AGBU – Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School
AP BIOLOGY OBJECTIVES AND KEY TERMS
UNIT II: The Cell
Magnification endoplasmic reticulum plastid actin
Resolving power smooth ER amyloplast myosin
Light microscope rough ER chromoplast basal body
SEM Golgi apparatus chloroplast cell wall
TEM cis face thylakoid collagen
Cell fractionation trans face thylakoid space integrin
Cytoplasm lysosomes grana stroma
Cytosol phagocytosis cytoskeleton tubulin
Nucleus macrophages flagella
Nuclear envelope food vacuole microtubules
Chromatin contractile vacuole microfilaments
Chromosome central vacuole intermediate filaments
Nucleolus tonoplast centriole
Ribosome peroxisome cilia
Endomembrane system mitochondria centrosome
Vesicles intermembrane space desmosomes
Mitochondrial matrix extracellular matrix tight junctions
Gap junctions Plasmodesmata
1. Describe techniques used to study cell structure and function.
2. Distinguish between magnification and resolving power.
3. Describe the principles, advantages and limitations of the light microscope, transmission
electron microscope and scanning electron microscope.
4. Describe the major steps of cell fractionation and explain why it is a useful technique.
5. Distinguish between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
6. Explain why there are both upper and lower limits to cell size.
7. Explain why compartmentalization is important in eukaryotic cells.
8. Describe the structure and function of the nucleus, and briefly explain how the nucleus
controls protein synthesis in the cytoplasm.
9. Describe the structure and function of a eukaryotic ribosome.
10. List the components of the endomembrane system, describe their structures and functions
and summarize the relationships among them.
11. Explain how impaired lysosomal function causes the symptoms of storage diseases.
12. Describe the types of vacuoles and explain how their functions differ.
13. Explain the role of peroxisomes in eukaryotic cells.
14. Describe the structure of a mitochondrion and explain the importance of
compartmentalization in mitochondrial function.
15. Distinguish among amyloplast, chromoplast and chloroplast.
16. Identify the three functional compartments of a chloroplast, and explain the importance of
compartmentalization in chloroplast function.
17. Describe probable functions of the cytoskeleton.
18. Describe the structure, monomers and functions of microtubules, microfilaments and
19. Explain how the ultrastructure of cilia and flagella relates to their function.
20. Describe the structure and list some functions of the extracellular matrix in animal cells.
21. Describe the structure of intercellular junctions found in plant and animal cells, and relate
their structure to function.
Phospholipids bilayer carrier-mediated water potential proton pump
Amphipathic transport osmotic potential cotransport
Fluid mosaic model permease solution exocytosis
Integral protein diffusion solvent endocytosis
Peripheral proteins osmosis solute phagocytosis
Selective permeability dialysis hypertonic pinocytosis
Facilitated diffusion active transport hypotonic receptor-
Concentration gradient bulk flow isotonic mediated
Membrane potential electrogenic pump sodium-potassium endocytosis
Signal-transduction second messenger pump
1. Describe the function of the plasma membrane.
2. Explain how scientists used early experimental evidence to make deductions about
membrane structure and function.
3. Describe the fluid properties of the cell membrane and explain how membrane fluidity is
influenced by membrane composition.
4. Explain how hydrophobic interactions determine membrane structure and function.
5. Describe how proteins are spatially arranged in the cell membrane and how they contribute
to membrane function.
6. Describe factors that affect selective permeability of membranes.
7. Define diffusion: explain what causes it and why it is a spontaneous process.
8. Explain what regulates the rate of passive transport.
9. Explain why a concentration gradient across membrane represents potential energy.
10. Define osmosis and predict the direction of water movement based upon differences in
11. Explain how bound water affects the osmotic behavior of dilute biological fluids.
12. Describe how living cells with and without walls regulate water balance.
13. Explain how transport proteins are similar to enzymes.
14. Describe one model for facilitated diffusion.
15. Explain how active transport differs from diffusion.
16. Explain how large molecules are transported across the cell membrane.
17. Give an example of receptor-mediated endocytosis.
18. Explain how membrane proteins interface with and respond to changes in the extracellular
19. Describe a simple signal-transduction pathway across the membrane including the roles of
first and second messengers.
