Cycles of Life: Exploring Biology gives students a breathtaking view of the origin and nature of life, from the simplest single-celled forms to complex plants, animals and human beings. As an introductory biology course, it teaches the fundamentals of biology as well as how biology is applied in the real world. This course examines the scientific method and considers both its promises and limitations. Students will develop an understanding of the basic concepts of biology, the characteristic elements, processes, and features common to all life forms, the nature and workings of the human body, and the vital role humans play in the total ecology of the earth. The lessons provide a dramatic, educational, and inspiring journey through the web of life that connects all living creatures.
Instructors can customize the course by making learning assets open or closed to student view, add learning assets such as new assignments, discussion forums, web research activities, and extra credit work. Finally, there is the option of turning on automatic student tracking that simplifies the evaluation process.
The textbook to accompany this course is Biology: Concepts and Applications, written by Cecie Starr, Christine Evers, and Lisa Starr. Additional information is provided under the “How to Adopt Course & Print Materials” tab below. To request access to an electronic review copy of the textbook, please contact Cengage Learning.
For access to Coast Learning Systems’ online course preview site, please complete a Preview Request Form.
Lesson Titles and Descriptions
1. The Unity and Diversity of Life
The next question explored is “What is the scientific method?” Biologists Bonnie Roohk and John Moore outline the steps in the scientific method against the backdrop of a specific example: researchers apply the techniques in an investigation of pesticide resistance in mosquitoes.
In the third segment, paleontologist Blaire Van Valkenburgh uses scientific method to study the unity and diversity of life. By analyzing bone structure in fossilized saber-tooth cats, she traces the evolution and extinction of different species.
The ultimate goal is to inspire an appreciation for the processes that contributed to the amazing variety, yet common threads, of life.
2. Chemical Foundations of Life
In the program’s first segment, Dr. Mark Poth documents the harmful effects of the prolonged exposure of pine trees to Southern California’s polluted air. In the process, he deals with the nature of the atom and introduces organic and inorganic compounds. The program goes on to explain how chemical reactions change compounds and how isotopes are used as a research tool.
In segment two, the process of desalination serves as the vehicle to describe the many properties of water and the importance of water to life. Animations illustrate how hydrogen and oxygen atoms bond together to form a polar molecule.
Segment three examines the work of Dr. Susan Taylor, who discovered the stru cture of the enzyme protein kinase, explaining how living beings are essentially chemical entities. The crucial role of complex shapes in organic molecules is also explained.
3. Secrets of the Cell
sounds amid the din of background noise from the crowd.
In the next segment, Dr. Robert Heath discusses the role of membranes in cells and the importance of molecular movements in plants.
Finally, the program compares wholly different types of cells: the cells of prokaryotes versus those of eukaryotes. Dr. Dennis Focht tells why bacteria are self – contained living cells that envelop and permeate almost everything around us. He also describes the incredibly complex world of prokaryotes. Included in the program are discussions of the various organelles found in eukaryotic cells.
4. The Power of Metabolism
Next, the program discusses bioluminescence as an example of a unique metabolic process. Using her study of bioluminescent fish, Dr. Margo Haygood relates how an enzyme that carries out a bioluminescent reaction is a luciferase.
In conclusion, Professors Saltman and Haygood summarize the first two laws of thermodynamics. As various animals, including humans, give a display of energy expenditure, the experts discuss the concepts of changing energy from one form to another and constantly using ATP to maintain order in metabolic systems.
5. Energy In—Energy Out
the Calvin – Benson cycle.
Dr. Paul Saltman describes the three stages in aerobic respiration: glycolysis, Krebs cycle, and electron transport
phosphorylation. He later explains another form of cellular respiration: fermentation. It is illustrated by active yeast in the beer-brewing process.
