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The Tree of Life

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Allison Bellows

on 2 April 2014

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Transcript of The Tree of Life

It's difficult to classify viruses phylogenetically, because while cellular life has a single, common origin, viruses are polyphyletic (many evolutionary origins).
What is known is that there are no distinct ancestral viral lineages. No single gene has been identified that is shared by all viruses.
It is also known that, because viruses cannot exist without a host cell, viruses did not come to be until the first cells existed.
There are characteristics of viruses that are being used by some to argue that viruses are anciently old - the most common arguments being their simplicity and their ability to infect a broad range of phylogenetically distant hosts. There exists also the fact that many viral genomes encode for proteins similar to those in cellular metabolic processes, suggesting viruses may be ancestral to some cells. There is not, however, evidence to completely prove any of these claims.
Importance to humans
Genome: a molecule of RNA or DNA
Protein coat surrounding this genetic material -> this is called the capsid
viruses that have been studied have a diameter between 20 and 300 nanometers.
Viruses are parasites, meaning they live in or on other organisms and harm them in the process. Because they are so closely tied to the cellular machinery of their hosts, when they infect a human the virus cannot be easily treated. This resistance means that viral infections - HIV/AIDS and influenza, for example - can have devastating impact on human population and general health.
The only defense that medicine currently has
viruses is vaccines that are made
viruses, making some viruses of positive significance to humans, when used properly. However, since this is to counter damage done by living viruses, viruses remain as a generally negative significance to mankind.
Phylogenetic relationships
Membrane bound nuclei.
DNA that contains introns and exons.
Membrane bound organelles.
Cell walls containing chitin, and vacuoles.
Reproduce both sexually and asexually.
Tubular, threadlike structures called hyphae.
Cross cellular walls called septa.
Phylogenetic Relationships
Importance to Humans
A virus is a small infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of other organisms.
Eubacteria are prokaryotic organisms, as characterized by the lack of a membrane-enclosed nucleus, predominantly unicellular, with DNA in single circular chromosome, and have peptidoglycan on cell wall when present.
Importance to humans
Many of the pollutants that are produced by human activity are organic compounds, which are consumed by bacteria.
Many foods, including cheese,yogurt and sauerkraut are produced by the action of Bacteria.
These Bacteria feed on undigested food and syntesize nutrients as viamin k and vitamin B12 which the human body absorbs.
Some bacteria causes diseases, these are pathogenic that synthsise toxic substances tat casue disease symptoms
Lack of a mitochondria and or chloroplasts
Form spores, resistant to dehydration and most temperatures
All Eubacteria don't have a nuclei and or cellular organelles
Eubacteria are either spirilla (spiral shaped), bacilli (rod shaped), or cocci (spherical).
Fungi are a group, or kingdom of heterotrophic eukaryotic organisms whose cell walls are made up of chitin.
Niches/ecological roles
Nitrogen-fixing bacteria live in soil and capture nitrogen gas from air trapped in the soil. This is combined with hydrogen to produce ammonium which are nutrients for plants.
Bioremediation is used to manipulate conditions to stimuate breakdown of pollutants by living organisms.
The Tree of Death
free-living or colonial organisms with diverse
nutritional and reproductive modes; living things which do not classify as plants, fungi, or animals
Most are one-celled, but some have multiple cells
Cells have a membrane around the nucleus
Can get nutrients and energy from consuming other orangisms
Some get energy from the sun and nutrients from the water around them
Most reproduce through splitting in two
Works Cited
"Protist Kingdom." Protist Kingdom. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. <http://teachers.oregon.k12.wi.us/hanson/protist.htm>.
Audesirk, Teresa, Gerald Audesirk, and Bruce E. Byers. Biology: Life on Earth with Physiology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008. Print.
"Fungi: More on Morphology." Morphology of the Fungi. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. <http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/fungi/fungimm.html>.
"Fungi." Fungi. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014. <http://herbarium.usu.edu/fungi/funfacts/kingfact.htm>.
"Strange but True: The Largest Organism on Earth Is a Fungus." Scientific American Global RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-largest-organism-is-fungus/>.
C, Emilani. "Introduction to Viruses." Ucmp.berkely.edu. UCMP, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. <http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/alllife/virus.html>.
Sander, David M., PhD. "The Big Picture Book of Viruses." Virology.net. The Garry Lab, n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2014. <http://www.virology.net/big_virology/bvhomepage.html>.
"Invertebrate Conservation." AMNH. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2014. <http://www.amnh.org/our-research/center-for-biodiversity-conservation/research/species-based-research/invertebrate-conservation>.
"Facts." Invertebrates: The Silent Majority. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2014. <http://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/invertebrates/facts/>.
Wilson, Don E. "Mammals: Importance to Humans." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2014.
"Lycophytes." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 02 July 2014. Web. 28 Mar. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycophyte>.
Kenrick, Paul, and Peter Crane. "Embryophytes." The Tree of Life Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2014. <http://tolweb.org/Embryophytes/20582>.
Kranz, H. D. and V. A. R. Huss. 1996. Molecular evolution of pteridophytes and their relationship to seed plants: Evidence from complete 18S rRNA gene sequences. Plant Systematics and Evolution 202:1-11.