Fermentation NAD+ cytochrome proton-motive force
Cellular respiration FADH2 heme group ATP synthase
Phophorylation ETC dehydrogenase aerobic
Oxidative phophorylation ubiquinone proton pump anaerobic
Substrate-level cristae proton gradient oxidation
Phophorylation intermembrane chemiosmosis reduction
Coenzyme space electon carrier Kreb’s cycle
1. Diagram energy flow through the biosphere.
2. Describe the overall summary equation for cellular respiration.
3. Destinguish between substrate-level phosphorylation and oxidative phosphorylation.
4. Explain how exergonic oxidation of glucose is coupled by endergonic synthesis of ATP.
5. Define oxidation and reduction.
6. Explain how redox reactions are involved in energy exchanges.
7. Define coenzyme and list those involved in respiration.
8. Describe the role of ATP in coupled reactions.
9. Describe the structure of coenzymes and explain how they function in redox reactions.
10. Explain why ATP is required for the preparatory steps of glycolysis.
11. Write a summary equation for glycolysis and describe where it occurs in the cell.
12. Describe how pyruvate links glycolysis to Kreb’s cycle.
13. Describe the location and the molecules out of Kreb’s cycle.
14. Explain how the exergonic slide of electrons down the ETC is coupled in the endergonic
production of ATP by chemiosmosis.
15. Summarize the net ATP yield from the oxidation of a glucose molecule.
16. Describe the fate of pyruvate in the absence of oxygen.
17. Explain why fermentation is necessary.
18. Distinguish between aerobic and anaerobic metabolism.
Autotrophic electromagnetic radiation accessory pigments cyclic electron flow
Photoautotroph wavelength chlorophyll b noncyclic el. flow
Chemoautotroph electromagnetic spectrum carotenoids photophosphorylation
Heterotrophic photon ground state Calvin cycle
Chloroplast pigments excited state PGAL
Chlorophyll spectrophotometer photosystem rubisco
Mesophyll absorption spectrum antenna assembly RuBP
Stomata chlorophyll a reaction center Melvin Calvin
Vascular bundles stroma primary elec. acceptor photorespiration
Thylakoid thylakoid membrane P700 C4 pathway
Thylakoid space CAM pathway P680
1. Distinguish between autotrophic and heterotrophic nutrition.
2. Distinguish between photosynthetic autotrophs and chemosynthetic autotrophs.
3. Describe the location and structure of the chloroplast.
4. Explain how chloroplast structure relates to its function.
5. Write a summary equation for photosynthesis.
6. Describe the wavelike and particlelike behaviors of light.
7. List the wavelengths of light that are most effective for photosynthesis.
8. Explain what happens when chlorophyll or accessory pigments absorb photons.
9. List the components of a photosystem and explain their function.
10. Trace electron flow through photosystems II and I.
11. Compare cyclic and noncyclic electron flow and explain the relationship between these
components of the light reactions.
12. Summarize the light reactions with an equation and describe where they occur.
13. Summarize the carbon-fixing reactions of the Calvin cycle.
14. Describe the role of ATP and NADPH in the Calvin cycle.
15. Describe what happens to rubisco when the O2 concentration is much higher than CO2.
16. Describe the major consequences of photorespiration.
17. Describe two important photosynthetic adaptations that minimize photorespiration.
18. Describe the fate of photosynthetic products.
Cell division mitosis mitotic spindle cell plate
Genome cytokinesis centrosome binary fission
Density-dependent interphase kinetochore microtubules growth factor
Inhibition S phase nonkinetochore micro. restriction
Somatic cells G1 phase asters point
Chromosomes G2 phase metaphase plate kinase
Chromatin prophase cleavage cyclin
Sister chromatids metaphase cleavage furrow Cdk
Centromere anaphase MPF cancer
Centriole telophase transformation cell cycle
1. Define genome and state what major events must occur during cell division for the entire
genome to be passed on to daughter cells.
