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    Concepts of Biology

    (57 reviews)

    Samantha Fowler, Clayton State University

    Rebecca Roush, Sandhills Community College

    James Wise, Hampton University

    Copyright Year:

    Last Update: 2024

    ISBN 13: 9781947172036

    Publisher: OpenStax

    Language: English

    Formats Available

    Conditions of Use

    Attribution Attribution
    CC BY


    Learn more about reviews.

    Reviewed by Rebekkah Vail, Biology adjunct professor, University of Saint Francis on 7/10/23

    This textbook has all of the units we typically cover in BIOL 122. It is written for college non-biology majors and actually has more information than we can utilize in a single semester class. It is easy to link to the syllabus and Canvas and... read more

    Reviewed by Michellei Fisher, Lecturer, Leeward Community College on 11/20/22

    This book provides a comprehensive foundational overview of biological concepts suitable for 100 level introductory biology courses. It is broken down into six units which cover diverse topics from cellular division and genetics to population... read more

    Reviewed by Zhihan Carpenter, Adjunct Professor, Tidewater Community College on 7/30/22

    The book covers all the major topics for an introductory biology course. The QR code makes it easy for tech-savvy students to access supplemental materials that provide them helps outside the classroom. The glossary is easy to navigate. read more

    Reviewed by Evan Fiedler, Adjunct Faculty, Tidewater Community College on 7/18/22

    The textbook is exceptionally organized. There are 6 essential units with content divided into 21 chapters. Prior to the content, there is an explanation of the use of the digital highlighter for students to make virtual notes. read more

    Reviewed by May Coulson, Adjunct Faculty, City Colleges of Chicago on 5/27/22

    Most of the chapters and information are sufficient for a basic non-majors biology course- I think the links with QR codes are appropriate for the tech savy student and still basic enough giving the specific website (URL) for those non-traditional... read more

    Reviewed by Kai Blaisdell, Visiting Assistant Professor, St. Mary's College of California on 5/28/21

    Concepts of Biology includes almost everything that I would normally include in a one-semester General Biology course. In Chapter 5, I found the coverage of environmental adaptations in photosynthesis to lack depth, and I included another resource... read more

    Reviewed by Joseph Harari, Adjunct Instructor, North Shore Community College on 5/24/21

    Highly comprehensive for a two-semester intro to biology course. Almost every topic that would be taught in BIO1-BIO2 is covered extensively. Animal behavior could be a topic to add for future editions. read more

    Reviewed by Kent Cubbage, Biology Professor, Aiken Technical College on 3/11/21

    The book covers all of the major and germane concepts associated with a two semester non-majors course. read more

    Reviewed by Adele Doperalski, Senior Professorial Lecturer, American University on 2/26/21

    This book is a good survey of important biological concepts that are appropriate for non-major undergraduates. read more

    Reviewed by Collin MacLeod, Biology instructor, Rogue Community College on 8/17/20

    All concepts typically covered in an introductory biology course are thoroughly and concisely covered. read more

    Reviewed by Kristen Kane, Adjunct Faculty, Mount Wachusett Community College on 6/28/20

    There wasn't really an area of my introductory biology course that wasn't covered in this text. Very thorough. read more

    Reviewed by Kristin Osborne, Assistant Professor, Massachusetts Maritime Academy on 6/23/20

    This textbook surveys the essential topics of biology in the appropriate amount of detail for non-biology major undergraduates. read more

    Reviewed by Amanda Rumore, Assistant Professor, Randolph College on 12/19/19

    This book is the perfect amount of content for an introductory, non-majors biology course, especially those taught in a condensed, single-semester format. All of the major units are covered without excessive detail and organized in a logical... read more

    Reviewed by Jessalyn Sabin, Biology Instructor, Minnesota State on 6/30/19

    This textbook covers all of the major areas in basic biology: the chemistry of life, cell respiration, photosynthesis, cell structure, genetics, evolution, cell division, biotechnology, species diversity, body systems, and ecology. The concepts... read more

    Reviewed by David Rudge, Professor, Western Michigan University on 5/30/19

    Concepts of Biology provides a comprehensive overview of all topics that would typically be taught in an introductory biology course, from the molecular and cellular basis of life, to the structure and function of the human body, ecology and... read more

    Reviewed by Wendy Ryan, Professor, Kuztown University on 5/17/19, updated 11/9/20

    The text is comprehensive and covers all topics typically covered in an introductory biology course. The active links will make it easy for students to use, and while there is no comprehensive glossary, key terms are defined at the end of each... read more

