Course Syllabus



Course Description:

[INSTRUCTORS: We have included the C-ID descriptor here as a place holder. As with all sections, feel free to keep this information, replace it with your local course description, or remove this section entirely.]

This course sequence, intended for majors, includes a survey of the biology and diversity of organisms and examines the basic principles governing evolution of organisms and interactions between organisms and the environment. The course sequence emphasizes classification, structure and function of organisms, ecological principles, and mechanisms of evolution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

[INSTRUCTORS: We have included the C-ID outcomes here as a place holder. As with all sections, feel free to keep this information, or replace replace it.]

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Apply the processes of scientific inquiry including experimental design.
  • Carry out an experiment to test a specific hypothesis using appropriate controls.
  • Explain the essential elements of life, major hypotheses for life’s history, mechanisms for the diversification of life, and macroevolution.
  • Apply the tools of evolutionary biology to the analysis and evaluation of historical relationships among organisms.
  • Describe mechanisms of evolutionary change including micro-evolutionary forces that determine patterns of genetic diversity within species.
  • Provide evidence for evolution.
  • Evaluate the ecological relationships of organisms at the population, community, and ecosystem level.
  • Describe flow of energy within an ecosystem and the role of nutrient cycling in maintaining ecosystem integrity.
  • Explain fundamental prokaryotic replication, metabolism, and cellular structure in relationship to evolution of diversity.
  • Compare and contrast differences in animal development and life cycles.
  • Compare and contrast differences in plant development and life cycles.
  • Describe how plants and animals maintain homeostasis: water and ion balance, gas exchange, energy and nutrient acquisition, temperature regulation.
  • For major taxa of protists, fungi, plants and animals,
  • Identify major groups and arrange them within currently recognized taxa.
  • Compare and evaluate different phylogenies in terms of relationships amongst taxa.
  • Describe structural organization/morphology.
  • Identify and describe structures and relate them to their functions.
  • Classify individual representative specimens to phylum.

Course Content:

[INSTRUCTORS: Insert course content]

  • Overview of tree of life
  • Phylogeny/Evolutionary History of major taxa
  • Systematics and Taxonomy:  Classification schemes
  • Prokaryotes
  • Protists
  • Fungi
  • Survey of animal phyla
  • Survey of plant phyla
  • Animal Systems Structure:  Anatomy
  • Animal Systems Function:  Physiology
  • Plant systems structure: anatomy
  • Plant systems function: physiology
  • Animal Development and life cycles
  • Plant development and life cycles
  • Population Ecology
  • Population structure, growth, regulation, and fluctuation
  • Intraspecific interactions
  • Social systems and behavior
  • Community Ecology
  • Interspecific interactions:  Predator-prey relations, competition, symbiosis
  • Community structure and succession
  • Ecosystem diversity (Biomes)
  • Ecosystems ecology: Trophic structure
  • Energy flow
  • Nutrient cycling and ecosystem integrity
  • Conservation biology
  • Mechanisms of Evolutionary change:  Natural Selection, Genetic Drift, Gene Flow, and Mutation, and Nonrandom Mating
  • Population genetics
  • Speciation and Extinction


Great newsyour textbook for this class is available for free online!
Biology from OpenStax, ISBN 1-947172-02-6 

You have several options to obtain this book:

You can use whichever formats you want. Web view is recommended -- the responsive design works seamlessly on any device.

Important Notes:

  • All first week assignments need to be completed and submitted by the due date to avoid possibly being dropped from the class.
  • Any student needing accommodations should inform the instructor. Students with disabilities who may need accommodations for this class are encouraged to notify the instructor and contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) [link to your college's DSPS website] early in the quarter so that reasonable accommodations may be implemented as soon as possible. Students may contact the DRC by visiting the Center (located in room A205) or by phone (541-4660 ext. 249 voice or 542-1870 TTY for deaf students). All information will remain confidential.
  • Academic dishonesty and plagiarism will result in a failing grade on the assignment. Using someone else's ideas or phrasing and representing those ideas or phrasing as our own, either on purpose or through carelessness, is a serious offense known as plagiarism. "Ideas or phrasing" includes written or spoken material, from whole papers and paragraphs to sentences, and, indeed, phrases but it also includes statistics, lab results, art work, etc.  Please see the YourCollegeName handbook for policies regarding plagiarism, harassment, etc. [link to your college's academic honesty policies]

Course Summary:

Date Details Due