2. Describe the process of binary fission in prokaryotes.
3. Describe the composition of chromosomes and explain how chromosomal structure
changes in preparation for cell division.
4. Describe how chromosome number changes throughout the human life cycle.
5. List the phases of the cell cycle and describe the sequence of events that occurs during each
6. Describe what major events occur during the G1, S and G2 periods of interphase, and
describe what characterizes a G2 interphase cell.
7. Distinguish between interphase and mitosis phase.
8. List the phases of mitosis and describe the events characteristic of each phase.
9. Recognize the phases of mitosis from diagrams.
10. Compare cytokinesis in plants and animals.
11. List several factors, identified from cell tissue-culture studies, which stimulate or inhibit
12. Describe what point in the cell cycle determines whether a cell will.
13. Explain how MPF induces the changes that occur in mitosis and describe what causes the
cyclical change in MPF concentration.
14. Explain how abnormal cell division of cancerous cells differs from normal cell division.
UNIT IV: Mechanisms of Evolution
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection
Darwin evolution idealism natural theology
Linneaus taxonomy fossils catastrophism
Paleontology Cuvier gradualism Hutton
Lyell uniformitarianism Lamarck inheritance of aquired charac
HMS Beagle Galapagos islands natural selection Wallace
Common descent descent with Malthus artificial selection
Population modification modern synthesis mutations
Orthogenesis population genetics biogeography homologous structures
Homology vestigial organ phylogeny
1. State the two major points Darwin made in The Origin of Species concerning the Earth’s
2. Describe Cuvier’s contribution to paleontology.
3. Explain how Cuvier and his followers used the concept of catastrophism to oppose
4. Explain how the principle of gradualism and Lyell’s theory of uniformitarianism influenced
Darwin’s ideas about evolution.
5. Describe Lamarck’s model for how adaptations evolve.
6. Describe how Wallace influenced Darwin.
7. Explain what Darwin meant by the principle of common descent and “descent with
8. Explain what evidence convinced Darwin that species change over time.
9. State three inferences Darwin made from his observations, which led him to propose
natural selection as mechanism for evolutionary change.
10. Explain why variation was so important to Darwin’s theory.
11. Explain how Malthus’ essay influenced Darwin.
12. Distinguish between artificial and natural selection.
13. Explain why the population is the smallest unit that can evolve.
14. Explain how natural selection results in evolutionary change.
15. Explain why the emergence of population genetics was an important turning point for
16. Describe the lines of evidence Darwin used to support the principle of common descent.
17. Describe how molecular biology can be used to study the evolutionary relationships among
18. Explain the problem with the statement that Darwinism is “just a theory.”
19. Distinguish between the scientific and colloquial use of the word “theory.”
Species inbreeding sexual recombination relative fitness
Gene flow assortative mating balanced polymorphism pleiotropy
Gene pool polygenic traits heterozygous advantage stabilizing selection
Fixed allele morphs sickle-cell anemia directional selection
Microevolution polymorphic frequency-dependent diversifying select.
Hardy-Weinberg geographic variation selection sexual dimorphism
Equilibrium cline neutral variation sexual selection
Nonadaptive point-mutation adaptive evolution genetic drift
Sampling error bottleneck effect founder effect
1. Explain how microevolutionary change can affect gene pool.
2. State the Hardy-Weinberg theorem.
3. Write the general Hardy-Weinberg equation and use it to calculate allele and genotype
4. Explain the consequences of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium.
5. Describe the usefulness of the Hardy-Weinberg model to population geneticists.
6. List the conditions a population must meet in order to maintain Hardy-Weinberg
7. Explain how genetic drift, gene flow, mutation, nonrandom mating and natural selection
can cause microevolution.
