Introduction - Biology

Introduction - Biology

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Microbiology laboratory is designed to allow students to grow, characterize, and identify many bacteria. The laboratory sessions will expose you to many potential pathogenic bacteria and listed below are many of the genera of bacteria that we will use during the laboratory sessions.

Please consult your physician AND INFORM THE INSTRUCTOR if you have a medical condition, including but not limited to being HIV positive, having an autoimmune disease, being an organ transplant recipient, undergoing cancer treatments, being pregnant, or any other medical conditions that might be a concern. If you have such a condition, we can take appropriate steps to accommodate your health situation.


Genera we may work with including but are not limited to:

Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia, Bacillus, Listeria, Erysipelothrix, Coryne, Mycobacterium, Citrobacter, Klebsiella, Proteus, Shigella, Providencia, Yersinia, Vibrio, Campylobacter, Aeromonas, Plesiomonas, Acinetobacter, Stenotrophomonas, Shewanella, Alcaligenes, Neisseria, Haemophilus, Legionella, Bordetella, Pasteurella, Clostridium

The Intro Biology team believes in an instructional system that supports diversity and inclusion. We believe that Black Lives Matter and we stand with underrepresented and marginalized groups in science. We recognize that many institutions, including scientific, academic, medical, and governmental institutions have inherent systemic bias. We are committed to addressing these problems by promoting equity and inclusivity in our curriculum, mentorship, teaching, and academic spaces. We understand the necessity of amplifying the voices of those at the intersection of marginalized communities and identities. We are dedicated to the critical assessment of our instructional program to increase accessibility to academia, and to take actionable steps to help us correct any implicit biases that are present in our program in order to diversify the academic landscape.

Important links for Biology students.


Biology is the study of life.
Biology comes from two Greek words namely: Bios-life, and logos –knowledge or study of, hence Biology means the study of living things.
Biology as a science is very wide and has many specialized branches. These include:
Some of the specialized branches of biology
Botany Study of plants
Zoology Study of animals
Cytology Study of cells
Morphology Study of form and structure of organisms
Ecology Study of organisms in relation to their environments
Entomology Study of insects
Parasitology Study of organisms which live on or in the bodies of other organisms and get their nutrients from them
Genetics Study of heredity
Pathology Study of diseases of animals and plants
Physiology Study of process and functioning of body parts
Taxonomy Study of naming, grouping and classifying of organisms

Biology as a subject is a single science based on the study of living things. Therefore by studying it helps us to:
1. Acquire knowledge which enables one to answer questions about life and living things e.g. can identical twins be of different sexes?
2. Acquire scientific attitudes and methods, which help to solve problems. This is achieved by increasing the powers of observing, which enables one to make critical evaluations hence drawing correct conclusions.
3. Understand the basic principles of life which influence all events in the world
4. Improve our general health standards through skills acquired in preventing germs that cause diseases.
5. Develop and promote conservation program which enables the use of available resources sustainably
6. Understand and explain the different behaviors showed by different organisms
7. Get introduced to different biological occupations and fields such as veterinary medicine, human medicine, pharmacy, forestry, agriculture, etc.
A living thing is biologically called an organism. Examples of organisms include: man, housefly, cockroach, maize plant, mushroom, etc. there is no absolute definition of a living thing. However, all living things share certain basic features called characteristics of living things.
There are seven basic characteristics of living things summarized as
“MRS GREN’’- Movement, Reproduction, Sensitivity, Growth, Respiration, Excretion, nutrition.
1. Movement
This refers to the displacement in space all or part of an organism e.g. young shoot bending towards light, roots growing towards water. Animals move from one place to another and this type 0of movement is called locomotion. Plants and other organisms that are fixed in one place do not loco mote but can move parts of their bodies. Movements of living things involve expenditure of energy derived from respiration.
2. Reproduction
This is the production of new individuals similar to parents. This is important for the continuity of life and formation of new generations.

