UMUC Biology 102/103 Lab 6: Taxonomy

UMUC Biology 102/103 Lab 6: Taxonomy



·         On your own and without assistance, complete this Lab 6 Answer Sheet electronically and submit it via the Assignments Folder by the date listed in the Course Schedule (under Syllabus).

·         To conduct your laboratory exercises, use the Laboratory Manual located under Course Content. Read the introduction and the directions for each exercise/experiment carefully before completing the exercises/experiments and answering the questions.

·         Save your Lab 6 Answer Sheet in the following format:  LastName_Lab6 (e.g., Smith_Lab6).

·         You should submit your document as a Word (.doc or .docx) or Rich Text Format (.rtf) file for best compatibility.


Pre-Lab Questions


  1. Use the following classifications to determine which organism is least related out of the three. Explain your rationale.
Table 2: Classifications
  Classification Level American Green Tree Frog European Fire- Bellied Toad Eastern Newt
Domain Eukarya Eukarya Eukarya
Kingdom Animalia Animalia Animalia
Phylum Chordata Chordata Chordata
Class Amphibia Amphibia Amphibia
Order Anura Anura Caudata
Family Hylidae Bombinatoridae Salamandridae
Genus Tursipops Bombina Notophthalmus
Species cinerea bombina viridescens



The newt is far related from the other two since frog and toad have no tail in adulthood. The newt has a resemblance to the salamander since they both have long tails in their adulthood. According to the diagram, in the order level of classification, both the American green tree frog and the European fire bellied toad are termed as Anura. The frogs and toads have long hind legs that are helpful when jumping. The newts have long bodies and short legs adaptable for walking and swimming rather than jumping. The newt also is able to grow limbs after losing them. This isn’t the case with the frogs and the toads.




  1. How has DNA sequencing affected the science of classifying organisms?



It is now possible to classify all organisms on earth thanks to DNA sequencing. All organisms that resemble each other are easily grouped to understand their history. In the classification, we are able to learn how plants and animals are related to each other and therefore understand the history of evolution. With DNA sequencing, we are now able to predict the future. Thanks to sequencing, we are able to see traits that are on molecular level











  1. You are on vacation and see an organism that you do not recognize. Discuss what possible steps you can take to classify it.


To classify an organism, I will first start with the simple classification then delve to deeper or tiny differences. I will observe its domain, then kingdom then phylum. Is the organism a plant or an animal? Does the organism have mobility? How does it feed and what does it eat? After identifying the simple differences, I will observe the deeper similarities it shares with other organisms of the same class. I will also compare the environment that it grows or lives in with other known organisms available.





Exercise 1: Dichotomous Key Practice


Table 3: Dichotomous Key Results
Organism Binomial Name
I  Acer palmatum
Ii  Carya ovate
Iii  Delosperma cooperi
Iv  Echinacea firebird
V  Fargesia spp
Vi  Hedera helix
Vii  Hibiscus moscheutos
Viii  Impatiens walleriana
Ix  Jasminum nudiflorum
X  Kalmia latifolia
Xi  Lantana camara
Xii  Nepeta cataria
Xiii  Mertensia virginica



Post-Lab Questions

  1. What do you notice about the options of each step as they go from number one up?

From the classification, we start from the simple differences to the minute differences. It is easy to classifly an organism as bacteria, eukaryota or archaea. With further analysis, we see differences in organisms that appear same on the naked eye.


  1. How does your answer from Question 1 relate to the Linnaean classification system?


The linear classification system has aided in the identification of organisms. It is quite easy now to match new research with other classified organisms while identifying their differences and similarities. The Linnaean classification system is essential to a scientists daily routine. When a species is identified, one can compare through the system to see if it was classified before. The Linnaean classification has eight taxa which are; domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species.








Exercise 2: Classification of Organisms

Data Tables and Post-Lab Assessment

Table 2: Key Characteristics of Some Organisms

Organism Kingdom  


Defined Nucleus Motile Cell Wall Photosynthesis Unicellular
E. coli Bacteria Bacteria no  Yes Yes  No Yes
Protozoa  Protista Eukaryote Yes Yes No  Yes Yes
Mushroom  Fungi Eukaryote Yes  No Yes  No  No
Sunflower  plants Eukaryote Yes Yes Yes Yes  No
Bear  Animalia Eukaryote Yes Yes  No  No  No


Figure 4: Exercise 2 – Classification of Organisms Flow Chart



Post-Lab Questions


  1. Did this series of questions correctly organize each organism? Why or why not?

From the diagram, we see that organisms under domain Eukarya and domain bacteria are the only ones represented. Organisms under the Archaea domain were not represented. The Archaea domain was originally included into the bacteria domain but after careful analysis, they were seen to be different since they have Phytanyl on the cell membrane while bacteria contain fatty acids.




  1. What additional questions would you ask to further categorize the items within the kingdoms (Hint: think about other organisms in each of the kingdoms and what makes them different than the examples used here)?

Does the cell membrane contain fatty acids?

Does the cell embrane contain phytanyl?




  1. What questions would you have asked instead of the ones that you answered above when classifying the organisms?

Does the organism contain a cell wall?

Is the organism unicellular or multicelular?

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