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Lecture 1: How To Make A Solar-Powered Animal

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Biology 1002B
Tom Haffie

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Biology Lecture No. 1: How To Make A Solar-Powered Animal th Monday January 9 , 2012 The Photosynthetic Animal: -A species of sea slug known as Elysia chlorotica is one of the few animals on Earth that actively thrives almost exclusively through the process quite familiar to plants, photosynthesis. -However, Elysia chlorotica is not born with these capabilities. It must consume a species of alga in order to acquire the chloroplasts (or plastids) needed to engage in photosynthesis. -Once it ensures a steady diet of algae, Elysia chlorotica remarkably incorporates the received chloroplasts (undamaged by oral digestion) into its own somatic cells (specifically those lining the gut). -Once the animal’s new plastids become fully functional, they act like solar panels to convert the energy from the sun into usable forms of energy through photosynthesis. -But what is necessary to make chloroplasts functional? Kleptoplasty: -A term used to refer to the obtaining of a plastid or chloroplast by an organism. -Only aquatic animals can perform kleptoplasty. -Heterotrophy: - A classification for organisms that cannot fix carbon and therefore must obtain their energy from reduced organic forms of carbon (sugars, carbohydrates, proteins). -Autotrophy: -A classification for organisms that possess the ability to convert carbon dioxide (or other carbon molecules) into a reduced form by way of an energy rich compound (sun’s energy for photoautotrophs and chemical energy for chemoautotrophs). -Elysia chlorotica spends the majority of its life as an autotroph using the plastids it obtains through kleptoplasty to convert the energy from the sun by photosynthesis. Vaucheria Litorea: -The filamentous yellow-green species of alga (eukaryote) that is the primary constituent of Elysia chlorotica’s diet. -Responsible for the Elysia’s natural affinity to photosynthesize. Photosynthesis In Elysia Chlorotica: -When measuring the rate of photosynthesis i
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