8. Explain the role of population size in genetic drift.
9. Distinguish between the bottleneck effect and the founder effect.
10. Explain why mutation has little quantitative effect on a large population.
11. Describe how inbreeding and assortative mating affect a population’s allele frequencies
and genotype frequencies.
12. List some factors that can produce geographical variation among closely related
13. Explain why even though mutation can be a source of genetic variability, it contributes a
negligible amount to genetic variation in a population.
14. Explain how genetic variation may be preserved in a natural population.
15. Give the cause of nearly all genetic variation in a population.
16. Describe what selection works on and what factors contribute to the overall fitness of a
17. Distinguish among stabilizing selection, directional selection and diversifying selection.
18. Define sexual dimorphism and explain how it can influence evolutionary change.
19. Give at least four reasons why natural selection cannot breed perfect organisms.
Anagenesis mechanical isolation adaptive radiation adaptive landscape
Cladogenesis gametic isolation sympatric speciation adaptive peak
Morphospecies postzygotic peripheral isolate peak shift
Biological species reduced hybrid polyploidy hybrid zone
Reproductive barrier fertility autopolyploidy gradualism
Prezygotic reduced hybrid tetraploid punctuated equil.
Habitat isolation viability allopolyploidy allopatric speciation
Temporal isolation behavioral isolation
1. Distinguish between anagenesis and cladogenesis.
2. Define morphospecies and explain how this concept can be useful to biologists.
3. Define biological species.
4. Describe some limitations of the biological species concept.
5. Explain how gene flow between closely related species can be prevented.
6. Distinguish between prezygotic and postzygotic isolating mechanisms.
7. Describe five prezygotic isolating mechanisms and give an example of each.
8. Explain why many hybrids are sterile.
9. Explain how hybrid breakdown maintains separate species even if gene flow occurs.
10. Distinguish between allopatric and sympatric speciation.
11. Explain the allopatric speciation model and describe the role of intraspecific variation and
12. Describe the adaptive radiation model and use it to describe how it might be possible to
have many sympatric closely related species even if geographic isolation is necessary for
them to evolve.
13. Define sympatric speciation and explain how polyploidy can cause reproductive isolation.
14. List some points of agreement and disagreement between the two schools of thought about
the tempo of speciation (gradualism vs punctuated equilibrium).
Macroevolution allometric growth systematics DNA sequencing
Fossil taxonomy paleontologists molecular clocks
Sedimentary rock binomial nomenclature divergence sedimentation
Genus convergence trace fossils species selection
Petrification geological time scale relative dating index fossil
Absolute dating radiometric dating half-life carbon-14
Racemization preadaptation biogeography continental drift
Pangaea adaptive zone adaptive radiation phylogeny
Phylogenetic tree taxon polyphyletic paraphyletic
Homology analogy convergent evolution cladistics
Cladogram classical evolutionary shared primitive modern synthesis
1. Explain the importance of the fossil record to the study of evolution.
2. Describe how fossils form.
3. Distinguish between relative and absolute dating.
4. Explain how isotopes can be used in absolute dating.
5. Explain how preadaptation can result in macroevolutionary change.
6. Explain how modification of regulatory genes can result in macroevolutionary change.
7. Explain how continental drift may have played a role in macroevolutionary change.
8. Describe how radiation into new adaptive zones could result in macroevolutionary change.
9. Explain how mass extinctions could occur and affect evolution of surviving forms.
10. Distinguish between a taxon and taxonomy.
11. Describe the contribution Linneaus made to biology.
12. Distinguish between a taxon and a category.
13. List the major taxonomic categories from the most to least inclusive.
14. Explain why it is important when constructing a phylogeny to distinguish between
homologous and analogous character traits.
15. Distinguish between homologous and analogous structures.
16. Distinguish between a monophyletic and polyphyletic group, and explain what is meant by
a “natural taxon.”