Nickrent, D. L., C. L. Parkinson, J. D. Palmer, and R. J. Duff. 2000. Multigene phylogeny of land plants with special reference to bryophytes and the earliest land plants. Molecular Biology and Evolution 17:1885-1895.
Wund, Matthew, and Phil Meyers. "Animal Diversity Web." Animal Diversity Web. National Science Foundation, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2014. <http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Mammalia/>.
Wilson, D., D. Reeder. 2005. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Accessed May 22, 2007 at http://nmnhgoph.si.edu/msw/.
Wilson, D., D. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.
"Embryophyte." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Mar. 2014. Web. 28 Mar. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embryophyte>.
Phylogenetic Relationships
Protists were the first organisms on earth, so many things have evolved from them over the billions of years of years that they have exhisted
E. coli
Some E.coli strains are able to produce a toxin that could produce serious infection.
A gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium,that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms.
E. coli uses mixed-acid fermentation in anaerobic conditions, producing lactate, succinate, ethanol, acetate and carbon dioxide.
E.coli and related bacteria possess the ability to transfer DNA via bacterial conjugation,transduction,transformation,which allows genetic material to spread through an existing population
Importance to Humans
Phylogenetic Relationships
They are the first prokaryote cells to appear on earth
They also share somewhat of a relation to Archea bacteria
They hold many distant relationships with the other domains
Protists are not just the lowly bottom of the food chain organism they help provide half of the worlds oxygen along with helping to decompose and recycle nutrients. Even though some of them are helpful with everyday life many can be infectious and cause different diseases. For example they can cause: malaria, ameobic dysentery, taxoplasmosis, African-Sleeping sickness, and Giardiasis. So while being helpful, protists can also cause harm.
A group of aquatic bacteria that obtain their energy through photosynthesis.
They lack flagella, but may move about by gliding along surfaces. Most are found in freshwater, but some are marine or occur in damp soil.
Each individual cell typically has a thick, gelatinous cell wall, which has a gram-negative stain.
A eukaryote is any organism whose cells contain a nucleus and other structures (organelles) enclosed within membranes.
The shape of a virus is determined by the structure of its protein capsid. Some viruses are rod-shaped, such as the Tobacco Mosaic virus. Other viruses are polyhedral, such as the Adenovirus and the Polio virus.
The diversity and large number of viruses is incredible:
Viruses appear to be highly diverse, and there are possibly millions of viral species currently existant.
It is largely believed that viruses by species are the most numerous biological entity on Earth, and it has been said that all cellular species likely have at least one associated virus. This sheer size gives them great influence on the world around us.
As pararsites, the biggest ecological impact of viruses is the damage they bring about on great amounts of populations.
One positive facet of this is the fact that viruses drive microbial evolution - thy provide natural selection for microbes resistant to infection. This will leave a niche for resistant microbial strains to grow into, many of which will be subsequently killed off by another viral type. This means that the dominant microbial species within a system will be constantly turned over.
Viruses are essential to the regulation of saltwater and freshwater ecosystems.
They infect and destroy the bacteria in aquatic microbe communities, making up the most important mechanism of recycling carbon in the marine environment.
The organic molecules released from the bacterial cells by the viruses stimulate fresh bacteria and algae growth.
On the size of viruses:
A teaspoon of seawater contains about one million viruses!
An estimated 1 x 10^27 viruses are produced every minute, and roughly 1 x 10^25 microbes, about 100 million metric tons, die every 60 s due to viruses!
Streptococcus pneumoniae
Gram-positive, lancet-shaped cocci (elongated cocci with a slightly pointed outer curvature).
They do not form spores, and they are nonmotile.
Their cell wall composition is characteristic of their peptidoglycan
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is a slow-replicating retrovirus specific to humans that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, resulting in immune system failure. This allows for life-threatening infections and cancers to thrive, which takes a great toll on human populations.
Yersinia pestis
a Gram-negative rod-shaped coccobacillus, a facultative anaerobic bacterium that can infect humans and other animals.
Required for bacterial adhesion and injection of proteins into the host cell, invasion of bacteria in the host cell ,
Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus
Salmonella enterica
A rod-shaped, flagellated, facultative anaerobic, Gram-negative bacterium and a member of the genus Salmonella
The Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus (NPV) is a baculovirus that infects insects, most frequently being moths and butterflies. It is used as a pesticide for some crops, but being so species-specific it is only effective under certain infestation conditions.
Baculoviruses are a family of large rod-shaped viruses, divided into the two genera nucleopolyhedroviruses and granuloviruses. Baculoviruses prey on invertebrates, with over 600 host species known, and tend to be very species-specific. These viruses most commonly infect insects, but have also been found infecting sawflies, mosquitoes, and shrimp.
Bacillus antracis
Gram-positive, endospore-forming, rod-shaped bacterium, with a width of 1–1.2µm and a length of 3–5µm.
The etiologic agent of anthrax — a common disease of livestock and, occasionally, of humans — and the only obligate pathogen within the genus bacillus
Intersesting Facts
Eubacteria can survive in a wide range of environments.
