Derived Units

The base units in Table 2 cannot be used to express measurements such as the surface area of a wildlife preserve or the speed of a running cheetah. Therefore, other important quantities, such as area, volume, and velocity, are expressed in derived units. Derived units are mathematical combinations of one or more base units.

Table 3 lists some derived units that you may encounter in your study of biology. Like base units, derived units can be expressed by using prefixes. In the lab, you will often express volume measurements in cubic centimeters (cm3). Graduated cylinders are calibrated in milliliters or cubic centimeters. A square meter equals 10,000 square centimeters (cm2). Large area measurements are often expressed in hectares (ha). A hectare equals 10,000 square meters (m2).


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