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Biological Science

Exploring the Science of Life

Jon Scott, Gus Cameron, Anne Goodenough, Dawn Hawkins, Jenny Koenig, Martin Luck, Despo Papachristodoulou, Alison Snape, Kay Yeoman, and Mark Goodwin

29 July 2022

ISBN: 9780198783688

1,416 pages

In Stock

Price: £54.99

Biological Science: Exploring the Science of Life, more than any other general biology text, helps students to master the key concepts while viewing biology as a dynamic experimental science. It is the only book to make thinking like a biologist second nature.


A fresh approach to biology centred on a clear narrative, active learning, and confidence with quantitative concepts and scientific enquiry. Spanning the breadth of biological science and designed for flexible learning, it will give you a deeper understanding of the key concepts, and an appreciation of biology as a dynamic experimental science.

  • Motivates the reader to take their first steps on the journey to becoming an independent researcher, using a narrative and numerous learning features that demonstrate the experimental basis of biological science, and the importance of the scientific method and scientific enquiry.
  • Builds a robust understanding of the essential concepts that underpin biological science as a discipline onto which more advanced study can be layered: this is emphatically not a catalogue of knowledge to be remembered, but a resource that introduces concepts to be understood.
  • Incorporates quantitative skills as a central component of the study and investigation of biological science, so that students learn to see the value of quantitative tools in better understanding biological systems than something to be feared.
  • A modular structure allows academics to tailor the content used to the specific needs of their students, ensuring maximum relevance to each student, and hence optimizing their motivation to learn.
  • Encapsulates a rich learning experience that fosters active learning, problem-solving ability and critical thinking and accommodates different learning preferences - with a focus on the enhancement of understanding, not the testing of knowledge.
  • Also available as an ebook with functionality, navigation features, and links that offer extra learning support

About the Author(s)

Jon Scott, Emeritus Professor of Bioscience Education, University of Leicester, Gus Cameron, Reader in Biomedical Science Education, School of Biochemistry, University of Bristol, Anne Goodenough, Professor in Applied Ecology, University of Gloucestershire, Dawn Hawkins, Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, Jenny Koenig, Assistant Professor in Pharmacology, Therapeutics and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Martin Luck, Emeritus Professor of Physiological Education, University of Nottingham, Despo Papachristodoulou, Reader of Medical Education, King's College London, Alison Snape, Reader in Bioscience Education, King's College London, Kay Yeoman, Professor of Science Communication, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, and Mark Goodwin, Associate Professor in the Department of Genetics and Genome Biology, University of Leicester

Table of Contents

    Life and its Exploration: Foundational Principles
    Topic 1: Exploring the science of life
    Topic 2: The emergence of life on Earth
    Topic 3: Defining Life
    Topic 4: Evolutionary processes
    Topic 5: The diversity, organisation, and classification of life
    Quantitative Toolkits
    Quantitative Toolkit 1: Understanding data
    Quantitative Toolkit 2: Size and scale
    Quantitative Toolkit 3: Describing data
    Quantitative Toolkit 4: Ratio and proportion
    Quantitative Toolkit 5: Understanding samples
    Quantitative Toolkit 6: Designing experiments
    Quantitative Toolkit 7: Assessing patterns
    Quantitative Toolkit 8: Formulae and equations
    Quantitative Toolkit 9: Rates of change
    1:Building blocks: molecules and macromolecules
    2:Energy: powering biochemical processes
    3:Information: genes and genomes
    4:Mendelian genetics
    5:Reading the genome: gene expression and protein synthesis
    6:Proteins and proteomes
    7:Metabolism: energy capture and release from food
    8:Molecular tools and techniques
    9:Characteristics of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
    10:Cell division in prokaryotes and eukaryotes
    11:Microbial diversity
    12:The growth, measurement, and visualisation of cells
    13:Microbes in life: harnessing their power
    14:Microbes as agents of infectious disease
    16:Physiology overview
    17:Communication and control 1: introducing the nervous and endocrine systems
    18:Communication and control 2: sensory systems
    19:Communication and control 3: controlling organ systems
    20:Muscle and movement
    21:Cardiovascular system
    22:Respiratory system
    23:Exercise physiology
    24:Renal system
    25:Digestive system
    26:Reproductive system
    27:Immune system
    28:The structure of living organisms
    29:Body plans
    30:Interaction with the external environment
    31:Movement, locomotion, and migration
    32:Defence against predation and invasion
    33:Reproduction and development
    34:Fundamental concepts: ecology, evolution, species, and speciation
    35:Genes: evolutionary change in alleles, genotypes, and phenotypes
    36:Populations: quantifying demographics and modelling change
    37:Communities: species interactions and biodiversity metrics
    38:Ecosystems: abiotic interactions and environmental processes
    39:Challenges: key threats to ecosystems
    40:Solutions: managing, conserving, and restoring ecosystems


"This is the most exciting and effective textbook for university-level biosciences that I have seen, and its impact on our students will be exceptional."

"It is rare for a textbook to consider the reader's need to test their understanding as they proceed. A major innovation in this book is regular 'Pause and think' boxes throughout the chapters, posing questions (often quite open questions) for the reader to answer (with the answer hidden below), to help reinforce concepts and test understanding in a supported way. There are additional test questions in the accompanying e-book. This is an integrated learning package, not just a textbook."

"Producing a 'general biology' book for undergraduate level is a challenge - to make it advanced enough for undergraduate study, but not too challenging as to be incomprehensible to year 1 students. This book manages that difficult balance perfectly. The language used is advanced enough to challenge the reader and provide sufficient detail, but still accessible to those at the start of their university career."

"More and more, the separate discipline areas of the biosciences are integrated together, and a key challenge for educators is empowering students to see these connections. This book has the teaching of core concepts at its heart, and encourages the reader to draw these connections throughout. Divided into a series of 'modules', each with a key theme for biology at its centre, this textbook shows how biological systems use diverse approaches to solve the same core challenges facing all organisms, structures and systems." - Professor Stephen Rutherford, National Teaching Fellow, Head of Education Division, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University

Additional Resources

Digital formats and resources
Biological Science: Exploring the Science of Life is available for students and institutions to purchase in a variety of formats.

The enhanced ebook is enriched with features that offer extra learning support: www.oxfordtextbooks.co.uk/ebooks
- Key concepts videos support students from the start of every chapter and as they make their way through every Module.
- Self-check questions at the end of each chapter section give students quick and formative feedback, building their confidence and comprehension as they study and revise.
- Quantitative skills video screencasts help students to master the foundational skills required by this discipline.
- Interactive figures give students the control they need to step through, and gain mastery over, key concepts.
- Per-chapter flashcard glossaries help students to recall the key terms and concepts on which further study can be built.

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