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Biology: How Life Works


By: James R Morris (Author), Daniel L Hartl (Author), Andrew H Knoll (Author), Robert A Lue (Author), Melissa Michael (Author), Andrew Berry (Author), Andrew Biewener (Author), Brian Farrell (Author), Noel Michele Holbrook (Author)

1225 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, colour tables

W.H. Freeman & Co. Ltd

Paperback | Jan 2016 | Edition: 2 | #232242 | ISBN-13: 9781464126093
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £47.99 $59/€54 approx

About this book

Biology: How Life Works was written in response to recent and exciting changes in biology, education, and technology with the goal of helping students to think like biologists. The text, visual program, and assessments were developed together to provide students with the best resources to gain an understanding of modern biology.

Content is selected carefully, is integrated to illustrate the connections between concepts, and follows six themes that are crucial to biology: the scientific method, chemical and physical principles, cells, evolution, ecological systems, and human impact.

The second edition continues this approach, but includes expanded coverage of ecology, new in-class activities to assist instructors in active teaching, new pedagogical support for visual synthesis maps, and expanded and improved assessment.

"I think the best selling point is that the text focuses on helping students make connections between the sub-fields of biology."
– Cindee Giffen, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

"I really like the streamlined approach and emphasis on ideas and concepts rather than details and facts."
– Scott Solomon, Rice University, USA

"I love love love the integration throughout of evolution and real case studies. Very powerful."
– Rebecca Safran, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA

[on the Visual Synthesis Map]
"My initial reaction was 'wow.' It helped me visualize the spatial relationships associated with information flow at the cellular level, and I think it is thus likely to really help undergraduates."
– Dave Kubien, University of New Brunswick, USA

"There is a clear connection between the pedagogical approach of the textbook and the assessment materials."
– Sonja Pyott, University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA


1. Life: Chemical, Cellular, and Evolutionary Foundations
Case 1 The First Cell: Life’s Origins
2. The Molecules of Life
New coverage of functional groups
3. Nucleic Acids and Transcription
Nucleotides now shown at physiological pH
4. Translation and Protein Structure
Amino acids now shown at physiological pH
5. Organizing Principles: Lipids, Membranes, and Cell Compartments
6. Making Life Work: Capturing and Using Energy
7. Cellular Respiration: Harvesting Energy from Carbohydrates and Other Fuel Molecules
8. Photosynthesis: Using Sunlight to Build Carbohydrates
The story of the evolution of photosynthesis now brought together in a single major section at the end of the chapter (Section 8.5).
Case 2: Cancer: When Good Cells Go Bad
9. Cell Signaling
10. Cell and Tissue Architecture: Cytoskeleton, Cell Junctions, and Extracellular Matrix
Chapters 9 and 10 have been streamlined to better match our mission statement.
11. Cell Division: Variations, Regulation, and Cancer
Case 3 You, From A to T: Your Personal Genome
12. DNA Replication and Manipulation
New inclusion of the trombone model of DNA replication
Addition of CRISPR technology
13. Genomes
Expanded coverage of retrotransposons and reverse transcriptase
14. Mutation and DNA Repair
15. Genetic Variation
16. Mendelian Inheritance
A new How Do We Know? figure explaining Mendel’s experimental results
17. Inheritance of Sex Chromosomes, Linked Genes, and Organelles
18. The Genetic and Environmental Basis of Complex Traits
19. Genetic and Epigenetic Regulation
New discussion of the mechanism of X-inactivation
20. Genes and Development
Case 4 Malaria: Coevolution of Humans and a Parasite
21. Evolution: How Genotypes and Phenotypes Change Over Time
An expanded discussion of nonrandom mating and inbreeding depression
22. Species and Speciation
23. Evolutionary Patterns: Phylogeny and Fossils
Addition of the effect of mass extinctions on species diversity
24. Human Origins and Evolution
Updated discussion of the relationship between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens, as well as Denisovans
25. Cycling Carbon
Significantly revised link between the carbon cycle, biodiversity, and ecology
Case 5 The Human Microbiome: Diversity Within
26. Bacteria and Archaea
27. Eukaryotic Cells: Origins and Diversity
New branching order of the eukaryote tree in this chapter and onward to reflect new research in the past three years
28. Being Multicellular
Case 6 Agriculture: Feeding a Growing Population
29. Plant Structure and Function: Moving Photosynthesis onto Land
A new discussion of plant nutrients
30. Plant Reproduction: Finding Mates and Dispersing Young
An enhanced discussion of seeds, including the development of the embryo and dispersal structures
New coverage of the genetic advantages of alternation of generations
Addition of apomixis
31. Plant Growth and Development
The section on the role of plant sensory systems in the timing of plant reproduction has been moved from Chapter 30 to Chapter 31.
32. Plant Defense: Keeping the World Green
33. Plant Diversity
Completely revised explanation of the basis for angiosperm diversity
Plant and animal diversity chapters (Chapters 33 and 44) now include a brief review of organismal form and function, allowing these chapters to be used on their own or before the physiology chapters.
34. Fungi: Structure, Function, and Diversity
Case 7 Predator-Prey: A Game of Life and Death
Brief descriptions of unfamiliar organisms and the major groups of organisms have been layered into the animal physiology chapters, to make it easier to teach physiology before diversity (Chapters 35-42).
35. Animal Nervous Systems
36. Animal Sensory Systems and Brain Function
37. Animal Movement: Muscles and Skeletons
38. Animal Endocrine Systems
39. Animal Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems
A new section on the composition of blood
40. Animal Metabolism, Nutrition, and Digestion
41. Animal Renal Systems: Water and Waste
42. Animal Reproduction and Development
New diagrams of hormone feedback loops in the menstrual cycle
43. Animal Immune Systems
A new introduction to the immune system
Case 8 Biodiversity Hotspots: Rain Forests and Coral Reefs
44. Animal Diversity
A new discussion of nematodes
Introduction of a newly-discovered species, Dendrogramma enigmatica
45. Animal Behavior
46. Population Ecology
A new population growth equation
47. Species Interactions, Communities, and Ecosystems
A new discussion of facilitation
An expanded discussion of herbivory
A new example of microbial symbionts
A new discussion of biodiversity and its importance
48. Biomes and Global Ecology
An entirely new chapter on physical processes that underlie different biomes
    Differential solar energy around the globe and seasonality
    Wind and ocean currents
    Effects of circulation and topography on rainfall
    Expanded discussion of terrestrial biomes
    Freshwater and marine biomes
    Integration of concepts of biogeochemical cycles from Chapters 25 and 26 with ecological concepts
    Global patterns of primary production
    Global biodiversity
49. The Anthropocene: Humans as a Planetary Force
A new Core Concept and discussion of conservation biology

