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The Biology Of

Microlife Unit: The Light Microscope (#104)

Program 4 teaches students the basics of using a microscope, and then shows them how to use the light source, condenser, iris diaphragm, and different objectives to get the most out of viewing. Students also learn about dark field lighting and colored-field lighting as well as polarized light microscopy.
[15 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Series Description: THE BIOLOGY OF is a comprehensive, stunning visual resource on living organisms specifically designed for the secondary science classroom. Each program includes a guide with discussion questions, activities, and teaching strategies that will engage students and excite them to learn about living things.

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  • Microlife Unit: Viruses (#101)

    This program introduces these strange parasitic entities--little more than packages of genetic information that subvert cells into producing more viruses. This program presents: the discovery of viruses, their structures, how they are studied, and their various modes of infection and replication from the T-4 bacteriophage to complex retroviruses such as HIV. [17 minutes]

  • Microlife Unit: Bacteria (#102)

    Program 2 shows the range of behavior seen in living bacteria, how bacteria obtain nutrients through 'external digestion,' and how to use sterile techniques for culturing and studying them. It shows the vital roles bacteria play in maintaining the biosphere through oxygen production (by cyanobacteria), decomposition and nitrogen fixation. [16 minutes]

  • Microlife Unit: Protists (#103)

    Protists are defined by exploring a diversity of protist groups. Students investigate the structure, behavior, feeding methods, reproduction and ecological relationships among the different groups to better understand single-celled eukaryotes. Protists featured include Paramecium, Amoeba, Volvox, Spirogyra, and Euglena. [19 minutes]

  • Botanical Organisms Unit: Plants (#105)

    This program provides a general introduction to the green kingdom and describes the molecular level mechanisms of photosynthesis. The taxonomy section introduces the nonvascular plants (mosses and liverworts), primitive vascular plants (ferns and horsetails), gymnosperms and flowering plants--with emphasis on life cycles in each group. [17 minutes]

  • Botanical Organisms Unit: Algae (#106)

    'Algae' refers to several evolutionary lines of photosynthetic organisms: Red Algae (plastids with chlorophyll A), Brown Algae (with chlorophyll A and C), and Green Algae (Chlorophyll A and B). These organisms play vital roles in aquatic/marine ecosystems, providing oxygen, food and shelter for vast communities of living things. [19 minutes]

  • Botanical Organisms Unit: Fungi (#107)

    Fungi join with bacteria in breaking down dead organic material. In this program, the various types of fungi are recognized by their structures and life cycle stages. Certain fungi (mycorrhizae) form symbiotic relationships with plants. Their help in absorbing nutrients and water probably aided vascular plants in colonizing the land. [21 minutes]

  • Animal Unit: Sponges (#108)

    With an estimated 15,000 species diversity, sponges play important roles in aquatic ecosystems as bacterial filters. This program uses underwater photography, microscopy, animation, SEM, and time-lapse microscopy to provide a colorful overview of sponge biology with an emphasis on structure, taxonomy, ecology and evolution. [14 minutes]

  • Animal Unit: Cnidarians (#109)

    The program offers an in-depth study of Hydra and Obelia as well as the beautiful jellyfish of Class Scyphozoa, sea anemones of Class Anthozoa, and corals, their warm sea relatives. [15 minutes]

  • Animal Unit: Flatworms (#110)

    This program observes the structure, behavior and life cycles of planarians and other free-living flatworms, some so small they can only be studied with a microscope. It examines the bizarre life cycles of flukes and tapeworms with revealing shots of these parasites at home in the organs of their vertebrate hosts. [14 minutes]

  • Animal Unit: Nematodes, Rotifers, Bryozoans and Various Minor Phyla (#111)

    Program 11 highlights roundworms including a number of important human parasites. Thirteen common rotifer species illustrate this diverse group of microscopic animals. Bryozoans, gastrotrichs, tardigrades, nemerteans, and a recently discovered phylum, Gnathostomulida, acquaint students with many of the lesser-known branches of animal life. [18 minutes]

  • Animal Unit: Molluscs (#112)

    The phylum Mollusca is filled with wonderfully adapted soft-bodied creatures that make up four major classes: Polyplacophora, Gastropoda, Pelecypoda and Cephalopoda. In each group the emphasis is on: structure, behavior, larval development, and adaptations. [14 minutes]

  • Animal Unit: Annelids (#113)

    Phylum Annelida is made up of segmented worms divided into three classes: Oligochaetes (earth worms and aquatic worms), Polychaetes (Nereis and thousands of other species that live in almost all marine habitats), and Leeches. [14 minutes]

  • Animal Unit: Arthropods (#114)

    This program explores the major classes of arthropods: Crustaceans; Arachnids (including whip scorpions, scorpions, spiders, ticks and mites); and Uniramians (including centipedes, millipedes, and insects). The program highlights important details of structure and behavior. [25 minutes]

  • Animal Unit: Echinoderms (#115)

    Examining echinoderm life-styles shows that sea stars are predators, brittle stars and basket stars are detritus feeders, urchins and sand dollars are herbivores, sea cucumbers feed on detritus and plankton. [14 minutes]

  • Animal Unit: Chordates (#116)

    The unique features of this group: a supporting rod (notochord), a hollow dorsal nerve cord, post-anal tail and pharyngeal gills, are investigated in modern animals. Key adaptations leading to the diversification and proliferation of the modern vertebrate groups are explored through fossils, living examples and animation. [18 minutes]

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