The Biology Corner

Frog by Rick Takmajian

Biology is the study of life and living organisms, from the smallest bacteria to giant sequoias.    Biologists use observation and experimentation to gain an understanding about the natural world.  Branches of biology include anatomy, biotechnology, botany, cell biology, ecology, genetics, medicine, microbiology, molecular biology, and zoology.   Many people entering the field of biology become specialized in a particular area.

As a course, biology encompasses four main themes:

1.  The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life
2.  Biological systems utilize free energy to grow, reproduce, and  maintain life functions
3.  Living systems store and transmit information essential to life processes
4.  Biological systems interact with each other, and those interactions possess complex properties.

The Biology Corner is a resource site for biology and science teachers and students.  It contains a variety of lessons, quizzes, labs, web quests, and information on science topics for all levels, including introductory life science and advanced placement biology.    You can find lessons related to biology topics in the links  listed under “topics” on the sidebar as well as specific curriculum for biology classes taught in high school.

Spotlight Lessons: Ecology

Estimating Population Size – simulate mark and recapture by using small objects to trap and tag.  A simple formula will tell you what the overall population size is which can be verified by counting the objects in the bag.

Owl Pellet Dissection –  owl pellets are undigested bits of fur and bones  that owls regurgitate. Students can examine the contents, reconstruct the skeleton of the prey and make inferences about the owl’s diet.

Interpreting Ecological Data – examine charts, data tables  and graphs to answer questions about population size, growth, and carrying capacity.

Biome Project – as a group, investigate a biome and present to the class the main features, animal and plant species present and general climate.

Isopod Behavior Lab – collect isopods (pillbugs) and design a chamber to test their response to different environments, such as temperature, moisture, and substrate.