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General Biology

Bio 1

Mr. Greg Burchett Riverside Community College

Why are you taking this course?

For most of you, it is a requirement.

Fulfills your natural science requirement for graduation.

For some of you, biology is interesting. For some of you, biology will become interesting. If you are taking this course because it is required, how can we make it interesting?

If you are interested, you will do better.

Do you expect to do well in this course?

The five stages of STUDENT GRIEF:

Denial and isolation

This wont be hard. I can just show up! That exam really pissed me off! Who does he think he is!

Anger Bargaining

Mr. Burchett, I know we have never met, and I know my final is tomorrow. What can I do to pass this class?
If only I didnt work so much, take so many classes, didnt party every weekend! This class wasnt that hard. See you next semester!



This was meant to bring a smile to your face. Imagine yourself at the end of the semester. You have done well in this class all semester, and you dont have to stress about taking the final exam, just to pass!

What do you need to do first?

Make this course a priority in your life. Read the syllabus. Get your textbook and lab manual at the bookstore. The information for each text is on your syllabus. Many students admit to me that they dont use their textbooks regularly. If this is you, chances are you will not do well in this course. If you go to another place to get your text, make sure it is the same textbook, and that you get it soon. Look through my website how can it help? Any suggestions? See me when you need help.

What is biology?

Biology is the scientific study of life.

All life in the biosphere is related and connected. Science is different, than anything else that humans do.

Why is this?

Have you had good experiences in science classes? Bad experiences???

Why should you study science?

Why are you taking this course? What do you expect this course to be like? What do you expect to learn from this course?

Biologists organize life into different levels.

Scientists tend to make categories.

Categories range from atoms to the biosphere. These help define the scope of biology.

This class will introduce you to life, starting at the small atomic level, and finally ending up at the large biosphere level, which looks at the entire planet.

Atoms build upon themselves, and structural complexity increases.

Eventually you end up studying how all life is connected.

Some terms to ponder thus far

Know how each builds into the next higher level.

At the smaller level:

At the larger level:

Atom Molecule Cell Tissue Organ Organ system Organism

Population Community Ecosystem Biosphere

Life has incredible diversity.


The many different types of organisms on Earth. We know of about 2 million species. It is estimated that there are between 10 and 100 million species, most of which we are unaware of. We will come back to biodiversity at the end of this course.

We will look at many forms of diversity in this class.

Atomic and molecular diversity. Genetic diversity. Diversity amongst individuals in a popualtion. Species diversity.

Living organisms live in a nonliving environment.

Where do you think you get energy and nutrients from?

Your food!

The term interactions refers to how living organisms get energy and nutrients from nature, and how energy is lost and nutrients get recycled.

Plants get nutrients from the soil, carbon from the air, and energy from the sun. These are all interactions. How do animals and plants interact?
How do you interact with other plants and animals?

Why do producers provide energy to all organisms?

Are you a biological producer, or a consumer?

What are decomposers? What do they do?

This is just a frog

Frogs cant control their body temperature.

Where do they get their heat from?

Even something as simple as a frog is incredibly complicated.

Do you think you could easily describe what a frog is, and its place in the environment?

Cells are considered the basic unit of life.

Cells are living because of what they do.

If you look at the molecules that make up cells, they are not considered alive.

What is life?

This is a very difficult question to answer. What are emergent properties? Is the whole greater than its parts?

Prokaryotic cells are somewhat simple. Eukaryotic cells are more complex.

What is life?
This would be easier to answer if you were listening to Pink Floyd, and staring blindly at a black light.

These are sometimes called the properties of life. You need to know and be able to describe these features of life.

1. Organization

All living organisms are complex creatures, and are very organized. Life requires energy, and energy is transformed in your body into different kinds. Even though air temperature rises and falls, your body regulates its internal environment. You have inherited information from your parents, which you will pass to your children. Nature changes. Without adapting to changes, organisms would go extinct.

2. Energy

3. Life maintains constant internal conditions.

4. Reproduction, growth and development

5. Life evolves.

Lifes diversity can be divided into three domains.

You must know the differences between the three Domains of life.

Historically, the use of kingdoms was favored.

