Biology is the scientific study of life, from the smallest microorganisms to the largest animals and plants. It is a vast field that encompasses a wide range of topics, from genetics and molecular biology to ecology and evolution and everything in between. Through the study of biology, we gain a deeper understanding of the natural world and our place in it.  

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and physiology are foundational topics for many healthcare and science-related careers. They provide a comprehensive understanding of the structure and function of the human body! 

Due to the sheer amount of information covered, it can be an overwhelming course for some students. That is why it is important to develop effective study strategies to help you stay on top of the material and achieve success. Please take the time to check out some of our other webpages to learn more about how you can study effectively for this course! 

There are many resources online, and some wonderful places to start are listed below: 

  • The Anatomy & Physiology Playlist from the crash course has a variety of quality videos.  
  • The Human anatomy and physiology video playlist from Khan academy has many in-depth videos, articles, and practice questions.  
  • The University of British Columbia has a stellar Clinical Anatomy resource bank that includes videos, interactive modules, pictures, and more!  
  • This Free Anatomy and Physiology Textbook offers robust information. The textbook includes practice questions, critical thinking questions, key terms, chapter reviews, videos, and interactive links to different questions.  
  • Zygote Body offers 3D models of the human body. You can visualize and study any part of the body using this interactive tool! Additionally, sketchfab offers a high-resolution human skeleton model.  
  • If you make an account on Kenhub, there are many free resources available along with worksheets, practice questions, and study tips! 
  • If you enjoy studying using flashcards, this website has tons of Free Anatomy Flashcards that were made by other students! Furthermore, Anki is a program that uses flashcards along with the principles of spaced repetition and active learning to help you remember information more effectively! 


Genetics is the study of the patterns of inheritance of traits from parents to offspring. The field was established by Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk, who conducted a series of experiments on pea plants. 

Mendel’s experiments involved crossbreeding different varieties of pea plants with specific traits, such as flower color or seed shape. He observed that the offspring of these crosses displayed distinct patterns of inheritance, which he described as the “laws of inheritance.” 

The first law, also known as the law of segregation, states that an organism has two copies of each gene (one inherited from each parent) and that these copies segregate or separate during gamete formation. This means that each gamete (sperm or egg cell) carries only one copy of each gene. 

The second law, also known as the law of independent assortment, states that different genes are inherited independently of each other. This means that the inheritance of one gene does not affect the inheritance of another gene. 

Together, these laws help explain the observed patterns of inheritance in offspring.  

The Basics of Cellular Biology

Cellular biology is the study of the basic unit of life – the cell. A cell is a complex and dynamic structure that carries out a range of functions essential for organism survival. Within the cell, there are several key components that work together so it can function properly. 

Check out these links for more information: 

Cellular Membrane

The cell membrane, also known as the plasma membrane, is a thin, flexible barrier enclosing a cell’s contents. It is made up of a phospholipid bilayer that consists of two layers of phospholipids with hydrophobic (water-fearing) tails and hydrophilic (water-loving) heads. 

The plasma membrane is a phospholipid bilayer with embedded proteins. There are other components, such as cholesterol and carbohydrates, which can be found in the membrane in addition to phospholipids and protein.

The cellular membrane plays several important roles in the cell. These include: 

  • Regulating the movement of substances in and out of the cell through a process called selective permeability. 
  • Providing structural support and maintaining the shape of the cell. 
  • Facilitating communication between the cell and its environment. 
  • Acting as a barrier to protect the cell from its surroundings. 

Overall, the cellular membrane plays a vital role in maintaining cellular homeostasis and function. 

For more information, please check out the links below: 

Biological Molecules

There are four main classes of biological molecules (also known as biomolecules): nucleic acids, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. Each of these classes has unique chemical and physical properties that enable them to carry out different functions in living organisms. 

DNA contains the genetic instructions for an organism, RNA plays a crucial role in the expression of these instructions, and proteins carry out many of the functions required for a cell to survive. Together, these components form the basis of cellular biology, and understanding their interactions and functions is essential for understanding life itself. 

Nucleic acids are molecules that store genetic information. They are composed of nucleotides, which consist of a nitrogenous base, a sugar molecule, and a phosphate group. The two types of nucleic acids are DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid). 