Some are aerobic, meaning they need oxygen to survive; while others are anaerobic, meaning they will die if oxygen is present.
Some make their own food, autotrophic, and some obtain their food from other organisms, heterotrophic.
There are more eubacteria than any other organism.
Some bacteria move and some do not. If a bacteria does move, it does so by either a flagella or cilia.
Their cell walls are made of peptidoglycan. This makes their cell walls porous but strong
Banana Bunchy Top Virus
Normal banana plant
Banana plant with Bunchy Top - new leaves are stunted and bunchy. Leaf edges are deformed and yellow.
Niche/ecological role
Some fungi act as important decomposers of organic material in the environment.
Many types of fungi have important symbiotic relationships with plants.
Some types of fungi are endophytes (organisms that live inside other organisms) in plants playing a major role in their growth and preserving various tissues.
Mycorrizae fungi can help provide plants with nutrients. In exchange for energy filled sugar molecules from the plant, the mycorrizae fungi digest minerals and other nutrients found in the soil, and pass them to the plant.
Lichens are formed by fungi that live in symbiotic relationships with photosynthetic algae or bacteria, protecting the algae or bacteria from harsh environments. In exchange the fungi recieve nutrients produced in photosynthesis. These lichen are thus able to produce oxygen contributing to the oxygen in the atmosphere.
Many protists are very important in their ecosystem to help regualte the amount of bacteria in the environment and keep it equal and balanced with other organisms. They also help to break down dead organisms, like plants and animals, and recycle this nutrients back into the ecosystem to be used again. In many aquatic environments they are also a very important food source or many small animals helpingthoe species to survive.
The Nanoviridae are a family of single stranded DNA viruses that infect plants. The name is derived from the greek word "nano" (dwarf) because of their small genomes and their stunting effects on infected plants.
Facts (maybe interesting)
Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) is a plant pathogenic virus of the family Nanoviridae. It was named after the consequent symptoms seen, where infected plants are stunted in growth and have "bunchy" heaves at the top.
Some are edible like red algea which are rich in vitamins
An extract of red algea, a plant-like protist, is used to make paint, cosmetics, and ice cream
Some can cause serious diseases like malaria
It is estimated that there is between 65,000 and 200,000 species of protists
The oldest protist fossil is 1 billion years old
was not accepted into the scientific community until 1969 as a kingdom
Fungi are immensely diverse, with nearly 100,000 identified species, and more being discovered every year.
Because of these continued discoveries, fungal phylogeny is still being revised.
Fungus species are currently classified in five phyla:
Form haploid or diploid flagellated spores, no septa.
Form diploid sexual zygospores, no septa.
Form haploid, asexual spores in clusters, no septa.
Reproduce sexually involving the formation of haploid basidiospores on club shaped basidia, septa are present
Form haploid sexual ascospores in saclike asci, septa are present.
Due to their great diversity fungi have can possess many different effects on and uses for humans. Some fungi attack plants important to humans. Most plant diseases are caused by fungi. For instance fungal plant diseases cause billions of dollars of damage to grain crops, like corn and wheat, every year. They also effect some species of trees have decimated species such as the American Elm and Chesnut. Fungi can also cause great damage by attacking and rotting the wood in houses and other structure. Fungi can also cause human diseases, ranging from common skin diseases like athlete's foot or ringworm, to lifethreatening diseases that can affect the lungs or heart. Still other fungi produce toxins that can be mildly to fatally poisonous to humans.
However, many fungi can have positive effects. For instance many antibiotics, such as penicillin, are made using fungi. Also, many fungi are edible and nutritious to humans, or can be used to create other products such as many types of cheese. Yeast, a type of fungi, can be used to produce products such as wine, beer, and bread. Thus, fungi can have significant effects, both positive and negative, on humans.
Phage T4
Endobacteria phage T4, more commonly called phage T4, is a bacteriophage (a virus that infects and replicates within bacteria) which infects
E. coli
T4 undergoes a lytic lifestyle, rupturing infected cells, rather than living lysogenically.
The term "bacteriophage" is derived from 'bacteria' and the Greek
"to devour". They have been used for over 90 years as an alternative to antibiotics in many medicine centers, particularly in central Europe. They are seen as a possible therapy against multi-drug-resistant strains of many bacteria.
Interesting Facts
Fungi are more closely related to animals than they are to plants.
The hyphae in a mycellium can collectively grow over half a mile each day.
Under proper conditions the spores of some mushrooms can sit dormant for decades, and still be able to grow.
The largest living organism on earth is a fungus. It spans an area of 2,384 acres in Oregon's Blue Mountains.
There are over 100,000 species of classified fungi, and more are discovered every year.
Many types of fungi can reproduce both sexually and asexually.
The biggest known viruses are mimiviruses, which are 400 nanometers in diameter. The viral genome is 1,200,000 nucleotides in length and codes for >900 proteins. The smallest known viruses are circoviruses, which are 20 nanometers in diameter. The viral genome is 1,700 nucleotides in length and codes for two proteins.
The HIV-1 genome, which is about 10,000 nucleotides long, can exist as 10^6020 different sequences. (To put this number in perspective, consider that there are 10^11 stars in the Milky Way galaxy and 10^80 protons in the universe!)
