Neither cellular/molecular nor ecosystem processes can be fully understood without a detailed understanding of the biology of the whole organism. Despite this, much of modern biology teaching tends to be focused on the cellular and molecular level, with the organism often neglected. This is particularly noticeable in many undergraduate biology programs, where introductory courses in animal biology are either given with limited evolutionary context or else use an outdated view of animal phylogeny.
This accessible textbook provides a general conceptual framework for understanding the organismic level. It provides a broad overview of the diversity of animal life while focusing on general organizational principles with a few, carefully chosen examples rather than providing exhaustive specific details. The book adopts two parallel tracks, with most chapters focusing on one or the other. The first follows the general principles of organismic biology and animal organization, starting with the basic terminology and definitions in evolutionary biology before introducing the evolutionary framework for comparative biology. It then describes organizational principles and specific organ systems in a sequence of increasing complexity. The second track follows a phylogenetic journey, introducing the different animal phyla. Major phyla are given their own chapter with an overview of their common features and diversity.
Organismic Animal Biology is an introductory textbook for an undergraduate course in organismal animal biology in a general biology or biotechnology program. It is explicitly aimed at students who will go on to be biomedical researchers, biochemists, cell biologists etc. and who need to understand the significance of the organism to their future research careers. It will also be a useful primer or easy reference for undergraduate and graduate students in more intensive organismic animal biology programs.
1. The Hierarchical Nature of Biology
2. Species Concepts and Speciation
3. What Is an Organism? The Simplest Organisms
4. The Concept of Evolutionary Change
6. Sponges: The Simplest Multicellular Organisms
7. Germ Layers: Inside and Outside
8. Motility and Symmetry
9. Diploblastic Organisms: Cnidaria and Ctenophora
10. Colonial Organisms and Complex Life Cycles
12. Sensory Systems
16. Coeloms and Skeletons
18. Segmental Organization of the Body
19. Size and Complexity
20. Molting Animals
21. Arthropoda I: General Introduction and Chelicerata
23. Arthropoda II: Mandibulata
24. Transport and Gas Exchange Systems
27. Chordata and Hemichordata
28. Excretory Systems
29. Vertebrate Characteristics
30. Vertebrate Diversity
31. Vertebrate Organogenesis
32. Organismic Biology in the Twenty-First Century
Ariel D. Chipman is an evolutionary developmental biologist at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is currently a Professor and Chair of the Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, and the academic curator of invertebrates at the National Natural History Collections. His research focuses on the evolution of the arthropod body plan. He is the author of over 40 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and is the editor of Cellular Processes in Segmentation (CRC Press, 2020). His teaching experience includes a first-year undergraduate course on organismic biology (the basis for the proposed book), which he has been teaching for 15 years, as well as advanced courses in evo-devo, animal evolution, and systematics.