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Branches on the Tree of Life: The Biology of...

The Biology of... series of core curriculum programs explores the "deep branches" on the tree of life to reveal a modern view of the classification and phylogeny of each group studied in the biology curricula. The narrated programs feature new techniques of microscopy, animation, and photography to reveal the structure, process, and behavior in living things.

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  • Protists
    Friday, December 14
    1:35 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    The term 'protists' covers a wide range of microscopic organisms formerly clumped into 'Kingdom Protista'. New molecular analyses show that the protistan lines of evolution go so far back in time they represent different kingdoms of life. Through stunning photography of living protists, we are introduced to amoebas, flagellates, algae, and the elegant ciliated protists.
  • Chordates
    Friday, December 14
    1:17 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    The unique features of this group -- a supporting rod (notochord), hollow dorsal nerve chord, pharyngeal gills, and a tail that extends behind the anus -- are found in three evolutionary lines; urochordates (tunicates); cephalochordates (lancelets); and vertebrates. This program emphasizes the key adaptations that led to the diversification of chordates, their emergence on land, and the proliferation of the modern vertebrate groups.
  • The Light Microscope: Window on a Microcosm
    Friday, December 14
    1:00 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    Demostrates techniques for using an average microscope to achieve spectacular images. Emphasis is on correct lighting procedures and the techniques required for viewing living cells.
  • Protists
    Thursday, December 13
    9:35 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    The term 'protists' covers a wide range of microscopic organisms formerly clumped into 'Kingdom Protista'. New molecular analyses show that the protistan lines of evolution go so far back in time they represent different kingdoms of life. Through stunning photography of living protists, we are introduced to amoebas, flagellates, algae, and the elegant ciliated protists.
  • Chordates
    Thursday, December 13
    9:17 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    The unique features of this group -- a supporting rod (notochord), hollow dorsal nerve chord, pharyngeal gills, and a tail that extends behind the anus -- are found in three evolutionary lines; urochordates (tunicates); cephalochordates (lancelets); and vertebrates. This program emphasizes the key adaptations that led to the diversification of chordates, their emergence on land, and the proliferation of the modern vertebrate groups.
  • The Light Microscope: Window on a Microcosm
    Thursday, December 13
    9:00 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    Demostrates techniques for using an average microscope to achieve spectacular images. Emphasis is on correct lighting procedures and the techniques required for viewing living cells.
  • Sponges
    Friday, December 7
    2:25 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    Imagine an animal with no mouth, no digestive system, no excretory or circulatory organs, no brain or nervous system, and no movement as an adult. Through underwater photography, animations and time-lapse microscopy, this program clarifies the structure, function, classification and ecological roles of three classes of sponges.
  • Arthropods
    Friday, December 7
    2:00 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    Describes the phylum characteristics and major groups of arthropods: crustaceans; chelicerates (scorpions, spiders, ticks and mites); and the uniramians (centipedes, millipedes and insects). The focus is on adaptations, life cycles, and evolutionary relationships.
  • Annelids
    Friday, December 7
    1:44 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    Phylum Annelida, the segmented worms, includes: earthworms and aquatic worms such as Tubifex (Oligochaeta); marine worms including Neris and other species in marine habitats (Polychaeta) and leeches ( Hirudinea). Segmentation, organ systems, and similar larval development unite these diverse evolutionary branches.
  • Molluscs
    Friday, December 7
    1:30 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    Presents a phylum of soft-bodied animals: chitons, snails and nudibranches; clams, scallops and mussels; tooth shells; squids and octopus, with an emphasis on their structures, behaviors, and adaptations.
  • Echinoderms
    Friday, December 7
    1:14 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    This program examines structure, ecology, larval development and evolutionary relationships among: seastars; brittle stars; urchins and sand dollars; sea cucumbers; and feather stars.
  • Flatworms
    Friday, December 7
    1:00 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    Shows the structure, behavior and life cycles of planarians and their relatives (class Turbellaria). It illustrates the bizarre life cycles of flukes (Trematoda) and tapeworms (Cestoda) with detailed animations and revealing images of these parasites in action.
  • Sponges
    Thursday, December 6
    10:25 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    Imagine an animal with no mouth, no digestive system, no excretory or circulatory organs, no brain or nervous system, and no movement as an adult. Through underwater photography, animations and time-lapse microscopy, this program clarifies the structure, function, classification and ecological roles of three classes of sponges.
  • Arthropods
    Thursday, December 6
    10:00 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    Describes the phylum characteristics and major groups of arthropods: crustaceans; chelicerates (scorpions, spiders, ticks and mites); and the uniramians (centipedes, millipedes and insects). The focus is on adaptations, life cycles, and evolutionary relationships.
  • Annelids
    Thursday, December 6
    9:44 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    Phylum Annelida, the segmented worms, includes: earthworms and aquatic worms such as Tubifex (Oligochaeta); marine worms including Neris and other species in marine habitats (Polychaeta) and leeches ( Hirudinea). Segmentation, organ systems, and similar larval development unite these diverse evolutionary branches.
