Characteristics of Living Things

Chapter 1 Notes
The study of life
Living things (organisms) depend upon
other organisms and nonliving things to
maintain life.
bios = life
logos, ology = study of
Characteristics of Living
Eight Basic
1. Made up of cells.
2. Reproduce.
3. Living Things are based
on a universal genetic
code (DNA)
4. Grow and Develop.
5. Obtain and Use Energy.
6. Respond to their
7. Maintain a stable
internal environment.
8. Taken as a group, living
things change over time.
1. Made up of Cells
All living things have an
orderly structure
All are made up of one or
more cells - basic unit of
structure and function in living
Some organisms may be single
celled called Unicellular.
Some may be made up of
many cells and called
2. Reproduce
Reproduction is important for the
continuation of individual
Species – a group of organisms
that can interbreed and produce
fertile offspring in nature.
There are two types of
Sexual Reproduction- requires
two cells from separate
individuals to unite to produce a
new organism.
Asexual Reproduction - does not
require a cell from another
individual organism. (budding,
fission or mitosis)
3. Living Things are based
on a universal genetic code
The ability of offspring to
resemble their parents in sexual
and asexual reproduction is
based on a universal genetic
Biologists know that the
directions for inheritance are
carried by a molecule called
deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA.
DNA provides all the
information to control life
4. All Living Things Grow and
Growth –results in an
increase in the amount of
living material (biomass).
Growing from a embryo to
an adult. (seed- sapling- oak
Development – is a result of
the changes that take place
during the life of an
organism. ( caterpillar, pupa,
butterfly) (crawl, walk, run)
5. Obtain and Use Energy
Energy is used to
maintain life - grow,
develop and reproduce.
Plants and plant-like
organisms obtain their
energy from sunlight to
make food in a process
called Photosynthesis.
Other organisms obtain
their energy from food
they eat.
6.Adjust to changes in their
Environment (surroundings)
Stimulus-anything in the
environment that causes an organism
to react. (light, temperature, odor,
sound, gravity, water & pressure).
Response - Reaction to a stimulus,
can be slow or rapid, depends on
Irritability- The ability of an
organism to react to stimuli and
survive. (structure, behavior, or
internal process) - Adaptation
7. Maintain a stable internal
Living things maintain a
stable internal environment
by a process known as
8. Living things change over
Through evolution living things change over
time. A gradual accumulation of adaptations over
A process by which modern organisms have
descended from ancient organism.

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