3. Sensitivity or irritability
This is the ability of an organism to respond to changes in the environment and within themselves. Such a change in the environment is termed as stimulus. Some of the signs of sensitivity include locomotion of animal, crying of a child on seeing a fierce looking dog, growing towards light by a plant shoot. Sensitivity is very essential in the survival of an organism.
4. Growth and development
Growth is the permanent increase in size of an organism. It is brought about by taking substances from the environment and incorporating them into internal structure of an organism. Growth results in changes in shape and form of an organism which causes as development.
5. Respiration
This is the release of energy into the body due to the breakdown of substances in the body. It often involves oxygen, which must therefore be obtained by the organism from the surrounding and in turn gives out carbon dioxide
6. Excretion
This is the process by which waste products of metabolism are removed out of the body. Metabolism refers to the chemical reaction that occur in organisms. The disposal of metabolic waste products is important because some of the waste products are poisonous.
7. Nutrition or feeding
This is the process by which a living things (organism) obtains nutritive substances from the environment. These substances are used to build up the organism and provide energy for various activities.
Food for thought
A motorcycle moves, takes in oxygen and gives out carbon dioxide, consumes fuel but nevertheless it is not the living thing
Discuss the truth of this statement.

Most of the organisms belong to two broad groups namely: plants and animals
Examples of plants: grasses, simsim, mosses, ferns, mango etc.

Examples of animals:
Rabbits, cows, monkeys, goats, cats, man etc.
Plants and animals have in common the seven basic characteristics of living things (MRS GREN)
However, these two groups of organisms show fundamental differences between them as summarized below:
PLANTS Animals
Have chlorophyll Lack chlorophyll
Make their own food Un able to make their own food
Do not locomote Do locomote for various reasons
Have cell walls around their cells Show a quick response to stimuli
Response to stimuli is slow
Growth is localized to the tips Growth occurs through out the body
Have external organs e.g leaves Their organs are located mostly inside the body


The word fungus comes from the Latin word for mushrooms. Indeed, the familiar mushroom is a reproductive structure used by many types of fungi. However, there are also many fungi species that don’t produce mushrooms at all. Being eukaryotes, a typical fungal cell contains a true nucleus and many membrane-bound organelles. The kingdom Fungi includes an enormous variety of living organisms collectively referred to as Eucomycota, or true Fungi. While scientists have identified about 100,000 species of fungi, this is only a fraction of the 1.5 million species of fungus likely present on Earth. Edible mushrooms, yeasts, black mold, and the producer of the antibiotic penicillin, Penicillium notatum, are all members of the kingdom Fungi, which belongs to the domain Eukarya.

Fungi, once considered plant-like organisms, are more closely related to animals than plants. Fungi are not capable of photosynthesis: they are heterotrophic because they use complex organic compounds as sources of energy and carbon. Some fungal organisms multiply only asexually, whereas others undergo both asexual reproduction and sexual reproduction with alternation of generations. Most fungi produce a large number of spores , which are haploid cells that can undergo mitosis to form multicellular, haploid individuals. Like bacteria, fungi play an essential role in ecosystems because they are decomposers and participate in the cycling of nutrients by breaking down organic materials to simple molecules.

Fungi often interact with other organisms, forming beneficial or mutualistic associations. For example most terrestrial plants form symbiotic relationships with fungi. The roots of the plant connect with the underground parts of the fungus forming mycorrhizae . Through mycorrhizae, the fungus and plant exchange nutrients and water, greatly aiding the survival of both species Alternatively, lichens are an association between a fungus and its photosynthetic partner (usually an alga). Fungi also cause serious infections in plants and animals. For example, Dutch elm disease, which is caused by the fungus Ophiostoma ulmi, is a particularly devastating type of fungal infestation that destroys many native species of elm (Ulmus sp.) by infecting the tree’s vascular system. The elm bark beetle acts as a vector, transmitting the disease from tree to tree. Accidentally introduced in the 1900s, the fungus decimated elm trees across the continent. Many European and Asiatic elms are less susceptible to Dutch elm disease than American elms.

