4.1 The grizzly bear

There are three activities in Section 4, asking you to summarise information in the form of lists. In the first two, the answers are given but in the third, about the diet of the giant panda, they are not. You are asked to tick off the points in your list as you read on through the section. As you gain more stu
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2.2 Energy flow in ecosystems

You are about to meet some very large numbers, expressed in scientific notation, and some new units. The new units are those that are used to measure the amount of solar energy received by a part of the Earth's surface. Since plants are dependent on light for photosynthesis, the amount of plant material that ca
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1 The omnivores

As you work through this unit you will come across boxes, like this one, which give you advice about the study skills that you will be developing as you progress through the unit. To avoid breaking up the flow of the text, they will usually appear at the start or end of the sections.

As well as the un
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Acknowledgements

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

The content acknowl
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Claws

Claws are important for grabbing prey. They must be kept sharp and trees (or chair legs, as domestic cat owners can confirm) are used as scratching posts. In all cats other than the cheetah, the claws can be retracted into a sheath within the footpad, preventing rapid wear.


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3.1 Speed and endurance

The first question in this section is a mathematical one, in which you are asked to convert from one set of units to another. If you have been following the advice in previous units in this series, you will be reading km h−1 as kilometres per hour and you will probably already think of m.p.h. as mi
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • describe some of the characteristic features of carnivores;

  • outline the dentition of carnivores and its link with diet;

  • outline some of the behavioural and sensory characteristics of carnivores, with examples;

  • explain, with examples, the roles that vision and smell play in the lives of carnivores;

  • explain the variety of ways in which carnivores assemble in groups;

  • <
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Introduction

In this unit, we will examine the biology of the impressive meat eaters (e.g. wolves, lions and cheetahs), focusing in part on the biological ‘equipment’ – slashing and gripping teeth, for example – and on the less obvious behavioural characteristics that have contributed to the undoubted success of these fearsome hunters. Many of the meat eaters live and hunt in groups, which raises intriguing questions about the advantages of group living and the types of social behaviour between in
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10 Living in herds

Wildebeest are only one of the species of plant predator that live in herds. Many others do too.

Activity 7

Watch the the TV programme from 30.48–47.32 and read LoM p. 109. Identify and write down (a) a couple of advantages and
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5.1.1 Starting points

We begin by making some simplifying assumptions about the electric field. This is legitimate because we are not looking for the most general solution to Maxwell's equations, but only for special solutions that exhibit wave-like behaviour. We will ultimately check that our solutions for the fields satisfy all of Maxwell's equations, and hence obtain retrospective support for our initial assumptions.

If you drop a pebble in a pond, waves spread out in all directions on the surface. Many e
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5.1 Electromagnetic waves

This section gives a brief introduction to light and electromagnetic waves.

The idea that light is an electromagnetic wave had occurred to Faraday while Maxwell was still a schoolboy, but Maxwell was the first person to possess a complete set of equations describing the dynamical behaviour of electric and magnetic fields. Believing that Faraday was correct, Maxwell set out to show that his equations have wave-like solutions that propagate through empty space at the speed of light.


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6 Self-assessment questions

Question 1

Give three reasons why many people in the world face an increasingly severe shortage of fresh, safe water.

Answer

The human population of the world i
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2.5 What is a sensible dose?

This will vary from drug to drug and patient to patient, but bear in mind that most drugs need to be swallowed or injected, so the manufacturer has designed the dose sizes to be as easy as possible for a patient to take and for the health worker to administer.

The following dose ranges are the most sensible and practical for adults:

Table 7 Typical drug doses

<
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2.6.2 (b) Using spheres

Chemists have their own convention for representing molecules and their constituent atoms. As in Figure 6, they often use circles (or spheres if they make a three-dimensional model) to represent atoms – and they often use short, straight lines between the circles to represent the bonds that join one atom to an
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2.6.1 (a) Using Lego as a model

In this kind of building set, there are a limited number of types of block and each block has a particular shape. Just as importantly, each one has a particular way in which it can link to other blocks because of the way the studs are arranged.

The blocks can help you see how the atoms link in a molecule of water. Look at Figure 7 where the red brick represents an oxygen atom and the white bricks represent hydrogen atoms. There are only two locations where the hydrogen atoms can join th
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2.5 What is water made of?

The size of a water droplet may seem very small but in terms of the scale of scientific measurement it is relatively large. You already know that water is made up of molecules so now consider a water droplet more closely to see what water molecules are made up of. If you could magnify a water droplet until it no longer has a smooth surface, you would see something similar to that shown in Author(s): The Open University

2.4 Going down: using scientific notation for small numbers

You saw in Section 2.2 how the powers of ten notation provides a concise method of expressing very large numbers and reduces the chances of errors when, otherwise, many zeros would have to be written out. You will now see how the powers of ten notation can be extended to cover small numbers, such as 0.000 000 0002 m.

Write down th
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2.3 The study of a raindrop

Most of the usable water is derived from the 1.1 × 105 km3 that falls over the land surface each year as rain, snow, sleet or hail. The collective term for all of these sources of water is precipitation. At this point, you will consider the size of the drops of water that make up clouds or rain (Figure 5).

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2.1 Where water occurs and how we measure it

When astronauts first ventured to the Moon in the late 1960s, they were captivated by a vision of the Earth in colour as it had never been seen before (Figure 2). It is not surprising that, after pictures like this were published, the Earth became known as the ‘blue planet’.

Figure 2
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • read data presented in tables;

  • use scientific notation to express both large and small quantities;

  • appreciate why chemists use different models to represent molecules;

  • identify the number and type(s) of atom present in a molecule from its chemical formula;

  • identify the reactants and products of a reaction in a chemical equation;

  • read and write using chemical
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