
  • Mammals have many different odor receptor proteins. Do they all occur in the same cell?
  • Stretch receptors
  • Mechanoreceptors: Lateral line sense and hair cells. Why is the lateral line found in fish but not humans or dolphins?
  • Statocysts: Who has them, and what do they do?
  • Semicircular canals of various vertebrates: Compare to statocysts.
  • Human ear, structure & function: cochlea & hair cells. How do we perceive loudness? How do we perceive pitch?
  • Snake ears
  • Insect hearing: compare to mammal.
  • Echolocation in bats & dolphins. Why does it work so much better for dolphins? What are the advantages & disadvantages of hearing underwater vs. in air? Why does sound work as a weapon for dolphins, but not for bats?
  • Electroreceptors (modified hair cells). Why don’t mammals have them?
  • Weak electric fish & strong electric fish.
  • Heat receptors: pit organs. Why are they in pits? Why don’t aquatic animals have them? Why are they only found in a reptile that preys on mammals?
  • Eyes: flatworms & other simple eyes. Why does it matter if the eye is cup-shaped? What does screening pigment do? Why don’t flatworms have fancier eyes?
  • Compound eyes: advantages & disadvantages; ommatidia
  • Color vision: dichromatic & trichromatic
  • Opsins & retinal as photoreceptor proteins. Is vision analogous to chemoreception, homologous, or neither?
  • Rods & cones.
  • Eye focusing
  • How light signals reach the brain. How do you know what color you’re seeing?
  • Squid eyes & vertebrate eyes. What parts are homologous; what parts are analogous? How does studying the developmental process help us understand the evolutionary process?
  • What does Pax-6 do?


  • Reproduction compared to sex. What is sexual reproduction? Roles of meiosis and syngamy.
  • Asexual reproduction is clonal growth.
  • Hermaphrodites: sequential & simultaneous. Why do sexual reproduction at all if you’re a hermaphrodite? Why don’t they usually fertilize themselves?
  • Parthenogenesis
  • External fertilization, including free spawning. What sorts of animals free spawn? What disadvantages does free spawning have, and how are some species adapted to it?
  • Internal fertilization. How are species with internal fertilization different from those with external fertilization?
  • Cleidoic eggs & amniotic eggs. Which of these features are found in mammals? How is nitrogenous waste handling connected to cleidoic eggs and extraembryonic membranes?
  • Amniotic eggs & extraembryonic membranes of mammals.
  • The role of viruses in the evolution of placental mammals.
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