6. Generations: Mitosis and Meiosis
The program reveals that each species has a specific number of chromosomes: Humans have 46, horsetail grass has 216, and pea plants have 14. As an organism develops, its cells begin to differentiate into various forms (e.g., nerve cells, muscle cells, and bone cells) that are not clones, although each cell in an organism does carry an exact copy of all chromosomes. The process of mitosis is illustrated by a trip to a winery, where grapes of prime stock are cloned to preserve genetic characteristics in each crop. In contrast, meiosis produces cells, called gametes, with only half of the hereditary information of the parent germ cells. Researcher Arlene Kumamoto of the Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species discusses the implication of cell division on the reproductive patterns of dik-dik antelopes at the San Diego Zoo.
7. Patterns of Inheritance
8. DNA: Blueprint of Life
indicate the gene replacement was successful because the boy’s blood cells are producing a necessary enzyme.
9. Proteins: Building Blocks of Life
This introduction to the subject gives way to a story of unusual mosquitoes that have developed resistance, through mutation and natural selection, to most current forms of insecticides. How are mosquito populations affected by genetic and environmental conditions? In evaluating the insects’ response to the pressure of insecticides, the program discusses selection pressures.
Divergence and various forms of isolation — including geographic, reproductive, structural, and behavioral — are illustrated by plant and animal life on a California coastal island. Misty Gay and Allan Fone show examples of plants on Catalina Island that evolved differently from their counterparts on the mainland. Because of specific environmental pressures unlike those on the mainland, animals on the island evolved into various subspecies. Examples such as the Dwarf Gray Fox show mechanisms that prevent interbreeding, such as isolation of gametes and isolation through time.
Paleontologists Eric Scott and Kathleen Springer explain how discovering fossils gives one a “snapshot in time” of the animals and ecosystems of an era. Fossils give clues to phylogeny, how one animal species is related to another.
Next, the concepts of homologous structures and shared characteristics are described by Dr. Blaire Van Valkenburgh. By studying the teeth and bones of ancient wolves and saber – tooth cats, she is able to reconstruct these animals that disappeared long ago. Further, Dr. David Bottjer discusses extinctions in general — why they occur and why the history of life on Earth is dotted with mass extinctions.
In conclusion, Dr. Russell Doolittle and Dr. Stanley Miller explain the unique combination of chemical, temperature, and atmospheric conditions that became the criteria for the origin of life on Earth.
12. Viruses, Bacteria, and Protistans
The second segment examines bacterial and viral threats to the community through food. Bacteria account for half of the history of life on Earth. They are defined and the subkingdoms of archaebacteria and eubacteria are described. An animation illustrates their incredibly swift reproductive processes. Further, Alex McPherson explains why viruses are not considered to be part of the five kingdoms of life.
Finally, in an exploration of the kingdom of protistans, Dr. Peter Franks discusses plankton, dinoflagellates, and phytoplankton. His work centers on studies of the algae that cause “Red Tide.”
13. Fungi, Plants, and Animals
In the first segment, Larry Beezley, curator of Quail Gardens, and Dr. Michael Simpson describe the evolution of plant species and their differing structures from bryophytes like mosses to angiosperms, the flowering plants. The program details how spore-bearing plants such as ferns quickly had competition from the wildly successful modern flowering plants.
In the second segment, Dr. Tom Bruns explains that fungi are decomposers and are necessary to recycle organic materials into the soil. The fascinating life cycle of the common button mushroom is illustrated by R. B. Crouch, who takes us on a tour of his mushroom farm.
Finally, Dr. David Resnick and Dr. James Lake explain the many phylogenetic branches of the animal kingdom. The role of distinct organs is contrast ed between simpler and more complex animals.
14. Plant Structure
Looking deeper into plant tissues, the program indicates that primary growth originates at apical meristems and at meristematic tissues derived from them. Secondary growth includes the thickening of the stems and roots. Dr. Arthur Gibson tells us about the variety of stems, from grass to lumber, and explains why the differing meristem cells are necessary.
An animation illustrates the cohesion-tension theory of water transport. As water molecules exit the plant via transpiration, cohesion of water creates tension throughout the plant to pull water molecules into the roots and xylem. This type of movement and other crucial processes rely on the leaves, which are the organs for photosynthesis and balancing the outside environment and internal workings of the plant or tree. Dr. Robert Heath guides us through leaf structure and function.