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James R. Morris is Professor of Biology at Brandeis University. He teaches a wide variety of courses for majors and non-majors, including introductory biology, evolution, genetics and genomics, epigenetics, comparative vertebrate anatomy, and a first-year seminar on Darwin's On the Origin of Species. He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards from Brandeis and Harvard. His research focuses on the rapidly growing field of epigenetics, making use of the fruit fly    Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. He currently pursues this research with undergraduates in order to give them the opportunity to do genuine, laboratory-based research early in their scientific careers. Dr. Morris received a PhD in genetics from Harvard University and an MD from Harvard Medical School. He was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University, and a National Academies Education Fellow and Mentor in the Life Sciences.

Daniel L. Hartl is Higgins Professor of Biology in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. He has taught highly popular courses in genetics and evolution at both the introductory and advanced levels. His lab studies molecular evolutionary genetics and population genetics and genomics. Dr. Hartl is the recipient of the Samuel Weiner Outstanding Scholar Award as well as the Gold Medal of the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has served as President of the Genetics Society of America and President of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. Dr. Hartl's PhD is from the University of Wisconsin, and he did postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Andrew H. Knoll is Fisher Professor of Natural History in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. He is also Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Dr. Knoll teaches introductory courses in both departments. His research focuses on the early evolution of life, Precambrian environmental history, and the interconnections between the two. He has also worked extensively on the early evolution of animals, mass extinction, and plant evolution. He currently serves on the science team for NASA's mission to Mars. Dr. Knoll received the Phi Beta Kappa Book Award in Science for Life on a Young Planet. Other honors include the Paleontological Society Medal and Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society, London. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He received his Ph.D from Harvard University and then taught at Oberlin College before returning to Harvard.

Robert A. Lue is Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University and the Richard L. Menschel Faculty Director of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. Dr. Lue has a longstanding commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and research, and chaired the faculty committee that developed the first integrated science foundation in the country to serve science majors as well as pre-medical students. The founding director of Life Sciences Education at Harvard, Dr. Lue led a complete redesign of the introductory curriculum, redefining how the university can more effectively foster new generations of scientists as well as science-literate citizens. Dr. Lue has also developed award-winning multimedia, including the animation 'The Inner Life of the Cell.' He has coauthored undergraduate biology textbooks and chaired education conferences on college biology for the National Academies and the National Science Foundation and on diversity in science for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

Melissa Michael is Director for Core Curriculum and Assistant Director for Undergraduate Instruction for the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A cell biologist, she primarily focuses on the continuing development of the School's undergraduate curricula. She is currently engaged in several projects aimed at improving instruction and assessment at the course and program levels. Her research focuses primarily on how creative assessment strategies affect student learning outcomes, and how outcomes in large-enrollment courses can be improved through the use of formative assessment in active classrooms.

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