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

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9780130921789: Biology: A Guide to the Natural World (2nd Edition)
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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 20 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 Angeles Times Book Prize in Science and Technology. David has written on physics and on technology issues, but his primary interest has been in biology. He has written on the possible effect methane may be having on global warming; on early research' into the role that growth factors may play in neural regeneration following injury; on the synthesis of naturally occurring neurotoxins and their possible use in heart disease; on the use of imported drugs to treat cancer; and on the relationship between alcohol and mood states in women. He has a particular interest in the history of biology and in the relationship between biological research and modern American culture. He holds bachelor's degrees in both journalism and history from the University of Missouri. In another facet of his writing career, he is the director of communications for the Academic Senate of the University of California.

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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 students 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 team who produced both the first, and now the second edition 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 Second Edition?

Much has changed in the Guide from the first edition to the second. Here's a brief listing of the subject matter that is new in the second edition.

  • Increased coverage of the diversity of the living world, including a new chapter on animal diversity
  • A new chapter on animal behavior
  • Increased coverage of human evolution
  • Coverage of many of the new developments in biotechnology: stem-cell research, the possibility of human cloning and xenotransplantation, the results of the sequencing of the human genome, and the controversy surrounding genetically modified foods
  • Expanded coverage of the issue of global warming
  • Updated or new information on such issues as Mad Cow disease, acid rain, and fad diets

Some detail on these additions probably is in order. Anyone who writes a textbook has to carry out a balancing act between putting in too much and putting in too little. Following publication of the first edition, faculty convinced us that we had erred on the side of too little in connection with two topics: the diversity of life and animal behavior. Therefore, with this edition, readers will see expanded coverage of both topics. Where once we covered diversity in a single chapter, we now cover it in two, the second of which is devoted to animals. The diversity coverage has also been rearranged, so that faculty who want to review plants without going into the details of their anatomy and physiology can do so with the help of the book's first diversity chapter. Meanwhile, animal behavior got its own chapter in the second edition. Students seem to find this a fascinating subject, and their author did too, after diving into it. The Guide's diversity coverage begins with Chapter 20, while its animal behavior Chapter is 31.

Faculty and students also wanted more coverage of human evolution in the book, and to that end, we have substantially expanded our coverage of this subject. The long, last module of Chapter 19 is given over to it. I'm happy to say that we are as up-to-date as a textbook can be on this fast-moving field. Faculty who wanted to see coverage of the senses will find, in Chapter 25, a long section on vision as an example of our sensory capabilities.

Apart from expanding into new areas, the second edition of the Guide also needed to take account of new developments in biology. There has been plenty to take account of. As one who has followed perhaps a score of research areas for several years now, I can attest that there is no grass growing under the feet of biologists. The sequencing of the human genome has brought with it a tidal wave of new findings—new fields of biology, even. (It would be interesting to pinpoint the first published use of such terms as bioinformatics.) As a result, this book's biotechnology coverage, in Chapter 15, has changed greatly. It wasn't just the sequencing of the human genome that necessitated this change, however. Reproductive cloning has raised the possibility of human cloning and xenotransplantation. Meanwhile, the fight over genetically modified foods has greatly intensified in the past couple of years. Readers will find expanded coverage of all these issues in Chapter 15. Another fast-emerging and controversial field in biology is that of stem-cell research. This topic seemed a natural fit with the book's Chapter 27, which covers development.

With each passing month since the first edition was published, biology seems to have figured ever more prominently in other societal issues as well. Accordingly, the second edition of the Guide has retained and updated its coverage of such subjects as DNA fingerprinting, cancer, and acid rain, while adding new essays on such subjects as Mad Cow disease (Chapter 20), fad diets (Chapter 3), and human sexuality (Chapter 31). Global warming has emerged in the past two years as perhaps the planet's single most worrisome environmental issue. Readers will find updated and expanded coverage of it in Chapter 30.

Coverage of the Process of Discovery

One of the priorities for the second edition was to continue to impart to students a sense of how research results are arrived at in biology. Most 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 31 on proximate and ultimate causes in animal behavior. The first edition of the book also had a series of stand-alone "How Did We Learn?" essays, and these have been updated and expanded for the second edition. (See the box on animal navigation in Chapter 31.) We also noted that, while faculty and students like these essays, they didn't like them interrupting the flow of a chapter's main text. Thus, "How Did We Learn?" boxes now appear at the end of chapters, rather than in the middle of them.

Electronic Media and the Second Edition

One of the most exciting features of the second edition concerns not what the book covers, but enhancements in its coverage that have been made possible by electronic media. Students and faculty have come to expect sophisticated media components in textbooks, but with the second edition of A Guide to the Natural World, I think we will exceed their expectations.

The book's media offerings for students can be conceptualized as falling into two categories. First, there are the CD-ROM Tutorials—well-named because collectively they function as a kind of book-length tutor. Each of them leads students through a series of related biological concepts with the help of the specialized teaching tool of animation. If, upon reading Chapter 14 on genetic transcription and translation, a student isn't able to visualize how transfer RNA and messenger RNA work together at ribosomes, he or she can turn to the chapter's CD-ROM Tutorial and see this process laid out, step by step, with all the kinetics presented in animations. This story, of manufacturing proteins, is a CD-ROM "learning module" for Chapter 14—one of four contained in that chapter's CD-ROM Tutorial. Each module walks students through a key chapter concept; each contains an interactive activity or exercise; and each ends with its own summary and mini-quiz.

All the CD-ROM Tutorials were developed by Mike Guidry and his colleagues at Light-Cone Interactive. Mike's team produced a tutorial for every chapter in the book, each one identified in the text with an icon.

Of course, students can turn to tutorial animations simply to make a given book illustration come to life; but they can also use the tutorials as just that-as learning sessions that employ interactive, step-by-step progressions. The proof here is in the pudding; take a look at some of the tutorials, and I think you'll agree they are a strong addition to the book.

Apart from the CD-ROM Tutorials, the Guide has, in its second edition, an expanded roster of the MediaLabs that proved so popular in the first edition. Produced by Peggy Brickman of the University of Georgia, these MediaLabs are aimed at making plain the linkage between biological concepts and real-world issues, and at fostering critical thinking about this linkage. A given lab starts by having st...

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