15. Plant Reproduction
Regarding structural development of plants, scientists have discovered that hormones control it in much the same way they influence the shaping of animals. Dr. Elliot Meyerowitz discusses his research on the genetics of Aribidopsis—mouse-ear cress — and establishes the action of hormones such as auxins, gibberellins, cytokinins, and ethylene. Applying microbiology to understanding plant reproduction promises greater production of the fruits and seeds that are most precious to us.
16. Animal Structure
The program touches on the similarities and differences of integument, from reptile to amphibian and, ultimately, to mammals. In the first segment, against the backdrop of a “tortoise refuge,” Dr. David Reznick explains the relationships between tissues, organs, and organ systems. An animation illustrates different tissues in a tiny bit of skin, an organ that serves similar functions of protection and temperature regulation in many animals.
In the second segment, muscle atrophy in astronauts is used as a vehicle to describe the muscle system. Physiologist Kenneth Baldwin describes what causes muscle contractions on a cellular level.
In the final segment, thoroughbred-horse training leads to a discussion of the skeletal system. Dr. Reznick explains the dynamic nature of skeletal structure and bone cell structure.
17. Circulation: A River of Life
20. Digestion and Fluid Balance
21. The Neural Connection
22. Endocrine Control: Systems in Balance
23. Animal Reproduction and Development
In exploring the female and male reproductive systems, the program focuses on human anatomy and physiology. The concepts are illustrated by a couple that goes through in-vitro fertilization successfully. A highlight of this segment is a graphic explanation of the menstrual cycle.
Later, Dr. Peggy Grau describes the stages of fetal development. A fetus is seen as it develops through the trimesters, and the concepts of migration and induction are explained.
24. Populations and Communities
In another relationship, an owl and a mouse illustrate predation in a grove of trees. Other examples of species in teraction include commensalism and mutualism. The program explains the niches of the Great Horned Owl and the Common Barn Owl, which operate in an example of competitive exclusion.
Finally, Dr. Lynn Carpenter explains, the way humans operate and adapt has made them, biologically speaking, one of the most successful species on Earth. Dr. John Weeks tells how population growth is affected by the relationship between birth rates and death rates.
25. Ecosystems and the Biosphere
Dick Zembal reveals one such ecosystem as he struggles to save the Clapper Rail, an endangered bird species of the salt marsh. Further, salt marsh plants and animals are used as an example of a complex food web.
Delving further into an aspect of an ecosystem, a controlled “burn” in a forest illustrates the cycling of nutrients in an ecosystem. The story shows how carbon and nitrogen are released and reused by the environment after a forest fire, and how some plants depend on fires to trigger new growth.
Finally, Dr. Warren Blier explains the effect of global weather patterns on climate. Detailing the importance of precipitation zones, Dr. Mark Poth takes us on a tour of the ecosystems found at different elevations on a mountain.
26. The Human Factor
The second segment explores new non-carbon-based fuel supplies, hydrogen-powered vehicles, solar power, and fusion as possible solutions to a dependency on carbon fuels.
In the third segment, Dr. William Frankenberger illustrates an innovative way to clean up toxic wastes by using microorganisms that occur naturally in the environment. The concept of bioremediation is explained. These stories help to illuminate balance in ecosystems and human beings’ role in the environment.