Chapter 2: The Chemical Context of Life
Matter electron potential energy covalent bond
Mass atomic number electron shell polar covalent bond
Element mass number orbital ionic bond
Trace element isotope valence electrons cation
Compound radioactive chemical bond anion
Atom half life molecule ion
Proton energy electronegativity hydrogen bond
1. Define element and compound.
2. State four elements essential to life that make up 96% of living matter.
3. Describe the structure of an atom.
4. Define and distinguish among atomic number, mass number, atomic weight and valence.
5. Given the atomic number and mass number of an atom, determine the number of neutrons.
6. Explain why radioisotopes are important to biologists.
7. Explain how electron configuration influences the chemical behavior of an atom.
8. Explain the octet rule and predict how many bonds an atom might form.
9. Explain why the noble gases are so unreactive.
10. Define electronegativity and explain how it influences the formation of chemical bonds.
11. Distinguish among nonpolar covalent, polar covalent and ionic bonds.
12. Describe the formation of a hydrogen bond and explain how it differs from a covalent or
13. Explain why weak bonds are important to living organisms.
14. Describe how the relative concentrations of reactants and products affect a chemical
15. Describe the chemical conditions on early Earth and explain how they were different from
Chapter 3: Water and the Fitness of the Environment
Cohesion temperature solvent dissociation
Surface tension calorie solute acid
Adhesion kilocalorie aqueous solution base
Hydrophilic specific heat mole pH scale
Hydrophobic heat of vaporization molecular weight buffer
Kinetic energy evaporative cooling hydronium ion acid precipitation
Heat solution hydroxide ion
1. Describe how water contributes to the fitness of the environment to support life.
2. Describe the structure and geometry of a water molecule, and explain what properties
emerge as a result of this structure.
3. Explain the relationship between the polar nature of water and its ability to form hydrogen
4. List five characteristics of water that are emergent properties resulting from hydrogen
5. Describe the biological significance of the cohesiveness of water.
6. Distinguish between heat and temperature.
7. Explain how water’s high specific heat, high heat of vaporization and expansion upon
freezing affect both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
8. Explain how the polarity of the water molecule makes it a versatile solvent.
9. Define molarity and list some advantages of measuring substances in moles.
10. Write the equation for the dissociation of water, and explain what is actually transferred
from one molecule to another.
11. Explain how acids and bases directly or indirectly affect the hydrogen ion concentration of
12. Explain how acids and bases directly or indirectly affect the hydrogen ion concentration of
13. Using the bicarbonate buffer system as an example, explain how buffers work.
14. Describe the causes of acid precipitation, and explain how it adversely affects the fitness of
Chapter 4: Carbon and the Molecular Diversity of Life
Organic chemistry structural isomer alcohol amino group
Organic molecules geometric isomer carbonyl amine
Vitalism enantiomer aldehyde sulfhydryl
Mechanism asymmetric carbon ketone thiol
Hydrocarbons functional group carboxyl phosphater
Isomer hydroxyl carboxylic acid
1. Summarize the philosophies of vitalism and mechanism, and explain how they influenced
the development of organic chemistry, as well as mainstream biological thought.
2. Explain how carbon’s electron configuration determines the kinds and number bonds
carbon will form.
3. Describe how carbon skeletons may vary, and explain how this variation contributes to the
diversity and complexity of organic molecules.
4. Distinguish among the three types of isomers: structural, geometric and enantiomers.
5. Recognize the major functional groups, and describe the chemical properties of organic
molecules in which they occur.
Chapter 5: The Structure and Function of Macromolecules
Polymer glycogen protein denaturation
Monomer cellulose amino acid nucleic acid
Macromolecule chitin polypeptide nucleotide
Peptide bond condensation reaction pyrimidine purine
Hydrolysis protein conformation phophodiester bond DNA
Carbohydrates lipid native conformation RNA
Monosaccharide fat primary structure pentose
Disaccharide phopholipid secondary structure starch
Polysaccharide tertiary structure disulfide bridge steroid
Glycosidic linkage ester linkage quaternary structure
1. List the levels of biological hierarchy from subatomic particles to macromolecules.
2. Explain how organic polymers contribute to biological diversity.
3. Describe how covalent linkages are formed and broken in organic polymers.
4. Describe the distinguishing characteristics of carbohydrates, and explain how they are
5. List four characteristics of a sugar.
6. Identify a glycosidic linkage and describe how it is formed.
7. Describe the important biological functions of polysaccharides.
8. Distinguish between the glycosidic linkages found in starch and cellulose, and explain why
the difference is biologically important.