Walter Reed discovered the first human virus, yellow fever virus, in 1901.
Giardia is a genus of anaerobic, flagellated parasites that colonize and reproduce in the small intestines of vertebrates. Infection of these parasites leads causes giardiasis, a condition involving gastrointestinal disorders.
Plasmodium is a genus of parasitic protists. They are heterotrophic and nonmotile. Plasmodia always have two hosts in their life cycle, being a mosquito vector and then the vertebrate host. Infection by plasmodium causes the disease malaria, a widespread disease that in serious cases can lead to a comatose state or death.
Derived Characteristics
The amoeba genus is a genus of protozoa whose memebers are unicellular organisms without any definite shape. The organelles and cytoplasm of an amoeba are enclosed by a cell membrane, and it obtains its food through phagocytosis.
The Destroying Angel
The destroying angel mushroom, or Amanita virosa, is a basidiomycete that is one of the most toxic mushrooms known to man. The mushroom contains amatoxin, a toxin that destroys liver and kidney tissues. Symptoms of poisoning often do not appear for many hours afterwards, when the damage is irreversible. Although often fatal, victims can sometimes be saved by undergoing liver tranplants, along with other extensive medical procedures
Red Algae
Red algae are multicellular, photsynthetic seaweeds. They are a distinct group characterized by several attributes: being eukaryotic cells with no flagella or centrioles, having accessory red pigments which mask their green chlorophyll, and having chloroplasts lacking external endoplasmic reticulum.
Penecillium is a genus of ascomycetous fungi. This genus contains over 300 species, and is important in the natural environment as a decomposer. However, more importantly to humans the antibiotic penecillin is derived from fungi of this genus, which is used to fight many kinds of bacterial infections.
Green Algae
Green algae are a diverse group of photosynthetic protists, including unicellular and multicellular species. Green algae have chloroplasts that contain chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b, giving them a bright green color. Unlike other groups containing multicellular, photosynthetic protists, green algae are closely related to plants.
Cordyceps Fungi (my personal favorite)
Cordyceps fungi are a genus of ascomycetic fungi that are endoparasitoid, mainly towards insects. A cordiceps fungus will attack a host organism, and eventually replace the hosts tissues with its own. At this point, fruiting bodies will emerge, producing spores that can go on to infect new hosts.
Diatoms are photosynthetic stramenophiles which are found in fresh water and salt water. They produce protective shells of glass, consisting of top and bottom halves that fit together like a petri dish, and often take shapes of exceptional beauty.
Pezizaceae Fungi
Shelf Fungi
The Giant Puffball
Pezizaceae fungi, more commonly known as cup fungi, are a family of ascomycotic fungi that produce fruiting bodies that grow in the shape of a cup. This cup shape allows raindrops or wind to splash or blow spores out of the inner surface of the cup where they are formed.
The giant puffball, or Calvatia gigantea, is a basidiomycotic fungus famous for its large size. These puffballs can grow up to 70 cm in diameter and produce up to 5 trillion spores. They are also edible during earlier stages of their development.
Shelf fungi are comprised of a group of basidiomycotic fungi, known for their distinctive fruitbodies that grow in shelf or step like shapes. These fungi are found mainly on trees or rotting wood and produce spores, called basidiospores, in pores on their undersurfaces. These fungi play an important role in many ecosystems be helping to decompose dead or dying trees.
Nucleus/nuclear envelope containing genetic material.
Membrane bound organelles.
Ex: Golgi bodies, mitochondria, chloroplasts, etc.
Eukaryotic organisms reproduce by mitosis (produces 2 identical diploid daughter cells) or by meiosis (produces 4 haploid gametes).
A normal moth
A moth infected with cordyceps fungi. Note the fruiting body of the fungus growing out of the victim's body
Chordates are animals of the large phylum Chordate. Chordates are animals with backbones. Animal groups in the chordate phylum include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Animals with backbones are the most highly evolved groups of animals, the most complex and complicated. They have interior skeletons and have bilateral symmetry. They have more advanced brains.

Flowering Plants (Angiosperms)
typically a post-anal tail: a region of the body behind the anus that does not contain any part of the gut.(an extension of the body past the anal opening.)
a single hollow dorsal nerve cord(a bundle of nerve fibers which runs down the "back". )
a supporting rod or notochord (cartilaginous rod running underneath, and supporting, the nerve cord.)
Phylogenetic relationships
Chordates have 3 clades(evolutionary groups that include all of the descendants of a common ancestry) : the Lancelets the tunicates and the craniates
The reptiles lizards and snakes together form a distinct lineage containing about 6,800 species.
Birds are feathered reptiles
Reptiles evolved from an amphibian ancestor about 250 million years ago.
Ecological Roles/niches
A very diverse phylum they function both as predators and prey in marine,terrestrial, and freshwater environments
Impact on humans
Humans are chordates
Chordates like tigers, lions or snakes can be harmful to humans
Interesting Facts
An chordate takes in food through the mouth. The chordate has a mouth with a tongue. Some have teeth and some do not. It has a digestive system with stomach, intestines. Chordates eat plants and animals.
