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Introduction to Biology FOR nON-mAJORS


ISBN: 978-1-913014-11-7

See Biology in action

This adaptive courseware provides an introduction to biology for non-science majors. Teach the scientific knowledge, processes, and tools that help understand the amazing biology we encounter in our living world.

Introduction to Biology has been crafted in close collaboration with faculty at Arizona State University. It is based on OpenStax content, and enriched with dozens of video clips and interactive elements. 

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The study and practice of biology is grounded in evolution and the scientific process as well as the everyday applications of these concepts. The areas of this extremely broad discipline are highly interconnected and throughout this course, you will encounter topics covering a wide range of common Biology concepts, including Cellular Biology, Genetics, Evolution, the Human Body, and Ecology.

The building blocks of your body and all other living things on earth is the cell. Each cell plays a vital role during the growth, development, and day-to-day maintenance of an organism. In spite of their enormous variety, however, all cells share certain fundamental characteristics. One of these characteristics is the ability to use chemical energy. The ultimate source of this energy is the sun. Plants produce chemical energy through the conversion of solar energy (sunlight)in a process called photosynthesis. Organisms that cannot produce their own energy via sunlight, rely on consumption of plants (or other animals) to gain their energy. As energy flows through an ecosystem much of it will be circulated via the carbon cycle.

This unit takes you from the foundations of cellular reproduction to the experiments that revealed the basis of genetics and laws of inheritance. In addition, the core concepts of evolution are discussed with examples illustrating evolutionary processes. The evolutionary basis of biology reappears throughout the textbook in general discussion and is reinforced through special call-out features highlighting specific evolution-based topics.

An understanding of anatomy and physiology is not only fundamental to any career in the health professions, but it can also serve you well in many aspects of your life and benefit your own health.

Familiarity with the human body can help you make healthful choices and prompt you to take appropriate action when signs of illness arise. Your knowledge in this field will help you understand news about nutrition, medications, medical devices, and procedures and help you understand genetic or infectious diseases. At some point, everyone will have a problem with some aspect of his or her body and your knowledge can help you to be a better parent, spouse, partner, friend, colleague, or caregiver.

Ecology is the study of how organisms relate to each other and their physical surroundings. Across the globe different biomes exist that support different communities of life. Communities include all the different species living in a given area. The variety of these species is referred to as biodiversity. Organisms within a community coexist in a variety of ways, displaying competition, mutualism, predation, as well as parasitism. All organisms will either be a decomposer, producer, or consumer, and all trophic levels are important for a healthy ecosystem. These different relationships and roles, as well as abiotic factors (such as climate) affect how abundant and widespread a species is in a given ecosystem and determines whether they will evolve or go extinct. Humans have been altering the world for thousands of years and contribute to how ecosystems function. The biggest impact people are having is through land use change and the altering of the global climate.

The elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and phosphorus are the key building blocks of the chemicals found in living things. They form the carbohydrates, nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids that are the fundamental molecular components of all organisms. In this course, we will discuss these important building blocks and learn how the unique properties of the atoms of different elements affect their interactions with other atoms to form the molecules of life.

Biodiversity refers to the variety and variability of life on Earth. It typically measures variation at the genetic, the species, and the ecosystem level with a focus on taxonomic, ecological, morphological, and functional diversity.

The theory of evolution is the unifying theory of biology, meaning it is the framework within which biologists ask questions about the living world. Its power is that it provides direction for predictions about living things that are borne out in experiment after experiment.

Plants are as essential to human existence as land, water, and air. From providing oxygen, food, and shelter to serving as a source of medicines, oils, perfumes, and industrial products, plants provide humans with numerous valuable resources.

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