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Introduction to Biology

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Randall Colvin

on 29 August 2016

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Transcript of Introduction to Biology

Bio1101 Basics
How to do well:

Read text before lectures - Quizes

Learn from your text, use PowerPoint presentations (i.e., lectures) to help limit what you need to learn

There’s a lot we won’t cover

If at test time you are thinking “nobody could possibly learn that many terms”, then you probably also don’t understand the material

Tests will measure both your understanding and your success in memorizing the material
Fish Use of Intermittent Watercourses Draining Agricultural Lands in the Upper Willamette Valley, Oregon
R.W. Colvin, G.R. Giannico, J. Li and K.S. Boyer

Fish and Amphibian Use of Vegetated and Non-Vegetated Intermittent Channels in the Upper Willamette Basin
R.W. Colvin, K.S. Boyer, G.R. Giannico, J.L. Li and S.M. Griffith Oregon Seed Extension Research Program Seed
Production Research Report 2006 - 60 p.

Fish and Amphibian Use of Intermittent Agricultural Waterways in the South Willamette Valley
G.R. Giannico, J.L. Li, K.L. Boyer, R.W. Colvin, W.J. Gerth, M.E. Mellbye, S.M. Griffith and J.J. Steiner
Oregon Seed Extension Research Program Seed Production Research Report 2005 - 61-64 p.
Lafayette, AL & Lagrange College, GA
Here I provide a general overview on what it takes to do well in this course

Note that these concepts are applicable to more than just Biology

They also have a “no duh” quality to them, but they do need to be stated explicitly lest you approach the first exam thinking otherwise

To do well, you need to have at least one of the following qualities:

You need to have a great memory, or
You need to put in time, or
You need to have taken the time to learn from your previous biology classes (especially as presented by the text versus as required by the instructor), or
You need to enjoy the material, i.e., to the point where you are willing to study enthusiastically

Prepared or otherwise, it also wouldn’t be such a bad thing for you to not freak out come exam time
You can study anything you like, but let the PowerPoints guide you toward what you need to know for exams.

Study your biology notes

Seek to understand what is going on; If you don’t have a moderate understanding then you will not do well on quizes or exams.

The above is the most important thing for you to understand if you intend to to well in this course!

Don’t forget to read your text (and read it well), and attend lectures; Memorization is one thing, but if you don’t understand the material, then you will struggle
Exam questions are guided by PowerPoints; Quizes come directly from the reading assignments.

Reading is not necessarily the equivalent of studying- Do Both!
Putting in more time is not necessarily as important as studying well, efficiently, or effectively.

If you don't learn/understand the material before going on to the next topic/material, then when will you learn the old material?

Organizing the material is not equivalent to studying for the exams (though certainly it helps you prepare for studying)
Even though non-biology majors may be a majority of this class, I will be teaching this course as though all students present intend to continue on in biology, in one form or another, whether that will be as health professionals or whatever. That is, this course will not be catered specifically to the needs of your major, but should be useful to you regardless.
In this course, you will be exposed, perhaps for the last time, to the breadth of biology, before your specializing in one or more of its aspects. Thus, we will cover topics you will return to in subsequent courses; you will be exposed here to some aspects of your future major, perhaps before your committing completely to that degree program.

We will also cover topics you ultimately will have less use for. As I present these topics, whether you find them "relevant" or not, I will assume that all topics covered are equally important to your understanding of biology.
Biology is huge. It exists as an enormous collection of applied sciences (medicine, pharmacology, bioengineering, agriculture, resource conservation, etc.) and less-applied sciences (evolutionary biology, ecology, non-medical genetics, etc.).

Biology also encompasses a great deal of chemistry. Many aspects of biology you might even consider applied chemistry. Just as the basic principles of chemistry are derived from physics, many of the basic principles of biology are derived from chemistry (and from physics as well).
But while physicists like to study very simple systems and chemists like to complicate things just a little, biology is the study of systems possessing literally incomprehensible complexity.

Consequently, physics is sufficiently easy that much of what goes on may be described mathematically. You may balk at the math, but imagine how difficult physics would be if you could not describe physical processes mathematically.

Chemistry, too, can be handled at even the introductory level using various mathematical tools (and the periodic table of elements if one of the most awesome syntheses of ideas yet achieved by man). With biology you have few such luxuries.
If you start with a very broad, incompletely understood, term- and concept-laden field, and then design a rigorous survey course to introduce it, you have all the ingredients for a recipe of information overload.

Moreover, I am not going to attempt to completely protect you from either information overload or ambiguity in this course. Both are basic characteristics of the science of biology. If you have any desire to continue in biology, whether as a major or in a related field, you will have to come to terms with both information overload and ambiguity.
Operationally, information overload means that we will cover more material, you will be responsible for more details, and I will expect you to understand concepts better than many of you will prefer, or, indeed, are prepared to do.
I've had to come to terms with this, and will continue to have to since, minimally, preparing for lectures I must confront information overload, ambiguities, and an incomplete understanding of concepts each and every day. (And that does not even begin to address the difficulties involved in doing research.)

Nevertheless, the breadth and complexity of biology actually is the fun part, something certainly to always respect, but also something which means you will never run out of interesting questions or problems.
This, however, does not mean that biology is impossible. It simply means that, just as with chemistry and physics, the key to success in biology is to spread out your studying rather than saving it all for just prior to the exam.
"No matter what brings you to biology, you will find the study of life to be challenging and uplifting. Do not let the details of biology spoil a good time. The complexity of life is inspiring, but it can be overwhelming."
Biology 1101 Summer 2016-Term 2
Lagrange Campus
Randall W. Colvin

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