DNA contains genetic instructions for the development and function of all living organisms. It is a double-stranded helix composed of four types of nucleotides – adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G). These nucleotides are linked together by hydrogen bonds, with A always pairing with T and C always pairing with G. The order of these nucleotides, called the DNA sequence, determines the genetic code for an organism. 


RNA plays a crucial role in the expression of genetic information. There are several types of RNA, including messenger RNA (mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA), and ribosomal RNA (rRNA). mRNA carries the genetic information from DNA to ribosomes, where it is translated into protein.  


Proteins are complex molecules made up of amino acids. They are essential for many functions in the cell, including structural support, enzyme catalysis, and cell signaling. The sequence of amino acids in a protein is determined by the genetic code contained in DNA, and this sequence determines the protein’s shape and function. 

Lipids are a diverse group of molecules that include fats, oils, waxes, and phospholipids. They are primarily composed of carbon and hydrogen, with some oxygen. Lipids are important for energy storage, insulation, and forming cell membranes. 

Carbohydrates are molecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in a 1:2:1 ratio. They are commonly used as a source of energy by organisms, as well as for structural support and cell recognition. 

The Cell Cycle, Mitosis, and Meiosis

The cell cycle is a process by which a cell grows and divides into two daughter cells. Within the cell cycle, there is the mitotic phase where the nucleus divides, and leads to the formation of two genetically identical daughter cells. Meiosis, on the other hand, is a specialized form of cell division that produces four haploid cells, necessary for sexual reproduction. 

Interphase: This is the longest phase of the cell cycle, during which the cell grows, replicates its DNA, and prepares for cell division. Interphase can be further divided into three phases: 

  • G1 phase: The cell grows and carries out its normal metabolic activities. 
  • S phase: The cell synthesizes a duplicate copy of its DNA. 
  • G2 phase: The cell prepares for mitosis by synthesizing proteins and organelles needed for cell division. 

Mitosis results in two genetically identical haploid daughter cells. Mitosis takes place in somatic (non-reproductive) cells. The main stages of mitosis are: 

  1. Prophase: The chromatin condenses into visible chromosomes, and the nuclear envelope breaks down. 
  2. Metaphase: The chromosomes align at the center of the cell, called the metaphase plate. 
  3. Anaphase: The sister chromatids separate and move towards opposite poles of the cell. 
  4. Telophase: The chromosomes reach the opposite poles of the cell, and new nuclear envelopes form around them. 
  5. Cytokinesis: The cytoplasm divides, and two daughter cells are formed.

Meiosis is a process of cell division that occurs in the specialized cells of the gonads (ovaries and testes) in sexually reproducing organisms. It involves two rounds of cell division and produces four genetically diverse daughter cells. Each daughter cell has half the number of chromosomes as the original cell (making it a haploid cell). The main stages of meiosis are: 

  1. Meiosis I: The chromosomes condense and pair up with their homologous partner (synapsis). This is followed by crossing over, which is the exchange of genetic material between homologous chromosomes. The homologous chromosomes then separate and move to opposite poles of the cell. 
  2. Meiosis II: The sister chromatids separate and move to opposite poles of the cell, resulting in the formation of four haploid daughter cells. 

Meiosis creates genetic diversity through the processes of independent assortment (homologous chromosomes separate randomly) and crossing over (homologous chromosomes exchange genetic material). The genetic diversity that is generated is essential for evolution and the survival of species. 

For more information, please check out the resources below: 

DNA Replication, Transcription, and Translation

DNA replication is the process of making an exact copy of the DNA molecule, ensuring genetic information is preserved during cell division. Transcription copies specific DNA segments into RNA molecules, which serve as templates for protein synthesis. Translation, occurring in ribosomes, reads the mRNA sequence and assembles amino acids into proteins according to the genetic code. Together, these processes—DNA replication, transcription, and translation—ensure the accurate transmission and expression of genetic information in living organisms. 

DNA to RNA is Transcription, RNA to Protein is Translation

DNA replication is the process by which a cell makes an exact copy of its DNA. The result is two identical DNA molecules, each with one original strand and one new strand. 

For more information, please check out these resources: 

Transcription is the process by which genetic information stored in DNA is copied into RNA. This process occurs in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells and in the cytoplasm of prokaryotic cells. The resulting RNA molecule is called messenger RNA (mRNA). 