In humans, fungal infections are generally considered challenging to treat. Unlike bacteria, fungi do not respond to traditional antibiotic therapy, since they are eukaryotes. Fungal infections may prove deadly for individuals with compromised immune systems.

Fungi have many commercial applications. The food industry uses yeasts in baking, brewing, and cheese and wine making. Many industrial compounds are byproducts of fungal fermentation. Fungi are the source of many commercial enzymes and antibiotics.

Introduction to the Biology of Infectious Diseases

A healthy person lives in harmony with the microbial flora that helps protect its host from invasion by pathogens, usually defined as microorganisms that have the capacity to cause disease. The microbial flora is mostly bacteria and fungi and includes normal resident flora, which is present consistently and which promptly reestablishes itself if disturbed, and transient flora, which may colonize the host for hours to weeks but does not permanently establish itself. Organisms that are normal flora can occasionally cause disease, especially when defenses are disrupted.

Tropisms (attractions to certain tissues) determine which body sites microorganisms colonize. Normal flora is influenced by tropisms and many other factors (eg, diet, hygiene, sanitary conditions, air pollution). For example, lactobacilli are common in the intestines of people with a high intake of dairy products Haemophilus influenzae colonizes the tracheobronchial tree in patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). As a result, different body habitats contain microbial communities, forming microbiomes that differ by microbial composition and function.

Introduction to Biology Textbook

Textbook Description:
Introduction to Biology Textbook covering a wide range of introductory college level biology topics on human and animals. Comprehensive subject matter, no prerequisite biology knowledge needed.

Author: Michael J. Farabee, Ph.D.
Subjects: Biology
Key words: Biology, Bio, Science
Download URL:

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The Cell and Nuclear Anatomy

The cell is the basic organizational unit of all living things. There are many different types of cells, but cells are unique to each type of organism. The one thing that all cells have in common is a membrane, which is like a semi-permeable plastic bag. The membrane is composed of phospholipids and has some transport holes, which are proteins that help certain molecules and ions move in and out of the cell. The cell is filled with a fluid called cytoplasm or cytosol.

Within the cell are a variety of organelles, groups of complex molecules that help a cell survive, each with its own unique membrane that has a different chemical makeup from the cell membrane. The larger the cell, the more organelles it will need to live.

Cell Structural Organization

All cells contain DNA and RNA and can synthesize proteins. Cells are the basic structural units of all organisms. Each cell consists of nucleic acids, cytoplasm, and a cell membrane. Specialized organelles, like mitochondria and chloroplasts, have specific functions within the cell. Different types of cells can have different functions. When many cells of the same type are grouped together, they are collectively called tissue. Tissues are grouped together in organs. Organs are grouped together in systems.

Nuclear Parts of a Cell

Nucleus (pl. nuclei): This is a small structure that contains the chromosomes and regulates the DNA of a cell. The nucleus is the defining structure of eukaryotic cells, and all eukaryotic cells have a nucleus, which contains genetic material. The nucleus contains a nuclear envelope, nucleoplasm, nucleolus, nuclear pores, chromatin, and ribosomes.

Chromosomes: These are highly condensed, threadlike rods of DNA. Short for deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA is the genetic material that stores information about the plant or animal.

Chromatin: This consists of the DNA and protein that make up chromosomes.

Nucleolus: This structure contained within the nucleus consists of protein, is small, round, does not have a membrane, is involved in protein synthesis, and synthesizes and stores RNA (ribonucleic acid).

Nuclear envelope: This encloses the structures of the nucleus. It consists of inner and outer membranes made of lipids.

Nuclear pores: These are involved in the exchange of material between the nucleus and the cytoplasm.

Nucleoplasm: This is the liquid within the nucleus, and is similar to cytoplasm.

Introduction - Biology

BI101 Course Outline

BI101 Course Description: Adaptations of BI101 vary in theme. BI101A is a survey course that introduces the discipline of cellular biology, exploring topics including the cellular basis of life, cell structure and function and the metabolic processes that affect cells. BI101 introduces students to biology as a scientific discipline and engages students in the process of scientific discovery. All BI101 courses are equivalent only one can be used to fulfill degree requirements. BI101, BI102 and BI103 are non-sequential and can be taken in any order. Students considering majors in science or pre-professional health occupations are advised to eventually take BI211, B1212 and BI213.