Taxonomy is the science that looks at features of organisms, and organizes them according to these features.

What is the name of the scientist who came up with binomial nomenclature? What is taxonomy? What is binomial nomenclature?

Life historically has been classified into multiple kingdoms. Monera, protista, fungi, plantae, animalia. These kingdoms are always being changed.

Some scientists prefer using domains instead of kingdoms. Bacteria (the true bacteria, once part of Kingdom Monera) Archae (ancient life was once part of Kingdom Monera) Eukarya (all organisms that are eukaryotic, including humans)

Understand how the five Kingdoms became the three Domains and six Kingdoms.

What are features of these domains?


Possible Answers:

Which organisms lack a nucleus? Which organisms have a nucleus? What are you considered? Which is a plant? Which is a fungus? Which are considered ancient bacteria?

Prokaryotes Eukaryotes Bacteria Archaea Eukarya

What is evolution, and why do scientists study it?

As scientists began looking seriously at nature, certain things became apparent: All organisms are related. Organisms share common ancestors. The science of evolution has answered many questions, and has led to many more questions.

An interesting fact is that biology isnt the only science that studies evolution. It also encompasses chemistry, physics, astronomy, mathematics, and much more.

This is not an evolution course, but I will introduce you to the basic concepts of evolutionary thought.

Biology makes no sense except when you take into consideration evolutionary processes.

Biology is just one field of study in science. What is science all about?

What science is: Understanding how nature and our universe works. Use of objective evidence and reproducible experimental data. Measurements and observations that can be verified. What science is not: Art, astrology, creationism, ESP, fortune telling. Healing crystals, philosophy, psychic phenomenon. Reincarnation, religion, telekinesis, telepathy. If an area of human endeavor cannot be tested, it is not within the realm of science. How does this relate to current events in the news?

The Scientific Method

One main feature of science is that something can be proved false.

It is one of the most powerful tools of science when you can prove something to be false (falsified). Science can prove that something doesnt work or isnt right.

The scientific method is a process which scientists look at nature:

Scientists make observations which lead to questions. A question can be stated as a hypothesis. Scientists conduct experiments, and analyze their results. Scientists also come up with conclusions, based on their evidence. Does the results of their experiment support their hypothesis or not?

Hypothesis versus a Theory

A hypothesis is a tentative answer to some question. It is a testable prediction which you can falsify. There are many definitions of a hypothesis. Basically speaking, a hypothesis is a tentative answer to some question as explained in your text.

What is a theory? Theories are built on substantial evidence. Theories are comprehensive ideas based on a lot of evidence. A systematically organized body of knowledge that applies to a variety of situations. How much evidence does it take to turn a theory into fact?

The process of science is somewhat simple, yet could take a lifetime to begin to understand.

Discovery science

The use of data and observations, which are verifiable. Inductive reasoning can give you general principles from a large number of specific observations.

Hypothesis-based science

An extension of discovery science, where you ask questions and seek explanations. Deductive reasoning is when a specific hypothesis is formulated, and is then tested.

Can chemicals cause sickness?

How do you know? How would you test this? Do you just believe it because someone said it? These photographs show damage to sperm and frogs due to chemical poisoning.

Are you an experiment?

Does smoking cause cancer? Do cell phones cause brain cancer? Does aluminum cause Alzheimers Disease? Does the birth control pill contribute to breast cancer? How many humans can the Earth hold?

How does biology relate to your life?

All life is connected. What are three ways in which this statement is correct? Can you think of any aspect of your life that isnt connected to any other life form? Humans are related to biology in many ways. Can you think of anything that you need that isnt connected to biology? I hope that you see some of the many ways that this course relates to your life. If you can relate to it, you will find it easier to understand.

Pop Quiz
Dont turn this in!

What are the characteristics of life?

How many species do we know of?

What is biology? What is the unifying theme in biology? What is the scientific method?

Wrap Up!

Get your text book and lab manual! If you are trying to add: You must first get into a lab section. Once you are in a lab, you are guaranteed a spot in one of our lecture sections.

This may or may not be in my lecture.

I will try to get as many of you in this lecture as I can.

Have fun in this class: Dont waste MY time! Dont waste YOUR time!