A chordate takes in oxygen and gets rid of carbon dioxide through lungs or gills.
A chordate has complex skin that is many times covered with either feathers, scales or hair. They get rid of wastes through kidneys and intestines.
A chordate can be almost any color in nature.
A chordate has bilateral symmetry.
An chordate has a brain and nervous system. Most chordates have two eyes and at least a minimal system of hearing as fish do underwater. Many have excellent hearing. Some chordates are literally blind as the bat, but most have good vision. The chordates have the most developed brains of all the phyla and complex nervous systems.
A clade of warm-blooded amniotes; distinguished from reptiles and birds by traits such as having hair, three middle ear bones, and female mammary glands.
Cheetahs eat mainly gazelles, wildebeest calves, impalas and smaller hoofed animals.
Adaptations that enable the Cheetah to run as fast as it does include large nostrils that allow for increased oxygen intake, and an enlarged heart and lungs that work together to circulate oxygen efficiently.
A placental mammal, it's far more complex than marsupials because the young stay in the uterus longer, so that offspring complete their embryonic development before being born
Gas filled bladder
Fin webs supported by bony dermal rays
Patterns of lateral line canals
Goldfish come in a number of distinct colors, including combinations of colors. Common goldfish colors include the following: red, orange, white, black, blue, chocolate brown, yellow, red and white, black and red, black red and white, calico (a combination of colors usually including red, white, black and blue).
very powerful back legs and webbed feet that help them jump great distances, as well as, swim.
A frog is an amphibian. It spends part of its life in water and part on land
eats many insects including flies, mosquitoes and other harmful insects.
Larva are aquatic, adults live on land
There are poisonous frogs.
usually no gap (retromolar space) between the last molar teeth and the jaw bone
modern Homo sapiens skulls have a short base and a high braincase.
Homo sapiens living today have an average brain size of about 1350 cubic centimetres which makes-up 2.2% of our body weight.
All wallabies are marsupials or pouched mammals.
Wallabies are typically small to medium-sized mammals, but the largest can reach 6 feet (1.8 meters) from head to tail.
Wallabies are herbivores, and the bulk of their diet is grasses and plants. Their elongated faces leave plenty of jaw room for the large, flat teeth necessary to chew their vegetarian meals.
limbs are entirely lacking, but a few have traces of hind limbs
moves by means of muscular contraction, which can produce several types of locomotion, the commonest types being undulation and straight-line movement
males have paired copulatory organs, either of which may be used in mating. Females of some species can store sperm for several years to insure future fertilization. In most species the female lays eggs; in some the eggs are incubated and hatched within the mother's body; in a few there is true viviparity, or live birth, with the young nourished by means of a placenta rather than an egg.
Mammary glands that produce milk in females
Three middle ear bones (malleus, incus, stapes)
Diphyodonty: two generations of teeth - deciduous "milk teeth" that are replaced by permanent teeth.
A neocortex (a region of the brain)
Phylogenetic Relationships
During the Pennsylvanian subperiod, mammals split from the reptile/bird lineage to become Synapsida (the group containing mammals and their extinct relatives). However, they are said to have evolved into their own distinct species during the Mesozoic Era. The first mammals appeared in the Late Triassic epoch (about 225 million years ago), 40 million years after the first therapsids. Mammals rose to dominance in the Cenozoic Era, after the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.
The class Mammalia has given rise to many current species, and includes clades such as Eutheria and Metatheria.
The ecological roles of the class Mammalia are greatly varied and extensive, due to the fact that it is a broad clade (and no two species of animal can have the exact same niches in the same habitat, as this would cause too much competition).
In general, however, mammals greatly contribute to niches of the medium-to-large sized of organisms - including examples such as predation against large animals, fertilization of soil via excretion, respiration (intaking O2 and giving off CO2 as food for plants and other animals) and even transporting the seeds of angiosperm plants.
The most recent common ancestor between a given modern mammal and a reptile existed approximately 300 million years ago.
Angiosperms are flowering plants that reproduce in sexual reproduction.They have two main groups: the monocots and the dicots. There are many types of these flowers such as a "perfect" flower which is made "perfect" by containing both sexes (or both stamen and pistils.)
Phylogenetic Relationships
Plants share a most common ancestor with mosses, but evolved by developing vascular systems. Angiosperms differ from gymnosperms in the fact that from the root word gymno it means naked and the sperm refers to the seed that it produces. So while angiosperms are plants that bare covered seeds, gymnosperms are, in the literal translation, naked seed producers. Plants and animals are different in the fact that animals are much more advanced in their nervous system and the fact that they even have one. Angiosperms are special because they protect their reproductive gametes.
They have a structure that encloses the ovules
Double Fertilization which leads to the formation of an endosperm
stamens with two pairs of pollen sacs
features of gametophyte structure and developement
Phloem tissue composed of sieve-tubes and companion cells
They can be found in almost any environment around world.
For example: wooded areas, domestic gardens, jungle/rainforest areas, deserts, and even in the sea.
