Biology: A Guide to the Natural World (2nd Edition)

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9780130921789: Biology: A Guide to the Natural World (2nd Edition)

This book serves as the most successful introduction to biology published in the last 10 years, and remains the only one written and illustrated from the ground up. The “biological literacy” approach continues to be paramount—from the journalistic writing style and original, Krogh specific illustrations to the seamless integration of media A seven-part organization covers essential parts: atoms, molecules, and cells; energy and its transformation; how life goes on: genetics; life's organizing principle: evolution and the diversity of life; a bounty that feeds us all: plants; what makes the organism tick? animal anatomy and physiology; and the living world as a whole: ecology and behavior. For the promotion of biological literacy—to make individuals aware that they need it to participate in the workforce, make everyday decisions, and make informed choices at the ballot box.

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About the Author:

David Krogh has been writing about science for 24 years in newspapers, magazines, books, and for educational institutions. He is the author of Smoking: The Artificial Passion, an account of the pharmacological and cultural motivations behind the use of tobacco, which was nominated for the Los AngelesTimes Book Prize in Science and Technology. In 1994, he began work on what would become Biology: A Guide to the Natural World, and in 1999 he completed its first edition. Since then, he has produced three more editions of A Guide to the Natural World along with a second textbook, A Brief Guide to Biology. He holds bachelor's degrees in journalism and history from the University of Missouri.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

From the Author

Book titles may be the first thing any reader sees in a book, but they're often the last thing an author ponders. Not so with Biology: A Guide to the Natural World. The title arrived fairly early on, courtesy of the muse, and then stuck because it so aptly expresses what I think is special about this book.

Flip through these pages, and you'll see all the elements that student and teachers look for in any modern introductory textbook—rich, full-color art, an extensive study apparatus, and a full complement of digital learning tools. When you leaf slowly through the book and start to read a little of it, however, I think that something a little more subtle starts coming through. This second quality has to do with a sense of connection with students. The sensibility that I hope is apparent in A Guide to the Natural World is that there's a wonderful living world to be explored; that we who produced this book would like nothing better than to show this world to students; and that we want to take them on an instructive walk through this world, rather than a difficult march.

All the members of the teams who produced the three editions of A Guide to the Natural World worked with this idea in mind. We felt that we were taking students on a journey through the living world and that, rather like tour guides, we needed to be mindful of where students were at any given point. Would they remember this term from earlier in the chapter? Had we created enough of a bridge between one subject and the next? The idea was never to leave students with the feeling that they were wandering alone through terrain that lacked signposts. Rather, we aimed to give them the sense that they had a companion—this book—that would guide them through the subject of biology. A Guide to the Natural World, then, really is intended as a kind of guide, with its audience being students who are taking biology but not majoring in it.

Biology is complex, however, and if students are to understand it at anything beyond the most superficial level, details are necessary. It won't do to make what one faculty member called "magical leaps" over the difficult parts of complex subjects. Our goal was to make the difficult comprehensible, not to make it disappear altogether. Thus, the reader will find in this book fairly detailed accounts of such subjects as cellular respiration, photosynthesis, immune-system function, and plant reproduction. It was in covering such topics that our concern for student comprehension was put to its greatest test. We like the way we handled these subjects and other key topics, however, and we hope readers will feel the same way.

What's New in the Third Edition?

The third edition of the Guide has been substantially revised. Readers of this edition will find:

  • Increased coverage of the diversity of the living world. Where once we had two chapters devoted to this subject, we now have three: one on animals, one on fungi and plants, and a third on microorganisms. This change has significantly increased our coverage of fungi and microorganisms.
  • A new stand-alone chapter on the immune system.
  • A general revision to the human anatomy and physiology unit that makes its coverage clearer and more relevant to the lives of students. All the major senses are now covered, whereas previously only vision was.
  • A revamping of our biotechnology chapter, such that it now focuses on four sharply defined areas: transgenic biotechnology, reproductive cloning, forensic biotechnology, and personalized medicine.
  • Substantially expanded coverage of human evolution.
  • Information that has been updated, or that is new altogether, on such news-related subjects as oncogenes, dietary fats, human population growth, and global warming.

As is apparent from this list, the relevance of biology to students was never far from our minds as we shaped the subject matter for the third edition. Beyond the subjects mentioned, the book now contains coverage of such topics as the physiology of acne, the dangers of suntans and loud music, and the reasons for menstruation. Even where coverage isn't strictly "applied," we have tried, wherever possible, to note the broader importance of basic biological processes. As an example, the Guide has always covered the subject of meiosis, but in this edition students will find information on how meiosis has helped shape the living world by making it more diverse.