    Reviewed by Jennifer Price, Visiting Assistant Professor, East Tennessee State University on 4/25/19

    All major concepts covered in introductory non-majors Biology courses, plus some, are covered here. I like that key terms are presented at the end of individual chapters in which they are introduced and relevant. There is also an effective index... read more

    Reviewed by Karen Arbuckle, Instructor of Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas Cossatot on 4/24/19

    I have been using this OER textbook for my online and traditional biology classes for several years now. I am very pleased with the comprehensiveness of the materials provided in the book. This book meets all of our class outcomes and objectives. read more

    Reviewed by Amanda Brammer, Associate Professor , Northshore Technical Community College (NTCC) on 4/22/19

    Concepts of Biology contains a wealth of information on biology and covers every topic that a general book should. It contains an extensive table of contents, which is organized by unit, by chapter, and by section within each chapter. This... read more

    Reviewed by Timothy Rohrbach, Assistant Professor of Biology, Richard Bland College of William & Mary on 4/5/19

    The topics presented are the traditional biological topics covered in a first-year general biology course. The depth of each topic is appropriate for a non-major biology course. I appreciate the learning objectives listed at the beginning of each... read more

    Reviewed by Alex Shupinski, Teaching Assistant, University of Nebraska - Lincoln on 3/31/19

    The textbook has the topics in an order that allows students to build on their knowledge in a way that connects the concept to the previous ones. The concepts are broken down into sections where further detail is addressed allowing for deeper... read more

    Reviewed by Binaya Adhikari, Lecturer, Longwood University on 3/6/19

    It has a good representation of major biology topics for an introductory nonmajors biology. But I think having an entire unit for animal structure and function is too much. Interesting and relevant topics from this unit would be incorporated with... read more

    Reviewed by Maria Entezari, Associate Professor, LAGCC on 1/15/19

    This book covers all different topics that I need for the non-majors Biology course. The content is suitable for students who don’t have the background knowledge of Biology and easy enough to be understood by non-majors’ students. The learning... read more

    Reviewed by Dan Ropek, Biology Instructor, Columbia Gorge Community College on 12/13/18

    The text is comprehensive, in that it surveys biology from pre-life conditions (chemistry) to ecosystems. read more

    Reviewed by Amanda Adams, Instructor of Biological Sciences, Fort Hays State University on 11/29/18

    Overall, this open educational resource (OER) provides the foundation for everything that I need for my non-majors Biology course. The content covered is comprehensive and appropriate for a first-year non-majors Biology course. The flow of... read more

    Reviewed by Joyce Kaplan, Faculty, Portland Community College on 8/2/18

    The text covered most areas fully, but for a non-majors text shortchanges climate change information and has more detail than needed in areas of molecular biology. Subchapters have glossaries but the overall text should have a glossary that would... read more

    Reviewed by Laurie Mauger, Assistant Professor, Southern Utah University on 8/2/18

    This text book covers all the topics that I typically cover in my non-majors course. There are some topics that are lacking depth, but those are easily addressed during lecture periods to ensure my students have a grasp on the relevant topics. The... read more

    Reviewed by Rochelle Nelson, Assistant Professor, Queensborough Community College on 6/19/18

    The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately. The text is written in a manner that is easy for nonmajors to understand. The texts provide a detailed table of contents with Appendix A, B, and C. However, the text is lacking a... read more

    Reviewed by Jennifer Ripley Stueckle, Teaching Associate Professor, West Virginia University on 3/27/18

    The text follows the standard general biology topic areas in the typical order. There is a table of contents but no comprehensive glossary at the end. Definitions for terms are presented at the end of each chapter. In terms of the... read more

    Reviewed by Haydn Rubelmann, Visiting Instructor, University of South Florida on 3/27/18

    The main concepts in an all-encompassing Biology Non-Majors course are present. However, many concepts are only present as 1 or 2 paragraphs at most, and not every concept has figures associated with it. read more

    Reviewed by Dale Holen, Associate Professor of Biology, Penn State University on 2/1/18

    I compared it to my current text and it does cover the requisite areas that should be found in a non-majors biology text. At times the material is glossed over however. For instance in the Glycolysis section there is are three short paragraphs... read more

    Reviewed by Matthew Fisher, Biology Instructor, Oregon Coast Community College on 8/15/17

    Concepts of Biology is perhaps the most comprehensive introductory textbook that I have encountered. Every topic that you would expect in a general biology textbook is present, from chemistry to ecology. I liked that the text included topics... read more