BI101A Course Description: Adaptations of BI101 vary in theme, but all explore the scientific process and topics in cellular basis of life, including cell structure and function. BI101A is a survey course that introduces the discipline of cellular biology. Topics discussed include: the principles of the scientific method, cellular basis of life, cell structure and function, and the metabolic processes that affect cells. All BI101 courses are equivalent only one can be used to fulfill degree requirements. BI101, BI102, and BI103 are non-sequential and can be taken in any order. Prerequisite: RD090, WR090, and MTH020, each with a grade of “C” or better or placement above stated course levels. Students considering majors in science or pre-professional health occupations are advised to eventually take BI211, BI212, and BI213.

Course and Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply the scientific method to biological questions by designing experiments and using the resulting data to form a conclusion.1A. Design a controlled experiment to answer a biological question.

1B. Predict the outcome of an experiment.

1C. Collect, manipulate, and analyze quantitative and qualitative data.

6C. Describe the structure of cell membranes and explain their function in maintaining the internal environment of the cell.

6D. Explain the roll of enzyme-catalyzed reactions in cellular metabolism.

Instructional Methods

To help the student achieve the objectives outlined above, a variety of techniques will be used including in-class activities, small group discussions and problem solving, homework assignments, in-class problem solving and laboratory experiences. Typically, each topic will be introduced through homework assignments utilizing online or print resources, reinforced and placed in perspective during class, and explored further in laboratory.

Class communication will vary with instructor and may include lectures, demonstrations, case-studies, films, oral and written student-presentations, and use of online tools and other forms. None of these activities will replace classroom contact hours.

Completion of course objectives and assigned evaluation according to criteria provided by the instructor will be required. Grading will be in accordance with college standards.

Online Assessment

Assessment of course outcomes is designed to be verified as appropriate using online quizzes and tests these assessments may be proctored and may require travel to an approved testing center. The same outcomes and grading standards will apply for all instructional formats.

Bar Graphs

Bar graphs are used when:

  • The independent variable is discontinuous (i.e. The variables on the x-axis are each associated with something different)
  • Independent variables are not numerical. For example, when examining the protein content of various food types, the order of the food types along the horizontal axis is irrelevant.

Bar graphs have the following features:

  • The data are plotted as columns or bars that do not touch each other as each deals with a different characteristic.
  • The bars must be the same width and be the same distance apart from each other.
  • A bar graph can be displayed vertically or horizontally.
  • A bar graph must have a clear, descriptive title, which is written beneath the graph.

Bar graph showing how many learners use each type of transport

26 Introduction

Virtually every task performed by living organisms requires energy. Organisms require energy to perform heavy labor and exercise, but humans also use considerable energy while thinking, and even during sleep. Every organism’s living cells constantly use energy. Organisms import nutrients and other molecules. They metabolize (break down) and possibly synthesize into new molecules. If necessary, molecules modify, move around the cell and may distribute themselves to the entire organism. For example, the large proteins that make up muscles are actively built from smaller molecules. Complex carbohydrates break down into simple sugars that the cell uses for energy. Just as energy is required to both build and demolish a building, energy is required to synthesize and break down molecules. Additionally, signaling molecules such as hormones and neurotransmitters transport between cells. Cells ingest and break down bacteria and viruses. Cells must also export waste and toxins to stay healthy, and many cells must swim or move surrounding materials via the beating motion of cellular appendages like cilia and flagella.

The cellular processes that we listed above require a steady supply of energy. From where, and in what form, does this energy come? How do living cells obtain energy, and how do they use it? This chapter will discuss different forms of energy and the physical laws that govern energy transfer. This chapter will also describe how cells use energy and replenish it, and how chemical reactions in the cell perform with great efficiency.

Watch the video: Introduction to DNA (October 2022).