National Academic Advisory Team
Nancy Dengler, Professor, Department of Botany, University of Toronto
Brian Earle, Division of Natural and Applied Sciences, Cedar Valley Community College
Jack Goldberg, Section NPB Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, Davis
Samuel Huang, Professor of Biology, Riverside Community College
Gary H. Karpen, Molecular Biology and Virology Laboratory, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Carolyn Robertson, Director of Instructional Television and Extended Courses, Tarrant County Junior College
Tim Tirrell, Chairperson, New Jersey Community College Telecommunications Consortium, Inc., Cumberland County College
Randall Warwick, Professor, Coastline Community College
Kenneth Baldwin, Professor Physiology & Biophysics, University of California, Irvine
Cyril H. Barton, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of California, Irvine
Mike Bartusick, Park Bench Café
Carol A. Beuchat, Associate Professor of Biology, San Diego State University
Dr. Warren Blier, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Dynamics, University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. David Bottger, University of Southern California
Marianne Bronner-Fraser, Professor of Biology, University of California, Irvine
Dr. Tom Bruns, Department of Environmental Science, University of California, Berkeley
Jack H. Burk, Professor Biological Sciences, California State University, Fullerton
Tom Burnes, Glencastle Brewery & Belmont Brewery
Vince Caiozzo, Department of Biology, University of California, Irvine
Dr. F. Lynn Carpenter, Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine
Dr. Mel Carpenter, Carpenter Dove Releases
Dr. Michael Clegg, University of California, Riverside
J. Travis Columbus, Research Biologist, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens
Dr. Christopher B. Cooper, University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine
Bob Crouch, Mountain Meadow Mushrooms
Dr. David G. Diaz, West Coast Fertility Clinic
Russell Doolittle, Professor of Biology, University of California, San Diego
Dr. Robin Dore
Gregory Erickson, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine
Dr. Jeanne Erickson, Department of Biochemistry, University of Missouri
Chris Evans, Professor of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles
Richard Firtel, Professor, Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego
Dennis Focht, Microbiologist, University of California, Riverside
Allan Fone, Restoration Ecologist, Santa Catalina Conservancy
William F. Frankenberger, Professor of Soil Microbiology, University of California, Riverside
Dr. Peter Franks, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Scott Fraser, California Technical University
Diane Freeman, United States Forest Service
D. Michael Fry, Professor of Biology, University of California, Davis
Pat Gallagher, Comaduke Productions
Dr. Jeffrey Galpin
Misty Gay, Naturalist, Santa Catalina Island Conservancy
George Georghiou, Professor of Entomology, University of California, Riverside
Dr. Arthur C. Gibson, University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Edward S. Golub
Mrs. Carolyn Goode
Dr. Peggy Grau, Kaiser Permanente
Dr. Susan Hackwood, Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of California, Riverside
Margo Haygood, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
Robert Heath, Plant Physiologist, University of California, Riverside
James Heffel, Senior Project Engineer, University of California, Riverside
Dr. Barry Heller, Emergency Physician, St. Mary’s Hospital
Alfred Hershey, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives
James W. Hicks, Associate Professor of Biology, University of California, Irvine
Dr. Ann M. Hirsch, Department of Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
Leroy Hood, Professor of Molecular Biotechnology, University of Washington
Eleanor Huang, Professor of Nutrition, Orange Coast College
George L. Hunt, Jr., Professor of Biology, University of California, Irvine
Dr. Cage S. Johnson, University of Southern California
E. W. “Bud” Johnston, Old English Ranch
Dr. Eugene C. Jones, Professor of Biology, California State University, Fullerton
Dr. Gary Karpen
Dr. Carol Kasper, Orthopaedic Hospital
Kathleen Keeler, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska
Dr. Donald, B. Kohn, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
Dr. Gerald L. Kooyman, Research Professor, Polar Images
Arlene Kumamoto, Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species, Zoological Society of San Diego
James A. Lake, Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Kirk Larson, University of California South Coast Research Station
Keith Lyle, St. Louis Rams
Ernst Mayr, Museum Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
Karen Martin, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, Pepperdine University
Alicia McDonough, Ph.D., Professor, Physiology, University of Southern California
James L. McGaugh, Ph.D., Director, Center for the Neurobiology of Learning, University of California, Irvine
Alex McPherson, Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside
Jerald M. Medwa
Dr. Robert Merz, Cardiologist, St. John’s Medical Center
Richard P. Meyer, Ph.D., Vector Ecologist, Orange County Vector Control District
Elliot Meyerowitz, Professor of Biology, California Institute of Technology
Dr. Hildy Meyers, Medical Director, Epidemiology, Orange County Public Health
Alan Mikolich, Beekeeper
Dr. Stanley Miller, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of San Diego
Austin K. Mircheff, Ph.D., Professor of Physiology, University of Southern California School of Medicine
Dr. John Moore, University of California, Riverside
Kevin Moses, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California
Christopher Nance, N.B.C.