Angiosperms are the most diverse species of land plants
Importance to humans
Angiosperms are one of the main producers of food for humans such as many of our fruits and vegetables. For example we eat apples, peaches, cherries and other fruits such as that, and we also eat potatoes, carrots, eggplants, and many other ground grown plants such as these. These plants also help with putting oxygen in the air like many of the other plants on Earth. But, some of these plants that produce fruit and other vegetables will also produce a toxic secondary compound to help protect these fruits. Many antibiotics are also either directly derived or synthesized from angiosperms helping us in the medical field. Even though some of these plants can be toxic many of them produce vital nutrients to help humans survive.
They diverged from gymnosperms about 200-240 million years ago
More dependent on humans and other animals for reproduction
Even though they diverged very late compared to most species they are the most abundant in plant varieties with gymnosperms coming in close second
There are about 400 families of Angiosperm and almost 250,000 different species
They provide the basis for many different drugs that we use
Most important though is that they produce oxygen for all organisms to use
Phylogenetic Relationships
Importance to Humans
Interesting Facts
Lack cell walls
Sexual reproduction
Rapid response to external stimuli
nerve cells or muscle tissue
Lack of vertebral column.
One of the two major animal categories, characterized by the lack of a backbone or vertebral column.
In today's scientific community, there are approximately 27 recognized invertebrate phyla.
Some of the more prominent ones include:
Porifera (sponges)
No tissues, endoskeleton of spicules.
Cnidaria (jellyfish, corals, anemones)
Possess tissues, radial symmetry, hydrostatic skeleton.
Ctenophora (comb jellies)
Possess tissues, radial symmetry, hydrostatic skeleton.
Nematoda (roundworms)
Possess tissues, bilateral symmetry, protostome development, cuticle molted, pseudocoelem, hydrostatic skeleton.
Arthropoda (insects, arachnids, crustaceans)
Possess tissues, bilateral symmetry, protostome development, cuticle molted, exoskeleton.
Platylminthes (flatworms)
Possess tissues, bilateral symmetry, protostome development, no coelem, hydrostatic skeleton.
Annelida (segmented worms)
Possess tissues, bilateral symmetry, protostome development, true coelem, hydrostatic skeleton.
Mollusca (clams, snails, octopods)
Possess tissues, bilateral symmetry, protostome development, hydrostatic skeleton.
Echinodermata (sea stars, sea urchins)
Possess tissues, bilateral symmetry, protosome development, deuterostome development, endoskeleton of plates beneath outer skin.
Invertebrates constitute 80% of the world's species, and about 95% of all animal species.
Scientists estimate that in the U.S. the total weight of insects, worms, and spiders, is 55 times that of all humans in the U.S.
There are over 1,300,000 classified species of invertebrates, and an estimated 7 million more species to be discovered.
31% of invertebrate species are endangered.
There are 27 separate, recognized, invertebrate phyla.
Some sponges contain chemicals that are used to create various types of medicine.
Some types of invertebrates can help prevent or treat infection.
Invertebrates constitute 95% of all animal species, and thus possess immense biodiversity.
This great diversity provides them with a myriad of important ecological roles.
Many invertebrates, particularly many insects, play an important role in pollination, facilitating the reproduction of many different plants.
Many species of invertebrates act as decomposers, consuming dead organic material.
Invertebrates also play important ecological roles in the food chain as both predators and prey.
This is the daisy family. There are currently 23,000 accepted species in the science world and they are spread across 1,620 genera and 12 subfamilies. Majority of the members in Asteraceae are herbacious plants but some are exceptions and can be shrubs, vines, or even trees. This is tied for the largest family of angiosperms with Orchidaceae.
Bidens torta
Daisies have a very unique flower head. This particular daisy is eudicot. Its common name is the corkscrew beggartick. It can be found in many places all over the world. It is not very useful to humans but helps make a beautiful bouquet
This is the pepper family of the angiosperms. The group contains roughly 1,920 currently accepted species in 13 genera. But, you can find most of the species within two of the main genera which are Piper (2000 species) and Piperomia (1600 species). This family is very important to humans in the fact that we eat the fruit that they produce.
The piper family has a very unique way of being an angiosperm since it is neither a monocot or a eudicot. This subfamily contains 1,000-2,000 species of shrubs, herbs, and lianas. Many of these species are keystone species in their native habitat. These can be used in food and medicine. making this group very versatile.
A diverse and widespread family of flowering plants with blooms that are often colorful and often fragrant, commonly known as the orchid family. One of the two largest families of flowering plants, with between 21,950 and 26,049 currently accepted species, found in 880 genera. The number of orchid species equals more than twice the number of bird species, and about four times the number of mammal species.
This is one genus of the orchid family. It can be utilized in many ways such as perfumes, baking, and even aromatherapy. This is where humans generally get the vanilla flavoring extract from. It is given the name of "vanilla bean" even with its beans on the inside it is still an orchid contrary to popular belief.
Due to the great diversity seen in invertebrates and their many different roles in the environment, invertebrates possess many important effects on humans. By acting as pollinators, invertebrates help various crops, and other plants that are important to humans, to reproduce and flourish. By acting as decomposers invertebrates help to clean up dead organic matter. This allows for suitable environments for living organisms, including humans.
