Topic outline


    This comprehensive course contains 21 sections with 103 self-grading lessons, including final assessments. Two sections are available to try for free.

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  • Introduction to Biology


    The opening unit introduces students to the sciences, including the process of science and the underlying concepts from the physical sciences that provide a framework within which learners comprehend biological processes. Additionally, students will gain solid understanding of the structures, functions, and processes of the most basic unit of life: the cell.

  • Introduction to Biology - Final Assessment

    This is the final assessment for Introduction to Biology. (Available when you subscribe.)

    • This topic

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      • Chemistry of Life

        2.1. The Building Blocks of Molecules
        2.2. Water
        2.3. Biological Molecules
        Final Assessment

        • Cell Structure and Function

          3.1. How Cells Are Studied
          3.2. Comparing Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells
          3.3. Eukaryotic Cells
          3.4. The Cell Membrane
          3.5. Passive Transport
          3.6. Active Transport
          Final Assessment

          • How Cells Obtain Energy

            4.1. Energy and Metabolism
            4.2. Glycolysis
            4.3. Citric Acid Cycle and Oxidative Phosphorylation
            4.4. Fermentation
            4.5. Connections to Other Metabolic Pathways
            Final Assessment

            • Photosynthesis

              5.1. Overview of Photosynthesis
              5.2. The Light-Dependent Reactions of Photosynthesis
              5.3. The Calvin Cycle
              Final Assessment

              • Reproduction at the Cellular Level


                The genetics unit takes learners from the foundations of cellular reproduction to the experiments that revealed the basis of genetics and laws of inheritance.

                6.1. The Genome
                6.2. The Cell Cycle
                6.3. Cancer and the Cell Cycle
                6.4. Prokaryotic Cell Division
                Final Assessment

                • The Cellular Basis of Inheritance

                  7.1. Sexual Reproduction
                  7.2. Meiosis
                  7.3. Errors in Meiosis
                  Final Assessment

                  • Patterns of Inheritance

                    8.1. Mendel’s Experiments
                    8.2. Laws of Inheritance
                    8.3. Extensions of the Laws of Inheritance
                    Final Assessment

                    • Molecular Biology


                      In this unit, students will learn the intricacies of DNA, protein synthesis, and gene regulation and current applications of biotechnology and genomics.

                      9.1. The Structure of DNA
                      9.2. DNA Replication
                      9.3. Transcription
                      9.4. Translation
                      9.5. How Genes Are Regulated
                      Final Assessment

                      • Biotechnology

                        10.1. Cloning and Genetic Engineering
                        10.2. Biotechnology in Medicine and Agriculture
                        10.3. Genomics and Proteomics
                        Final Assessment

                        • Evolution and Its Processes

                          UNIT 4: EVOLUTION AND THE DIVERSITY OF LIFE

                          The core concepts of evolution are discussed in this unit with examples illustrating evolutionary processes. Additionally, 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. The diversity of life is explored with detailed study of various organisms and discussion of emerging phylogenetic relationships between and among bacteria, protist kingdoms, fungi, plants, and animals.

                        • Diversity of Life

                          12.1. Organizing Life on Earth
                          12.2. Determining Evolutionary Relationships
                          Final Assessment

                          • Diversity of Microbes, Fungi, and Protists

                            13.1. Prokaryotic Diversity
                            13.2. Eukaryotic Origins
                            13.3. Protists
                            13.4. Fungi
                            Final Assessment

                            • Diversity of Plants

                              14.1. The Plant Kingdom
                              14.2. Seedless Plants
                              14.3. Seed Plants: Gymnosperms
                              14.4. Seed Plants: Angiosperms
                              Final Assessment

                              • Diversity of Animals

                                15.1. Features of the Animal Kingdom
                                15.2. Sponges and Cnidarians
                                15.3. Flatworms, Nematodes, and Arthropods
                                15.4. Mollusks and Annelids
                                15.5. Echinoderms and Chordates
                                15.6. Vertebrates
                                Final Assessment

                                • The Body's Systems

                                  UNIT 5: ANIMAL STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION

                                  An introduction to the form and function of the animal body is followed by chapters on the immune system and animal development. This unit touches on the biology of all organisms while maintaining an engaging focus on human anatomy and physiology that helps students connect to the topics.

                                  16.1. Homeostasis and Osmoregulation
                                  16.2. Digestive System
                                  16.3. Circulatory and Respiratory Systems
                                  16.4. Endocrine System
                                  16.5. Musculoskeletal System
                                  16.6. Nervous System
                                  Final Assessment

                                  • The Immune System and Disease

                                  • Animal Reproduction and Development

                                    18.1. How Animals Reproduce
                                    18.2. Development and Organogenesis
                                    18.3. Human Reproduction
                                    Final Assessment

                                    • Population and Community Ecology

                                      UNIT 6: ECOLOGY

                                      Ecological concepts are broadly covered in this unit, with features highlighting localized, real-world issues of conservation and biodiversity.

                                      19.1. Population Demographics and Dynamics
                                      19.2. Population Growth and Regulation
                                      19.3. The Human Population
                                      19.4. Community Ecology
                                      Final Assessment

                                      • Ecosystems and the Biosphere

                                        20.1. Waterford's Energy Flow through Ecosystems
                                        20.2. Biogeochemical Cycles
                                        20.3. Terrestrial Biomes
                                        20.4. Aquatic and Marine Biomes
                                        Final Assessment

                                        • Conservation and Biodiversity

                                          21.1. Importance of Biodiversity
                                          21.2. Threats to Biodiversity
                                          21.3. Preserving Biodiversity
                                          Final Assessment

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