9. Explain what distinguishes lipids from other major classes of macromolecules.
10. Describe the unique properties, building block molecules and biological importance of the
three important groups of lipids: fats, phospholipids and steroids.
11. Identify an ester linkage and describe how it if formed.
12. Distinguish between a saturated and unsaturated fat, and list some unique emergent
properties that are consequence of these structural differences.
13. Describe the characteristics that distinguish proteins from the other major classes of
macromolecules, and explain the biologically important functions of this group.
14. List and recognize four major components of amino acid, and explain how amino acids
may be grouped according to the physical and chemical properties of the side chains.
15. Identify a peptide bond and explain how it is formed.
16. Explain what determines protein conformation and why it is important.
17. Define primary structure and describe how it may be deduced in the laboratory.
18. Describe the two types of secondary protein structure, and explain the role of hydrogen
bonds in maintaining the structure.
19. Explain how weak interactions and disulfide bridges contribute to tertiary protein structure.
20. Using collagen and hemoglobin as examples, describe quaternary protein structure.
21. Define denaturation and explain how proteins may be denatured.
22. Describe the characteristics that distinguish nucleic acids from the other major groups of
23. Summarize the functions of nucleic acids.
24. List the major components of a nucleotide, and describe how these monomers are linked
together to form a nucleic acid.
25. Distinguish between a pyrimidine and a purine.
26. List the functions of nucleotides.
27. Briefly describe the three-dimensional structure of DNA.
Chapter 6: An Introduction to Metabolism
Metabolism bond energy equilibrium cofactors
Catabolic pathways heat of reaction catalyst coenzymes
Anabolic pathways enthalpy enzyme competitive
Kinetic energy exothermic activation energy inhibitors
Potential energy endothermic transition state noncompetitive
Thermodynamics spontaneous reaction substrate inhibitors
Closed system free energy active site cooperativity
Open system exergonic feedback inhibition induced fit
Entropy endergonic saturation
1. Explain the role of catabolic and anabolic pathways in the energy exchanges of cellular
2. Distinguish between kinetic and potential energy.
3. Distinguish between open and closed systems.
4. Explain, in their own words, the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics.
5. Explain why highly ordered living organisms do not violate the Second Law of
6. Distinguish between entropy and enthalpy.
7. Write the Gibbs equation for free energy change.
8. Explain how changes in enthalpy, entropy and temperature influence the maximum amount
of useable energy that can be harvested from a reaction.
9. Explain the usefulness of free energy.
10. List two major factors capable of driving spontaneous processes.
11. Distinguish between exergonic and endergonic reactions.
12. Describe the relationship between equilibrium and free energy change for a reaction.
13. Describe the function of ATP in the cell.
14. List the three components of ATP and identify the major classes of macromolecules to
which it belongs.
15. Explain how ATP performs cellular work.
16. Explain why chemical disequilibrium is essential for life.
17. Describe the energy profile of a chemical reaction including activation energy (EA), free
energy change (deltaG) and transition state.
18. Describe the function of enzymes in biological systems.
19. Explain the relationship between enzyme structure and enzyme specificity.
20. Explain the induced fit model of enzyme function and describe the catalytic cycle of an
21. Describe several mechanisms by which enzymes lower activation energy.
22. Explain how substrate concentration affects the rate of an enzyme-controlled reaction.
23. Explain how enzyme activity can be regulated or controlled by environmental conditions,
cofactors, enzyme inhibitors and allosteric activation regulators.
24. Distinguish between allosteric activation and cooperativity.
Explain how metabolic pathways are regulated.