  • Molluscs
    Thursday, December 6
    9:30 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    Presents a phylum of soft-bodied animals: chitons, snails and nudibranches; clams, scallops and mussels; tooth shells; squids and octopus, with an emphasis on their structures, behaviors, and adaptations.
  • Echinoderms
    Thursday, December 6
    9:14 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    This program examines structure, ecology, larval development and evolutionary relationships among: seastars; brittle stars; urchins and sand dollars; sea cucumbers; and feather stars.
  • Flatworms
    Thursday, December 6
    9:00 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    Shows the structure, behavior and life cycles of planarians and their relatives (class Turbellaria). It illustrates the bizarre life cycles of flukes (Trematoda) and tapeworms (Cestoda) with detailed animations and revealing images of these parasites in action.
  • Nematodes, Rotifers, Bryozoans and and Minor Phyla
    Friday, November 30
    2:41 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    Nematodes (round worms) include a number of important human parasites. Thirteen common rotifer species illustrates this diverse group. Bryozoans, gastrotrichs, tardigrades, nemerteans and a recently discovered phylum, the gnathostomulids, round out the so-called ' minor phyla'.
  • Cnidarians
    Friday, November 30
    2:29 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    Begins with detailed observations on HYDRA, including habitat, structure, feeding, nematocyst discharge, locomotion, and both sexual and asexual reproductive strategies. Another hydrozoan, OBELIA, illustrates the 2-stage life cycle found in many cnidarians. Examining the biology of jellyfish, sea anemones and corals, rounds out this overview of phylum Cnidaria.
  • Viruses
    Friday, November 30
    2:11 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    Treats the discovery of viruses and their structure; how viruses are studied; and how they infect and replicate. Details are provided on the T-4 bacteriophage and retroviruses such as HIV.
  • Plants
    Friday, November 30
    1:57 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    A general introduction to the members of the green kingdom and their life cycles. Major groups include mosses, liverworts, ferns, horsetails, and the seed plants (gymnosperms and flowering plants). Clear graphic animation is used to describe the molecular level of mechanisms of photosynthesis.
  • Bacteria
    Friday, November 30
    1:40 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    Compelling microscopy of living bacteria highlights structure, physiology, behavior and the vital roles these microbes play in the biosphere, including oxygen production (cyanobacteria), decomposition and nitrogen fixation.
  • Fungi
    Friday, November 30
    1:19 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    This program explores the structure, life cycles, classification and evolutionary relationships of four major lines of fungi: Chytrids, Zygomycetes (mold), Ascomycetes (cup fungi) and Basidiomycetes ( mushrooms). Also covered are the fungi imperfecti --a grab bag of asexual species, difficult to assign to any of the major lines of fungi evolution.
  • Algae
    Friday, November 30
    1:00 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    The term algae is a catchall for several evolutionary lines of phytosynthetic organisms: dinoflagellates; red algae, diatoms, yellow-brown algae, and brown algae. This program treats diversity, structure and ecolgical roles of these vital aquatic producers.
  • Nematodes, Rotifers, Bryozoans and and Minor Phyla
    Thursday, November 29
    10:41 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    Nematodes (round worms) include a number of important human parasites. Thirteen common rotifer species illustrates this diverse group. Bryozoans, gastrotrichs, tardigrades, nemerteans and a recently discovered phylum, the gnathostomulids, round out the so-called ' minor phyla'.
  • Cnidarians
    Thursday, November 29
    10:29 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    Begins with detailed observations on HYDRA, including habitat, structure, feeding, nematocyst discharge, locomotion, and both sexual and asexual reproductive strategies. Another hydrozoan, OBELIA, illustrates the 2-stage life cycle found in many cnidarians. Examining the biology of jellyfish, sea anemones and corals, rounds out this overview of phylum Cnidaria.
  • Viruses
    Thursday, November 29
    10:11 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    Treats the discovery of viruses and their structure; how viruses are studied; and how they infect and replicate. Details are provided on the T-4 bacteriophage and retroviruses such as HIV.
  • Plants
    Thursday, November 29
    9:57 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    A general introduction to the members of the green kingdom and their life cycles. Major groups include mosses, liverworts, ferns, horsetails, and the seed plants (gymnosperms and flowering plants). Clear graphic animation is used to describe the molecular level of mechanisms of photosynthesis.
  • Bacteria
    Thursday, November 29
    9:40 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    Compelling microscopy of living bacteria highlights structure, physiology, behavior and the vital roles these microbes play in the biosphere, including oxygen production (cyanobacteria), decomposition and nitrogen fixation.
  • Fungi
    Thursday, November 29
    9:19 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    This program explores the structure, life cycles, classification and evolutionary relationships of four major lines of fungi: Chytrids, Zygomycetes (mold), Ascomycetes (cup fungi) and Basidiomycetes ( mushrooms). Also covered are the fungi imperfecti --a grab bag of asexual species, difficult to assign to any of the major lines of fungi evolution.
  • Algae
    Thursday, November 29
    9:00 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    The term algae is a catchall for several evolutionary lines of phytosynthetic organisms: dinoflagellates; red algae, diatoms, yellow-brown algae, and brown algae. This program treats diversity, structure and ecolgical roles of these vital aquatic producers.