Invertebrates can also have harmful effects on humans. Some invertebrates, such as some species of flatworms, are parasitic, and can cause disease in humans. Other invertebrates such as some arachnids, carry venom, and can be hazardous to humans. Thus invertebrates can have significant positive and negative impacts on humans.
Giant Squid
Lion's Mane Jellyfish
Goliath Birdeater Spider
Giant Clam
Mantis Shrimp
Plants that live primarily in terrestrial habitats, characterized by their nurturing of the embryo sporophyte within the tissues of the parent gametophyte.
Importance to humans
Even apart from the fact that humans
mammals, mammals have had a profound impact on human life. As a race, we have depended on mammals throughout our entire history for food and clothing. Domestication of mammals has always been a key method of transportation and of distributing heavy work loads. Small species of animals often provide laboratory subjects for human studies of psychology, physiology, and a variety of diseases.
Elephants are large mammals of the order Proboscida and the family Elephantae, and are scattered throughout Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Their distinctive features include a long proboscis called a trunk (used mainly for breathing, lifting water, and grasping objects), incisors which grow into tusks (used as weapons and as tools for moving objects and digging), as well as large ear flaps used to control body temperature. Elephants appear to be self-aware and capable of empathy, and their intelligence has been compared with that of primates and cetaceans.
The Humpback Whale
The humpback whale is a species of baleen whale, of the family Balaenopteridae and the order Cetacea (which includes marine mammals such as whales, porpoises, and dolphins). Humpbacks are very large - weighing on average 79,000 lbs - and are distinguised by their unusually long pectoral fins and knobbly head. These whales feed in the summer, in polar waters, and then migrate to tropical zones to breed and give birth. During winter, they live off their fat reserves, and during feeding season their diet consists mostly of krill and small fish.
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera whose forelimbs form webbed wings, allowing them to be the only mammals capable of true sustained flight. Bats are divided into two suborders: the less specialized fruit-eating megabats and the highly specialized echolocating microbats (echolocating meaning the ability to use biological sonar to sense their environment). About 70% of bat species are insectivores. Most of the rest are fruit eaters. A few species, such as the fish-eating bat, feed from small animals, and of course there are vampire bats which are hematophagous - feed on blood.
Bats are the second largest group of mammals, representing about 20% of all classified mammal species worldwide, with about 1,240 bat species
The Platypus
The platypus is one of four species of the family echidna, and is a semi-aquatic mammal native to eastern Australia. Despite its status as a mammal, the platypus has several unique characteristics odd to a member of the mammalian clade - the foremost of which being that it lays eggs rather than giving birth to live young. It also has a unique anatomy, being duck-billed, beaver-tailed, and otter-footed, and even having a spur on the hind foot of males that delivers a venom that brings severe pain to humans. It is the sole living representative of its family Ornithorhynchidae and genus Ornithorhynchus.
The platypus is so odd-looking, in fact, that when first discovered by European naturalists, it baffled them so greatly that many believed it was some elaborate hoax.
Elephants are the largest living terrestrial animals - they can reach a height of 13 ft and weigh around 15,000 lbs!
The Squirrel
Squirrels belong to the family Sciuridae of small or medium-size rodents. This family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, flying squirrels, and prairie dogs. They are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa, living in almost every habitat from tropical rainforest to semiarid desert (except high polar regions and the driest of deserts). Squirrrels are generally small animals, typically having slender bodies with bushy tails and large eyes. They have an excellent sense of vision, and very versatile and sturdy claws for grasping and climbing.
The eastern gray squirrel is one of the very few mammalian species that can descend a tree head-first. It accomplishes this feat by turning its feet so the claws of its hind paws point backwards and can grip the tree bark.
The role model of all platypi
The Wolf
The wolf,
canis lupis
, is native to the wilderness and remote areas of North America, Eurasia, and northern Africa. It is similar in appearance and general body proportions to the domestic german shepherd, but has a larger head, narrower chest, longer legs, and bigger paws. These physical adaptations to better hunt larger prey demonstrate the specialized nature of the wolf species, seen also in its more gregarious nature and its highly advanced expressive behavior.
The giant squid, or Architeuthidae architeuthis, is a deep sea dwelling squid that feed on deep sea fish, as well as on other squid species. From the tips of their long tentacles, to their posterior fins, these creatures can grow up to 13 meters (43 feet) in length, and are the largest organism found in the phylum mollusca.
The lion's mane jelly fish, Cyanea capillata, is the largest known living jellyfish, with a diameter of up to 7'6", and tentacles with lengths of up to 120 feet.
The goliath birdeater, or Theraphosa blondi, is a spider belonging to the tarantula family. As their name implies, these spiders can grow to impressive sizes, with a leg span of up to 11 inches. Contrary to their name however, they do not primarily prey on birds, preferring prey sucas large insects, and small reptiles and amphibians.
