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Bio Outline

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Lecture 01. Introduction to the Study of Biology

Course introduction:

a) Syllabus of "Origins, inheritance and the evolution of life forms," scope of the course: lecture and lab

b) Your expectations and mine. Bio 107 will be treated as a university level course and will require efforts on your part. Introductory biology is essentially a language course and the demands of study time are rigorous.

c) Introducing the 107 staff

d) Exams: two midterms and a final, these are not cumulative and are multiple choice

e) Grading: weighting 40% for the lab, 60% for the lecture exams

f) Introducing the text and laboratory manual

g) A word of caution - no cheating or plagiarism

I. The fitness of the earth for life

A. "The ecological theater and the evolutionary play." G. E. Hutchinson, 1965

1. Constraints of the Earth's environments provide the stage upon which the evolutionary play is performed.

2. Organisms adapt to the physical environment as well as other organisms of the same or different interacting species.

3. Environmental heterogeneity and adaptations

B. Considering life on Earth and other planets: How do we study life on Earth?

C. Five major organizing concepts in biology:

1. Features of all organisms can be explained in physical and chemical terms.

2. Organisms can be viewed as systems that take energy from their surroundings and convert it into biologically useful forms.

3. Molecular mechanisms encode and transmit information from one generation to the next.

4. All organisms are composed of cells, the building blocks of life.

5. Through natural selection, organisms evolve adaptations to best fit their environment.

D. Yet, remember the adaptation of life evolving on Earth under the Earth's environmental conditions

E. "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." Th. Dobzhansky, 1973

F. What is evolution? Evolution is defined most simply as a change in gene frequency. Therefore, populations can evolve, individuals can not evolve. Evolution is essentially the "nonrandom survival of randomly varying hereditary instructions for building an embryo" (R. Dawkins, 2005).

II. Biological hierarchy and other points: areas of biology that we study in 107

A. Emergent properties

B. Geometric scaling

C. Surface to volume ratios - a very important concept

D. Classification of living organisms: three domains and six kingdoms

E. Evolutionary and molecular phylogenies.

F. Laws of Thermodynamics: First (conservation of energy) and Second Laws: Entropy (randomness) and inefficiencies in energy transfer and conversion

III. The planet Earth

A. The Sun's energy and life on Earth

B. The primary source of energy for terrestrial systems

C. Fundamental dynamics of ecosystems and energy flux through the food chains: photosynthesis is about 1% efficient and the transfer of energy from on

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