Peter Narins, Professor of Physiological Science, University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Aurelia Nattiv, Division of Family Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles
John Newport, Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego
Dr. Xuong Nguen-Huu, University of California, San Diego
Walter Oechel, Professor of Biology, San Diego State University
Dr. Richard Olmstead, Professor of Botany, University of Colorado
D. J. Peterson
Mark A. Poth, Research Soil Scientist, USDA Forest Service Research
Shahbudin Rahimtoola, H.M.D., Professor of Cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles
David Reznick, Professor of Biology, University of California, Riverside
Cathy Rigby-Mc Coy, Entertainment
Dr. Catherine Rivier, The Clayton Foundation Lab, The Salk Institute
John Roads, Meteorologist, Scripps Institution
Bonita Roohk, Golden West College
Marvin Rosenberg, California State University, Fullerton
Paul Saltman, Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego
Brett Scott, Casa de Tortuga
Eric Scott, Paleontologic Field Supervisor, San Bernardino County Museum
Julie Schaffer, Clinical Research Associate
Dave Schissel, General Atomic Corporation
Allan Schoenherr, Professor of Ecology, Fullerton College
Vaughn Shoemaker, Professor of Zoology, University of California, Riverside
Dwayne Simmons, Physiologist, University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Michael Simpson, Department of Biology, San Diego State University
Gary M. Snyder, Chief Engineer, Metropolitan Water District
J. H. Sokolowski, D.V.M., Ph.D., Professional Services Manager, Waltham U.S.A. Inc.
Kathleen Springer, Paleontologic Project Manager, San Bernardino County Museum
Charles Taylor, Professor of Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
Susan S. Taylor, Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego
Richard K. Tramp, D.V.M., Old English Rancho
Randy L. Tucker, Sargent – Police Department, City of Garden Grove
Blaire Van Valkenburgh, Professor of Paleobiology, University of California, Los Angeles
Inder Verma, Professor, Lab. of Genetics, The Salk Institute
Donald Warren, Old English Rancho
Dr. John Wasmuth, Department of Biological Chemistry, University of California, Irvine
James Watson. Geneticist. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives
Craig Weaver, Callaway Vineyard & Winery
James Webb, Jr., PO, Vector Ecologist, Orange County Vector Control District
Dr. John R. Weeks, Demographer, San Diego State University
Dr. Scott Weldy
Guy D. & Billie Jo Wiles
Christopher Wills, Geneticist, University of California, San Diego
Jeffrey Wilson, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Newport Behavioral Health Clinic
Coast breaks from the traditional order of topics and in a fashion that emphasizes key concepts better, and that allows students understanding to develop in a more natural manner."
— David Carter, Angelo State University
How to Adopt Course & Print Materials
This online course is hosted and provided in a Moodle® (LMS) shell, and instructors can link from their institution’s LMS or send their students directly to the class URL. Coast Learning Systems provides instructor and student technical support via an electronic help desk, which is monitored 7 days a week. Our goal is to make sure you enjoy teaching with our content and that your students have an engaging and positive learning experience.
The Online Course Request Form should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the start of your class.
Biology: Concepts and Applications
Cengage Learning, ISBN: 978-1-2854-2781-2
The textbook is available in paperback, as an eBook with multiple access lengths, eChapter, or as a rental with multiple options.
One-Time Use Online Course Access Code
Coast Learning Systems, (800) 547-4748
Access Codes are sold through bookstores only; we do not sell directly to students.
If you are interested in licensing just the videos as a resource for your own online, hybrid, video-based, or traditional course, please contact our office. In areas where connectivity is a challenge, DVDs are a perfect solution. All of the video lessons are available in a professionally produced set of DVDs and are available directly from Coast Learning Systems. Please contact our office for DVD options and pricing, (800) 547-4748.