Explain how physical and chemical laws affect a living organism. Also, provide an example of how an organism has evolved to adapt to its physical or chemical environment. Then, answer the following question: Why do you think physical and chemical laws relate functions to structures and vice versa?© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 1, 2020, 8:33 pm ad1c9bdddf
Chemotaxis (how bacteria respond to their physical and chemical environments)
Explain how physical and chemical laws affect a living organism.
Simply put, physical and chemical laws impose restrictions on organisms and their ability to acquire nutrients, grow, and reproduce. For instance, physical properties like buoyancy, viscosity, Brownian motion, and friction affect how an organism moves through its environment. Chemical properties like diffusion, rates of reaction, free energy, and stereochemistry are going to put limits on the types of biological reactions that take place inside cells, the shape of cell membranes, utilization and trafficking of chemical nutrients including the behaviour of proteins and enzymes involved in cellular metabolism. In other words living organisms are a product of these physical and chemical laws.
Provide an example of how an organism has evolved to adapt to its physical or chemical environment.
I want to talk about motility in bacteria because it is a nice example of how physics and chemistry affect a biological system.
To begin, bacteria are extremely small organisms with an average length of about 1 micron (1 millionth of meter). Bacteria live, for the most part, in aqueous environments like water. To people like you and me water doesn't pose much of a problem but when you are the size of a bacterium, it's like trying to swim in glue. So in order for bacteria to swim through such a physically constraining environment they have evolved motility organelles called flagella (see figure 1).
Figure 1. Examples of motile bacteria. Left panel ...
What does Brownian motion, gravity, rates of reaction, and thermal equilibrium have to do with life on earth? For all organisms we are as much a reflection of our environment as we are the product of our genes. This means the laws of physics and chemistry are the same laws that make and break biology. This solution talks especially about motility in bacteria because it is a nice example of how physics and chemistry affect a biological system. This solution is 1055 words, provided in an attached Word document.