For more information, please check out these resources: 

Translation is the process by which the genetic information encoded in mRNA is used to synthesize a protein. Translation occurs in the cytoplasm of both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. The resulting protein has a specific sequence of amino acids, which determines its structure and function. 

For more information, please check out these resources: 

Properties of Water

Water (H2O) is a simple molecule consisting of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Here are some of the basic and important chemical properties of water: 

  1. Polarity: Water is a polar molecule, meaning that it has a partial positive charge on one end (the hydrogen atoms) and a partial negative charge on the other end (the oxygen atom). This polarity allows water molecules to form hydrogen bonds with each other. 
  2. High heat capacity: Water has a high specific heat capacity, which means that it can absorb a large amount of heat energy without experiencing a significant increase in temperature. This property helps to regulate the temperature of living organisms and their environments. 
  3. High heat of vaporization: Water has a high heat of vaporization, which means that it requires a lot of energy to turn from a liquid to a gas. This property makes water an effective coolant and helps to regulate temperature in biological systems. 
  4. High boiling point: Water has a high boiling point compared to other similar-sized molecules. This is due to the hydrogen bonding between water molecules, which requires a large amount of energy to break. 
  5. Strong surface tension: Water has strong surface tension, meaning that it can resist external forces that would break its surface.  
  6. Neutral pH: Pure water has a neutral pH of 7, meaning it is neither acidic nor basic. This makes it a good solvent for many biological molecules that require a neutral environment to function properly. 

Overall, the unique chemical properties of water make it a versatile and essential molecule for many biological and chemical processes. 

Diffusion is the movement of particles (such as molecules, ions, or even cells) from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration. Particles will naturally move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration until the concentration is equalized. Diffusion occurs in both gases and liquids and is a fundamental process for many biological and physical phenomena. 

Osmosis is a specific type of diffusion that involves the movement of water molecules across a semi-permeable membrane. A semi-permeable membrane allows some molecules to pass through but not others. With osmosis, water molecules will move from an area of lower solute concentration (higher water concentration) to an area of higher solute concentration (lower water concentration) until the solute concentration is equalized on both sides of the membrane. 

For more information, please check out the links below: 


Ecology is the scientific study of how organisms interact with each other and their environment. 

Some of the topics covered under the branch of ecology include: 

  1. Population ecology, which focuses on how populations of organisms grow and change over time. 
  2. Community ecology is the study of interactions between populations of different species within a given ecosystem. It involves the study of the structure, dynamics, and diversity of communities of organisms, as well as the processes that regulate their interactions. 
  3. Ecosystem ecology is the study of interactions between living organisms and their environment. It involves the study of biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem, their interactions, and the flow of energy and matter through the system.  
  4. Biogeochemical cycles are the processes by which elements like carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus are cycled through the living and non-living components of an ecosystem.  

For a crash course in Ecology, check out this series of videos on YouTube. 

For additional information, take a look at these links below: 

Additional Resources

  • The Khan Academy Biology Library features text, activities, and videos to help you strengthen your grasp on the basics of biology. 
  • Concepts of Biology | OpenStax offers free textbooks with a range of different biology topics! 
  • Science Prof has a cache of free learning materials (college lecture notes, PowerPoints, and lots more!) to help you with your Bio class.  
  • Amoeba Sisters Biology Learning Playliston YouTube offers cartoon-style videos that are robust with information! They cover a variety of biology topics, so be sure to look. 
  • Biology Corner has a database of learning materials (mostly worksheets) on various biology topics. Use the “Worksheet by topic” menu or the search bar (just ignore the ad results) to find a specific topic.    
  • The Biology Project, started by professors at the University of Arizona, features a cache of problem sets and tutorials. Bonus: many of the materials are also available in Spanish. The Site Map may be easier to navigate than the main page. 
  • Do you prefer to learn with videos?  A fun series of biology videos (with good content!) is Crash Course Biology. 



Fowler, Samanth, Wise, J., & Roush, R. (2013). Concepts of Biology. OpenStax. 

Fowler, Samanth, Wise, J., & Roush, R. (2013). Concepts of Biology. OpenStax. 

Some content from the Biology webpage was generated using ChatGPT. 

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model]. 

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