Complex multicellular eukaryotes
Specialized reproductive organs
Young embryo sporophytes are nurtured during the early stages of development within tissues of the parent gametophyte
With very few exceptions, embryophytes obtain energy via photosynthesis
Tridacna gigas, the giant clam, is the largest species of bivalve mollusks in the world. The largest known specimen measured approximately 4.5 feet in length, and weighed over 500 lbs. These clams feed on nutrients obtained from symbiotic algae that live within some of their tissues, as well as on organic particles filtered from the water
Embryophytes are ecologically important for several reasons. First these plants help to fill the important ecological role of photosynthesis, utilizing light energy to convert carbon dioxide to sugar. During this process, oxygen is released as a byproduct, which can then be used by all aerobic organisms. Another important role of these plants is their role in the food chain as a major food source for various herbivorous organisms. Lastly, embryophytes can provide habitats for other living organisms. This is seen in the wide variety of habitats that trees, a type of embryophyte, provide for a wide variety animals and other plants.
Mantis shrimp are marine crustaceans from the order Stomopoda. They measure on average 12 inches in length, and range in color from light brown, to neon shades of red, green, and blue. These shrimp are particularly famous for their powerful claws which they use to kill prey, and defend themselves from predators. These claws can deliver approximately the same force at about the same speed, as .22 caliber bullet being fired.
Cuttlefish are marine mollusks of the order Sepiida, the same order as animals such as squid or octopuses. These creatures are known for their incredible capacity to change the color and texture of their skin. This allows them to camouflage themselves to avoid predators, and to sneak up on prey.
Phylogenetic Relationships
Importance to Humans
Due to the important ecological roles that embryophytes play, embryophytes have correspondingly many important uses to humans. For example, through photosynthesis, embryophytes help to replenish the atmosphere with oxygen, allowing humans and all other aerobic organisms to continue living. Some types of embryophytes can also be useful to humans as a food source. This is seen in plants such as the coconut, and other plants that produce edible seeds. Lastly, embryophytes can be useful to humans by providing them with building materials. Many trees are classified as embryophytes, and the wood that is harvested from these trees serves an important role in construction. Thus embryophytes have many important positive effects on humans.
All green algae and land plants are now known to form a single evolutionary clade, one name for which is Viridiplantae. Viridiplantae split 1,200 million years ago to 725 million years ago into two clades: chlorophytes and streptophytes, and embryophytes are believed to have later evolved from the group of streptophytes.
Throughout history, Embryophytes have been through many various classification systems. Today, they are separated into the following phyla.
Interesting Facts
Embryophytes are informally known as land plants, because most live in terrestrial environments.
Like all other plants, most embryophytes are autotrophic, however some, such as the venus fly trap, are partially heterotrophic.
One large tree can provide a days supply of oxygen to up to four people.
Trees produce approximately 15-20% of the oxygen found in the earth's atmosphere.
The oldest living organism in existence is an embryophyte: a bristlecone pine in California's White Mountains, estimated to be about 4,600 years old.
There are approximately 100-150 thousand distinct embrophyte plant species.

Marchantiophyta (Liverworts)
Bryophyta (Mosses)
Anthoceratophyta (hornworts)
Monilophyta (ferns and horse tails)
A fern is any one or more of a group of roughly 12,000 species of plants belonging to the botanical group known as Pteridophyta. They are vascular, and have stems, leaves, and roots like other vascular plants. Ferns reproduce via spores and have neither seeds nor flowers. Most ferns have what are called fiddleheads. The fiddleheads expand into fronds, which are each delicately divided.
Moss is a phylum of small, soft plants typically .4 - 3.9 inches tall. They commonly grow close together in clumps or mats in damp or shady locations. They do not have flowers or seeds; their simple leaves cover the thin wiry stems. At certain times mosses produce spore capsules which may appear as beak-like capsules borne on thin stalks.
Bryophyte is the general grouping for embryophotes who do not have vascular tissue, and are therefore classified as non-vascular plants. Bryophytes produce enclosed reproductive structures (gametangia and sporangia), but they produce neither flowers nor seeds, reproducing instead via spores.
The division Lycopodiophyta is a tracheophyte subdivision of the kingdom Plantae. It is the oldest living vascular plant division at around 410 million years old, and it includes some of the most "primitive" extant species. These species reproduce by shedding spores and have macroscopic alternation of generations, although some are homosporous while others are heterosporous. They differ from all other vascular plants in having microphylls, leaves that have only a single vascular vein rather than the much more complex megaphylls found in ferns and seed plants.
Euphyllophytina is a taxon within the tracheophytes. It is sister to subdivision Lycopodiophyta. The euphyllophytes, making up more than 99% of living vascular plant species, have large 'true' leaves (megaphylls), which effectively grow from the sides or the apex, via marginal or apical meristems.Euphyllophytina contains the two groups: Spermatophytes (seed plants) and Monilophytes (ferns), as well as a number of extinct fossil taxa.
Staghorn Clubmoss
The Staghorn Clubmoss,
Lycopodiella cernua
, is a plant in the family Lycopodiaceae. This species has one of the widest distributions within the family, being known from most tropical areas, and growing in the deep south of the United States, as well as Hawaii.
Lycopodiella cernua
is a clubmoss, but clubmosses are not true mosses. Clubmosses are vascular plants with erect stems that bear spores in club-shaped structures, while mosses are nonvascular plants which have simple leaflike, rootlike, and stem like parts.
Wolves have about 200 million scent cells. Humans have only about 5 million. Wolves can smell other animals more than one mile (1.6 kilometers) away.
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