After the 2nd edition came out, faculty requested that we add coverage on two subjects that are heavy on scientific detail: functional groups in chemistry and the Hardy-Weinberg Principle in evolution. We now review both topics (in chapters 3 and 17, respectively), but we do so with the kind of approach you might expect from the Guide. Read the section on Hardy-Weinberg and you'll see that we explain not only that it is, but why it works as it does and how it is used in society. Further, since many faculty do not review Hardy-Weinberg, we placed the material on it in a location (the back of the chapter) that made it available to those faculty who teach it, while keeping it unobtrusive for those faculty who don't. Along similar lines, faculty will notice that the Guide's coverage of cellular respiration (in Chapter 7) has become more flexible in that faculty can choose to have students walk through its metabolic steps or not. How can it work both ways? This has to do with a more general change in the third edition.

The Third Edition Art Program

If you look at Figure 7.5 on page 139, you can see that all the steps of glycolysis have now been moved into the illustration. The main text tells students to walk through these steps as required in their class, but the only place the steps are actually reviewed is the figure. This same thing then happens with the Krebs cycle. Thus, faculty can have their choice: assign reading in Chapter 7 with or without the metabolic details.

This movement of information into illustrations is not limited to the Guide's Chapter 7, however. It takes place throughout the book. In dozens of figures, captions have now been integrated with drawings, whereas before captions existed at the bottom or side of a figure. Likewise, a substantial amount of main-text information has been moved into the figures. Where these changes have been made, students can stay focused on a small visual space, rather than moving back and forth between drawings and captions or drawings and main-text.

Beyond this change, the colors used in the third-edition illustrations are more vibrant and the figures have a greater sense of three-dimensional perspective. Lots of new photos have been added, and there is a better integration of photos with illustrations. The upshot is a book whose art is more appealing, but our goal was not simply to produce a prettier book. The complicated figures that appear in biology textbooks can be intimidating to students. To the extent that such figures can be made more inviting, they should do a better job of capturing and holding student attention. Also, notice the small "hand-pointers" that have been added to numerous figures. (See, for example, Figure 7.5 on page 139.) In scientific drawings, students often have trouble picking out what's important from what's not. The pointers should help.

Guide Design

As in the previous editions of the Guide, each chapter in this edition is divided into numbered modules (1.1,1.2, and so forth), so that faculty can easily assign selected parts of a given chapter. The chapter sections are listed at the start of each chapter, and end-of-chapter summaries are indexed by section. On the first page of each chapter is a visual "filmstrip" that offers an intriguing preview of what's to come. Flip through the pages of the Guide, and you'll note another useful design element right away: Text almost always occupies the top' left of a page, with illustrations at the bottom. As a result, text continued from one page to the next is rarely broken up by a photo or illustration. Students reading text will not have their concentration broken by graphics when they turn to new pages.

The chief architect of the Guide's art continues to be artist and biologist Kim Quillin. Kim and I now have to communicate through electronic files, whisking them from one coast to the other, whereas when the book started out we communicated at a Berkeley Starbuck's. (Kim moved back to her native coastal Maryland after finishing her Ph.D. in biomechanics at U.C. Berkeley.) But our method of working has remained the same: We revise chapters at an early stage, based on the illustrations that Kim comes up with, thus ensuring a tight integration between text and illustrations. Put another way, the figures in the book aren't just adjuncts to the text. Rather, figures and text have shaped each other in a back-and-forth process.

Coverage of the Process of Discovery

One of the priorities for the third edition was to continue to impart to students a sense of how research results are arrived at in biology. Many of the book's chapters weave information on the process of discovery into explanations of what has been discovered. See, for example, Chapter 13 on Watson, Crick, and the DNA molecule; or Chapter 33 on proximate and ultimate causes in animal behavior. Each edition of the book has had series of stand-alone "How Did We Learn?" essays, and these have been updated and expanded for the third edition. (See the box on the discovery of penicillin in Chapter 20.) We have also kept in mind that, while faculty and students like these essays, they don't like them interrupting the flow of a chapter's main text. Thus, "How Did We Learn?" boxes continue to appear at the end of chapters.

Electronic Media and the Third Edition

The Guide continues to set a very high standard in its use of electronic media. For the third edition, the biggest change in media is t...

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