    Reviewed by Grace Murray, Professor, Tidewater Community College on 6/20/17

    This text covers most ideas, however not always fully. Already, within the first 6 chapters, I have noticed many small, yet still important concepts that are not discussed. For instance: Hydrolysis and dehydration reactions are not discussed. ... read more

    Reviewed by Michelle Donaghy Cannon, Instructor, Linn-Benton Community College on 6/20/17

    This book covers most topics addressed in non-major 100-level biology survey courses. The one subject area that I teach at the 100-level that is not covered in this book is ‘Plant Structure and Function’. Therefore, I must use the 200-level... read more

    Reviewed by Sascha McKeon, Biology Instructor, Blue Mountain Community College on 6/20/17

    The book covers a wide range of content appropriate to a non-majors level biology course or survey introduction; with the exception of a few content areas such as evolution and diversity of non living and lower organisms, Plant diversity and... read more

    Reviewed by Francesca Mellieon-Williams, Associate Professor, Southern University and A&M College on 4/11/17

    This text is used for non-majors Biology and I have used it as a textbook replacement for 3 years. It provides a clear and concise survey for the intended audience. Overall, it serves well as a textbook replacement and/or textbook alternative. The... read more

    Reviewed by Lori Lundine, Lead Instructor, Rogue Community College on 4/11/17

    The book has a very easily accessible and complete table of contents. The online book works well in that each chapter title can be clicked on to open a list of the subtitles explaining the topics covered in the sections. The information covered... read more

    Reviewed by Paul Verrell, Associate Professor, Washington State University on 4/11/17

    I was motivated to search for an open-access text for my non-majors class in fall 2016 for two reasons. First, I could not justify a non-major spending around $100 for a book that would be used for one semester. Second, textbooks in all of the... read more

    Reviewed by Pamela Thinesen, Instructor, Century College on 2/8/17

    Very comprehensive and good glossary and index, as good as any of the many other texts I've seen. Not sure if index could use some work -- for example, I could not find any reference to respiration, cellular respiration, aerobic respiration; yet,... read more

    Reviewed by Ai Wen, Adjunct Professor, University of Northern Iowa on 2/8/17

    Overall, I found this textbook covers the basic topics and concepts you can find in a classic biology textbook; it also provides information from recent publications pertaining to biomedicine and climate issues which can be interesting to... read more

    Reviewed by Michael Manzella, Postdoctoral Researcher, Colorado State University on 12/5/16

    This book was surprisingly comprehensive. Never using an open textbook, prior to Concepts of Biology, I had anticipated a truncated and therefore non-comprehensive textbook. However, I believe that all major concepts were covered. I primarily... read more

    Reviewed by Susan Spencer, Faculty, Mt Hood Community College on 12/5/16

    Overall, the text is nicely comprehensive. There are a few areas of weakness, such as the following: The ecology section does not begin with an overview of ecology, which I believe is a weakness. I would like to see a general description of the... read more

    Reviewed by Lyn Countryman, Professor, University of Northern Iowa on 12/5/16

    This textbook covers the important topics found in a general biology textbook. I teach an introductory biology course and this textbook covers the critical topics with clarity and detail. I was impressed by the text's presentation of topics and... read more

    Reviewed by Nathan Hovekamp, Instructor of Biology, Central Oregon Community College on 8/21/16

    Concepts of Biology is an effectively comprehensive textbook for the non-major. It covers molecular and cellular biology, genetics and DNA, evolution and diversity, animal structure and function, and ecology. A good example of its inclusion of the... read more

    Reviewed by Brenda Leady, Lecturer, University of Toledo on 8/21/16

    The text provides an excellent overview of biology. From a basic chemistry to ecology, it's all there. The level of coverage varies somewhat. I found the cellular respiration material to intense but the human physiology material very light. ... read more

    Reviewed by Shannon Ansley, Biology Instructor, Portland Community College on 1/7/16

    This provides an excellent level of detail for a non-majors biology course. Only a couple of areas were lacking (e.g. a very brief overview of membrane structure, and no mention of niche theory when discussing competition). Discussion of... read more

    Reviewed by Sarah Sletten, Associate Professor, Mayville State University on 1/7/16

    This text covers all the material that is generally covered in a non-major's biology course. It is broken down into six units: (1) Cellular Foundation of Life, (2) Cell Division and Genetics, (3) Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, (4) Evolution... read more

    Reviewed by Irving Allen, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech on 6/10/15

