Bio 110: The Unity and Diversity of Life
Dr. Peggy Richey
Centre College
Spring 2008

For the current Bio 110 syllabus, log on to my Bio 110 Moodle page (login required)

Course Objectives:

•  Introduce the student to basic biological concepts, the foundations of biological unity, the major groups of organisms, formal principles of evolution, ecological relationships and the relationship of biology to wider societal issues.

•  Introduce the student to basic biological investigative skills.

•  Further develop the critical thinking skills of the student.

•  Further develop the library research and writing skills of the student.


Class Preparation and Attendance:

Each day before you come to class you are expected to read the reading assignment carefully. Make it a habit to consult this web page for this course in order to utilize the links for each lecture.

You are expected to attend and be attentive in all lecture classes. Additionally, your participation is greatly valued, so don't just attend class--become actively involved. Only three “excused” absences are allowed per student per lecture course. An excused absence is one that has the written approval of the College (Dean, Associate Dean, Wellness Centre, Director of Athletics). All other absences will be considered “unexcused”. Students who are generally inattentive, sleeping or working on non-class material during class time will be considered absent. A student with more than two unexcused absences in this course will have his/her final grade average reduced by 1% per unexcused absence.

All electronic devices (cell phones, pagers/beepers ,iPods, laptops, etc.) are to be turned off at all times during class. 1st offense: stern warning! 2nd offense: device will be confiscated.


Grading : Your grade in BIO 110 will be determined as follows:


Exams (5, including final) 60%

Laboratory 20%

Writing Project:
1st submission 10%

2nd submission 5%

Participation 5%


Exams: There are five exams (including the final exam) scheduled at the end of the major topical sections. The final exam will cover material from the last topical section and will not be comprehensive. For each exam, you are responsible for material assigned in the text, reserve readings, handouts, and material presented and discussed in class. Students may not leave the classroom during an exam (so go to the bathroom before the exam) and all books, notes, coats, etc. are to be placed at the front of the room during the exam. You are not allowed to use or have out a cell phone or any other electronic device during the exam. An unexcused absence on the day of an exam results in a “0” for that exam. NOTE: In order to pass this class, you MUST earn a passing grade (60% or better) on AT LEAST one of the five lecture exams given in the course.


Writing Project: Choose a living organism. Find out about the unique or special anatomical, physiological, metabolic and/or behavioral adaptations which allow this organism to survive in its environment. Use books, journal articles, and/or reference texts as sources to gather this information. You may not use sources which can only be found on the Internet. Then write a 5-7 page (typewritten, double-spaced, 1” margins, normal size font) paper that describes these adaptations and the significance of these adaptations to the survival of the organism. There should be minimal use of direct quotes in this paper—this paper should be 99.9% in your own words . You are to use APA guidelines in writing your paper. Use Hacker's Rules for Writers , 5e, pages 456-494 to guide you in writing your paper, the proper way to use in-text citations and the proper way to write your Literature Cited section of your paper.



Gather at least three separate sources of information on your organism and gain my approval of your topic and sources by February 13 . No two students may choose the same topic—first come, first served. You may not “reserve” a topic and show me the sources later.

Turn in a hard copy and an electronic copy (via email, Word format) of the 1st submission of your paper by March 7 . If this paper does not properly cite all of your sources of information or use approved sources, you will receive a “U” for this first submission, regardless of the content. Please read the material at for a thorough review of what plagiarism is and how to avoid it in your paper.

All papers will be checked with

Turn in a hard copy and an electronic copy (via email, Word format) of the 2 nd submission of your paper and the graded 1 st submission by April 16 .

Papers are due at the start of class ( 10:20 a.m. ). Papers received after that time ( 10:21 a.m. and later) will be considered late. Missed deadlines (including topic selection and source approval) will be penalized at the rate of 5% per day overdue, including weekend days.

If you want me to read your paper in advance of a deadline, you must give me a hard copy of it at least one week in advance of the deadline.


Participation: Your participation in class is essential. Your attendance attendance (including being on time for class), attentiveness and willingness to ask and answer questions in class, response to my emails, in-class group work, homework and ability to meet deadlines are all part of this. Keep in mind that I will be stringent in my evaluation of your class participation---"satisfactory" participation earns a "C". Your final participation grade will be the average of your mid-term and end-of-the-term participation grades. You will receive a mid-term grade on March 14.


