Edexcel SNAB A2 Biology Specification

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  • Created on: 25-03-14 19:36
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Topic 5: On the wild side
Describe how to carry out a study on the ecology of a habitat to produce valid and reliable data
(including the use of quadrats and transects to assess abundance and distribution of organisms and the
measurement of abiotic factors, eg solar energy input, climate, topography, oxygen availability and
edaphic factors).
Explain that the numbers and distribution of organisms in a habitat are controlled by biotic and abiotic
Explain how the concept of niche accounts for distribution and abundance of organisms in a habitat.
Describe the concept of succession to a climax community.
Outline the causes of global warming ­ including the role of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and
methane, CH4) in the greenhouse effect.
Analyse and interpret different types of evidence for global warming and its causes (including records
of carbon dioxide levels, temperature records, pollen in peat bogs and dendrochronology) recognising
correlations and causal relationships.
Describe that data can be extrapolated to make predictions, that these are used in models of future
global warming, and that these models have limitations.
Discuss the way in which scientific conclusions about controversial issues, such as what actions should be
taken to reduce global warming or the degree to which humans are affecting global warming, can
sometimes depend on who is reaching the conclusions.
Describe the effects of global warming (rising temperature, changing rainfall patterns and changes in
seasonal cycles) on plants and animals (distribution of species, development and life cycles).
Explain the effect of increasing temperature on the rate of enzyme activity in plants, animals and
Describe how to investigate the effects of temperature on the development of organisms (eg seedling
growth rate, brine shrimp hatch rates).
Describe the overall reaction of photosynthesis as requiring energy from light to split apart the strong
bonds in water molecules, storing the hydrogen in a fuel (glucose) by combining it with carbon dioxide
and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.
Describe how phosphorylation of ADP requires energy and how hydrolysis of ATP provides an
immediate supply of energy for biological processes.
Describe the light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis including how light energy is trapped by
exciting electrons in chlorophyll and the role of these electrons in generating ATP, and reducing NADP
in photophosphorylation and producing oxygen through photolysis of water.

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Describe the light-independent reactions as reduction of carbon dioxide using the products of the
light-dependent reactions (carbon fixation in the Calvin cycle, the role of GP, GALP, RuBP and RUBISCO)
and describe the products as simple sugars that are used by plants, animals and other organisms in
respiration and the synthesis of new biological molecules (including polysaccharides, amino acids, lipids
and nucleic acids).
Describe the structure of chloroplasts in relation to their role in photosynthesis.
Calculate the efficiency of energy transfers between trophic levels.…read more

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Topic 6: Infection, immunity and forensics
Describe how to determine the time of death of a mammal by examining the extent of decomposition,
stage of succession, forensic entomology, body temperature and degree of muscle contraction.
Describe the role of micro-organisms in the decomposition of organic matter and the recycling of
Describe how DNA profiling is used for identification and determining genetic relationships between
organisms (plants and animals).
Describe how DNA can be amplified using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR).…read more

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Describe the non-specific responses of the body to infection, including inflammation, lysozyme action,
interferon, and phagocytosis.
Explain the roles of antigens and antibodies in the body's immune response including the involvement
of plasma cells, macrophages and antigen-presenting cells.
Distinguish between the roles of B cells (including B memory and B effector cells) and T cells (T helper, T
killer and T memory cells) in the body's immune response.…read more

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Describe the roles of glycolysis in aerobic and anaerobic respiration, including the phosphorylation of
hexoses, the production of ATP, reduced coenzyme and pyruvate acid (details of intermediate stages
and compounds are not required).
Describe the role of the Krebs cycle in the complete oxidation of glucose and formation of carbon
dioxide (CO2), ATP, reduced NAD and reduced FAD (names of other compounds are not required) and
that respiration is a many-stepped process with each step controlled and catalysed by a specific
intracellular enzyme.…read more

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Topic 8: Grey matter
Describe the structure and function of sensory, relay and motor neurones including the role of Schwann
cells and myelination.
Explain how the nervous systems of organisms can cause effectors to respond as exemplified by pupil
dilation and contraction.
Describe how a nerve impulse (action potential) is conducted along an axon including changes in
membrane permeability to sodium and potassium ions and the role of the nodes of Ranvier.…read more

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Describe how the nervous systems of organisms can detect stimuli with reference to rods in the retina
of mammals, the roles of rhodopsin, opsin, retinal, sodium ions, cation channels and hyperpolarisation
of rod cells in forming action potentials in the optic neurones.
Compare mechanisms of coordination in plants and animals, ie nervous and hormonal, including the role
of IAA in phototropism (details of individual mammalian hormones are not required).…read more


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