    Overall, this textbook offers a nice balance between the different topics and explains very complex biological phenomena in a comprehensive, yet not intimidating manner for non-biology majors. The textbook is well designed for students with... read more

    Reviewed by Heather Rissler, Instructor, Riverland Community College on 6/10/15

    Concepts of Biology is comprehensive in its scope for an introductory biology textbook with topics ranging from molecules to ecosystems. The textbook content progress from a discussion of the molecular and cellular building blocks of life,... read more

    Reviewed by Bethann Lavoie, Associate Professor, Minnesota State University Mankato on 6/10/15

    A non-majors, shorter text cannot comprehensively cover all biology concepts. The book includes all topics covered in my non-majors course although supplementation may be needed (scientific method, human evolution, phylogenetic trees/cladograms,... read more

    Reviewed by Brittany Ziegler, Assistant Professor, Minnesota State University Mankato on 6/10/15

    I think for the most part the textbook is complete. There are handful of times where I think additional information could be added to supplement the content and make it more relevant for non-majors. For instance, the chapters on body systems could... read more

    Reviewed by Bram Middeldorp, Instructor, Minneapolis Community and Technical College on 6/10/15

    Before reviewing the book I would like to make the following comments. After teaching Introductory Biology for 15 years, having created many course notes and PowerPoint presentations based on the 3 textbooks used over the years plus many other... read more

    Reviewed by Trevor Johnson, Biology Instructor, Ridgewater College on 6/10/15

    Concepts of Biology was written for non-major Biology students. The authors do an excellent job writing at an Introductory Biology level, for a very broad audience. The Table of Contents is descriptive and the flow from one topic to the next is... read more

    Reviewed by Robert Duerst, Instructor, Southeast Minnesota Technical College on 6/10/15

    The text has a wide breathe of coverage in the field of biology. The units in the book cover everything from cell biology, to ecology and many topics in between. It is likely that I was just too excited about the content, but I consistently found... read more

    Reviewed by Ann Mills, Instructor, Biology, Minnesota West Community and Technical College on 6/10/15

    The text covers the appropriate topics for a nonmajors biology course. The table of contents is through and includes a suitable list of topics to be covered. There is a glossary at the end of each chapter which is a nice addition as students can... read more

    Reviewed by Joanna Cregan, Biology Instructor, Saint Paul College on 6/10/15

    I am using this book for a non-majors level introduction to biology course that is 1 semester long. This book covers everything I looked for in regards to content for the semester, and more. The bigger problem I had was cutting down to fit in a... read more

    Reviewed by Tobili Sam-Yellowe, Professor, Cleveland State University on 1/12/15

    The text is aimed at non majors biology students. It presents a full coverage of topics in biology appropriate for students that may not have a previous biology background. A table of contents is provided, key terms are defined at the end of each... read more

    Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • Chapter 1: Introduction to Biology
    • Chapter 2: Chemistry of Life
    • Chapter 3: Cell Structure and Function
    • Chapter 4: How Cells Obtain Energy
    • Chapter 5: Photosynthesis
    • Chapter 6: Reproduction at the Cellular Level
    • Chapter 7: The Cellular Basis of Inheritance
    • Chapter 8: Patterns of Inheritance
    • Chapter 9: Molecular Biology
    • Chapter 10: Biotechnology
    • Chapter 11: Evolution and Its Processes
    • Chapter 12: Diversity of Life
    • Chapter 13: Diversity of Microbes, Fungi, and Protists
    • Chapter 14: Diversity of Plants
    • Chapter 15: Diversity of Animals
    • Chapter 16: The Body’s Systems
    • Chapter 17: The Immune System and Disease
    • Chapter 18: Animal Reproduction and Development
    • Chapter 19: Population and Community Ecology
    • Chapter 20: Ecosystems and the Biosphere
    • Chapter 21: Conservation and Biodiversity
    • Appendix A: The Periodic Table of Elements
    • Appendix B: Geological Time
    • Appendix C: Measurements and the Metric System
    • Index

    Ancillary Material

    • Instructor resources
    • Student resources
    • Community hub
    • About the Book

      Concepts of Biology is designed for the typical introductory biology course for nonmajors, covering standard scope and sequence requirements. The text includes interesting applications and conveys the major themes of biology, with content that is meaningful and easy to understand. The book is designed to demonstrate biology concepts and to promote scientific literacy.

      About the Contributors


      Samantha Fowler, Clayton State University

      Rebecca Roush, Sandhills Community College

      James Wise, Hampton University

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