Final Note: I urge you to see me or call me if you have any questions, concerns or comments about the course. In the event that a “crisis” arises which affects your ability to take a test or meet a deadline, I expect you to take the initiative in contacting me and explaining the situation in advance, if possible, of the test or deadline. An explanation to me of the absence is not a substitute for an official excused absence and only official absences will result in a make-up exam or postponed deadline. My office hours are listed below, but feel free to stop in whenever my door is open. Look for me in Young 222 if I am not in my office.



Tentative Lecture Schedule

Text:  Starr and Taggart. The Unity and Diversity of Life. 11th edition. 2006. Brooks/Cole.

Go to Starr & Taggart's Student Resources to access learning aids for each chapter. Another great site is Wayne's Word, which contains loads of information, pictures, tutorials, and animations on many topics covered in Bio 110.

Click on the links under "Additional Info" to find out more about selected topics

Additional Info
Introduction/What is Life?

Ch 1: 2-7

What is Life?
Diversity and Evolution

Ch 1: 8-11

The Tree of Life , understanding evolution
Scientific Method

Ch 1: 12-18

scientific method--try it! , real science--annotated scientific method , the nature of modern science
Carbon Compounds

Ch 3 (review Ch 2 as preparation)

Carbon Compounds

Ch 3

Cell Structure and Function Ch 3
Cell Structure and Function ; Cell Membranes Ch 4, 5
 virtual cell, cell quiz , cells alive!
Cell Membranes Ch 5
cell membranes , cell membrane quiz
Exam I (chapters 1, 3-5)  
Cellular Metabolism: An Overview Ch 6
What are enzymes?
Metabolic Pathways: An Example Ch 7 or 8
aerobic & anaerobic respiration , ATP synthase gradients , photosynthesis, light reactions , Calvin cycle
Hans Krebs
, quiz
Cell Division and Mitosis Ch 9
 tutorial /movie , mitosis movies , more mitosis movies, cells alive!
Mitosis, Meiosis Ch 9, 10
mitosis/meiosis I3

Ch 10

meiosis II3
Observable Patterns of Inheritance Ch 11
earlobe quiz  
monohybrid cross tutorial
dihybrid cross tutorial  


Chromosomal Genetics Ch 12

sex-linked inheritance,
sex/crossing over , understanding genetics


DNA Structure and Function Ch 13
tutorial2 , replication tutorial(2)  
Exam 2 (chapters 6-12)  
From DNA to Proteins ) Ch 14

transcription tutorial(2) , transcription animation , transcription processing , mRNA splicing , animations
tutorial2, translation3 , translation tutorial(2) , molecular genetics quiz , translation animation

Studying and manipulating genomes Ch 16
Evidence of Evolution Ch 17
evidence for evolution  , history of paleontology , continents on the move
Evidence of Evolution Ch 17, 18
population genetics--overview   , evolution 101 , Alfred Wallace
Microevolution Ch 18
complete works of Darwin
Exam 3 (chapters 13, 14, 16-17)  
Microevolution, Speciation Ch 18, 19

human evolution2 , evolution 101
hall of human ancestors

myths and misconceptions

Speciation, Origin of Life Ch 19, 20
Miller's expt , Deep Time ,
Origin of Life Ch 20
Prokaryotes and Viruses Ch 21
What is a virus?
Prokaryotes and Viruses, Protists Ch 21, 22
protozoa , harmful algae , slime molds
Protists, Fungi Ch 22, 24

fungi overview, mycorrhizae , lichens , pathogenic fungi

Plant Evolution Ch 23
mosses, ferns, conifers, angiosperms
Animals—Invertebrate Evolution Ch 25
insect sounds , arthropod evolution ,
jellieszone, jellies
Exam 4 (chapters 18-24)  
Animals—Vertebrate Evolution Ch 26
bird sounds , where do animals live?
Animals---Vertebrates Evolution Ch 26
disappearing frogs,  mammal sounds , hominid evolution
Population Ecology Ch 45
Community Structure Ch 46  
Ecosystems Ch 47
Biosphere and Humanity Ch 48
Final Exam 8:30-11:30 a.m. (chapters 25, 26, 45-48)  


2requires Shockwave plug-in--click here to download Shockwave
3requires QuickTime plug-in--click here to download QuickTime
4requires Shockwave-Authorware plug-in--click here to download Shockwave-Authorware

