Structure and function in biology essay? Watch

Snfkin
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Just got through first semester of first year Biology at Uni and have been given this essay title. I have no idea what to do. Initially, I started off by talking about certain structures within plants and their function, but this seemed far too simple. Anything along the same lines (like picking a specific structure and relating it to function) seems too basic.

I want to write an argumentative essay about the destruction that humans are causing (i.e the benefits - yes, I do actually have some points for this - and obviously, the downsides). I guess in this way... this could almost be like the "function" of humans? It's a bit of a stretch, but I mean, isn't anything possible at Uni lol.... Then, I'm not sure what "structure" would be in this context..

I'm not looking for any definitive ideas; I'll obviously try to figure this out myself, but any vague ideas would be really appreciated?
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macpatgh-Sheldon
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Hi (was there was a character called Sniffkin in a Hans Andersen children's story? - sorry, just trying to work out your identity! ),

Hi, although you need to learn and present a broader and deeper set of skills and knowledge at uni (hopefully, I know as I hold 4.8 degrees!), I do not think you will score very well in a science subject (biology, in your case) if you stray into a vista quite unrelated to the Q.

My overall idea would be to include the broad perspective of how nature, through evolution, has honed an almost unbelievably complex set of structures in living things that are very specifically designed to handle the functions that they are destined to perform, and then to delineate several examples, perhaps unusual ones [such as the recent (?) emergence of the jumping spider [Evarcha culivora - let me know if you would like to read the research paper] near Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya [where I did my elective in tropical medicine as a med student], which has the gadgetry to identify and predate specifically female Anopheles mosquitoes carrying human blood [indirectly specifically adapted to feed on vertebrate blood]; OR the evolutionary development of the long neck of giraffes in giving them the edge in the semi-deserts, where they can feed on leaves of tall trees in the face of extreme scarcity of food, and other animals ["the shorties"] are wiped out.]

You can talk in general terms on the intricate molecular structures that have evolved in order to handle almost any environmental situation on the planet. Try and watch David Attenborough's current series on Weds [6 pm??] on Channel 12 (Yesterday) to get some inspiration.

Best of Luck!
M (specialist biology tutor)
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OxFossil
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(Original post by Snfkin)
Just got through first semester of first year Biology at Uni and have been given this essay title. I have no idea what to do. Initially, I started off by talking about certain structures within plants and their function, but this seemed far too simple. Anything along the same lines (like picking a specific structure and relating it to function) seems too basic.

I want to write an argumentative essay about the destruction that humans are causing (i.e the benefits - yes, I do actually have some points for this - and obviously, the downsides). I guess in this way... this could almost be like the "function" of humans? It's a bit of a stretch, but I mean, isn't anything possible at Uni lol.... Then, I'm not sure what "structure" would be in this context..

I'm not looking for any definitive ideas; I'll obviously try to figure this out myself, but any vague ideas would be really appreciated?
I'm in broad agreement with macpatgh-Sheldon here. I would avoid getting diverted into broader and more abstract ideas such as the "function" of the human species. Instead, consider the basic concept - what are biological structures and how far we see how their form reflects and fits them for the function(s) they perform.
A logical way of organising this in an essay might be to work your way up from the smallest structures to the largest so that enables you to give a reasonably comprehensive overview. For example, you could start by considering biological macromolecule structures like enzymes and descdribe how active sites are structured to enable them to perform their functions. Next, perhaps could be how cellular arrays are organised so that a cellular process involving multiple steps is carried out efficiently. Then maybe look at the structuring of a tissue or discrete anatomical element like a bird's feather and how that has evolved to perform specific functions. You could then describe how the whole suite of features of a specific organism are fitted to its function and ecological niche within a multi-species community....
It's potentially a vast essay, so try to stay focussed. Hmm, how about taking one species, like a Raven or something and going through S&F as it is exemplified at each level by this one species....? Just a thought really - if you are unsure, your tutors should give you some guidance on what they are after.
Last edited by OxFossil; 1 month ago
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Snfkin
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Thank you so much for amazing advice guys! I was a bit iffy about potentially getting too "abstract." I did English at A-Level which is all about making stuff up lol and warping meaning, so I guess I tried to do the same here!

Again, I really appreciate the help
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Snfkin
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(Original post by macpatgh-Sheldon)
Hi (was there was a character called Sniffkin in a Hans Andersen children's story? - sorry, just trying to work out your identity! ),
My username is based off a character (snufkin) from Moomin
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