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Bio 110
Research Paper
Guidelines and Advice

Critical Thinking: How to use the Internet/Web in research

    Regarding “rules” to follow:  

  • Turn in a hard copy and an electronic copy (can be emailed as an MS Word attachment) of your paper when the paper is due. Both copies must be submitted by 10:20 a.m. on the due date. Failure to turn in both copies on time will result in a 5% per day reduction in the grade on the paper.
  • A problem with your computer and/or printer is not a valid excuse for missing the deadline.
  • Writing Papers in the Biological Sciences is on closed reserve in the library (under my name). Please consult this book, frequently if needed, for important information on how to cite sources of information within the text (in-text citations) and in your “Literature Cited” page at the end of your paper.
  • Science papers do not use endnotes or footnotes, as a general rule.
  • You are to include a “Literature Cited” page at the end of your paper. This page will have the complete citation of each source that you used in your paper. See the book on reserve in the library for guidance on preparing this page.
  • Make sure that your paper is supported by at least three approved sources. If you use only three sources, only one of those sources can be an science encyclopedia source . You may use more than three sources of information, but all must be from approved sources (see Bio 110 syllabus/guidelines for approved sources). You may not use Wikipedia or any other user-edited source of information. You don't have to restrict yourself to the sources that you showed me when your topic was approved.
  • Your text should be in your own words. Any direct quote from a source should be less than one sentence in length. Very few, if any, direct quotes should be used. If you do use a direct quote, the source of the direct quote should be cited immedicately following the quote.
  • All information in your paper that did not come from your own knowledge prior to researching your topic must be properly cited (see book on reserve in library for specifics and/or consult me if you are not sure about how to properly cite a source) when the information is used in your text (in-text citation). It is anticipated that very little, if any, of your paper will be based on your own prior knowledge of the subject; therefore most, if not all, of your paragraphs should have a minimum of one in-text citation.
  • There is no excuse for plagiarism. Please review the information on plagiarism in the Centre College Student Handbook. I check all papers for plagiarism by using, looking up and reading the sources for each paper, and reviewing papers from previous and current biology (not just Bio 110) classes. All cases of plagiarism will be brought to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
  • Your paper should consist of at least five full pages of text (12 pt. font, 1” margins, double-spaced). Pictures can be used in your paper (make sure that the source of each picture is properly cited with the picture and included in your “Literature Cited” page), but a picture is not a substitute for text. If you have pictures in your paper, they should be in addition to at least five full pages of text.
  • Spelling, grammar, sentence structure, etc. COUNT! Make sure that your paper is properly written with no typographical errors. I encourage you to make use of the writing center (see below for more info).

Regarding the content of your paper:

  • You should provide information about the taxonomy and habitat of your organism before explaining its adaptations and the significance of those adaptations. Italicize or underline all taxonomic names.
  • Don't imply evolutionary “intent” or “causes” of adaptations (e.g. an organism doesn't “decide” about or “desire” an adaptation.; e.g. an organism doesn't “cause” an adaptation to occur; e.g. evolution doesn't “cause” adaptations).
  • Stick to the facts. There should be very little, if any, subjective (e.g. your opinion) material in your text.
  • In your concluding paragraph(s), you can address threats or challenges to the long-term survival of the organism, but stick to the facts.
  • An excellent paper takes time – time to gather and read information on the topic; time to organize the information into a logical and engaging format; time to write, edit and re-write the text. If you don't take the appropriate amount of time to write this paper, it will be very obvious to me. Work on this paper deliberately and diligently between now and the due date.


The Centre Writing Center :

The center is located in the basement of Yerkes dormitory and will be open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m Sunday through Thursday.

The Writing Center offers free peer tutoring to student writers at all levels. Students visiting the Center will find encouraging, but critical, first readers for all of the writing they do.

The tutors were selected from a group of student candidates recommended by two or more faculty members over the last two years. They have been trained to help other students develop better composition skills at every stage of the writing process, from pre-writing to preparing the final draft. They are trained NOT to provide students with ideas or merely to “fix” errors. Instead, by asking questions and teaching good principles, they help students clarify and refine their own thinking, organization, and argumentation; they also have been trained to help students recognize and correct their own grammar and usage problems.

Note: taking your paper to the CWC is not a guarantee that your paper is flawless or will earn an “A”.

last updated on 07/22/2010