Biology (BIOL) 205

Principles of Biology IIB (Home Lab Version) (Revision 5)

BIOL 205 Course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook) or grouped study with home labs.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: BIOL 204 or equivalent and professor approval.

Precluded courses: BIOL 207, LABB 207

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

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BIOL 205 is not available for challenge.

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Note: This course has home labs and lab simulations, but does not include an onsite lab component. AU program students and visiting students who require onsite labs for credit transfer are required to enrol in BIOL 207 instead. This course is charged a lab fee.

Note: For Athabasca University program students BIOL 207 is mandatory. It cannot be substituted with BIOL 205.


Biology 205 is the second of two introductory courses in general biology that will prepare students for most senior-level biology courses. Designed to help students learn more about the nature of life, the main topics of this course include the diversity of organisms, including fungi, plants, protists, animals, and bacteria. The course will emphasize evolution as the overriding biological principle.


BIOL 205 covers the following chapters in the course textbook:

  • Chapter 17: Microevolution: Genetic Changes within Populations
  • Chapter 18: Species
  • Chapter 19: Evolution and Classification
  • Chapter 20: Darwin, Fossils and Developmental Biology
  • Chapter 21: Prokaryotes
  • Chapter 22: Viruses, Viroids, and Prions: Infectious Biological Particles
  • Chapter 23: Protists
  • Chapter 24: Fungi
  • Chapter 25: Plants
  • Chapter 26: Protostomes
  • Chapter 27: Deuterostomes: Vertebrates and Their Closest Relatives
  • Chapter 41: Plant and Animal Nutrition
  • Chapter 48: Conservation of Biodiversity

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of BIOL 205, you should be able to

  • explain the basics of evolutionary theory
  • outline the mechanisms of evolution, including selection, genetic variation and genetic drift
  • describe and apply fundamental aspects of population genetics and micro- and macroevolution
  • outline the history of life, including chemical, biological and human evolution
  • describe structure and function of biological particles, including viruses and prions
  • outline aspects of prokaryote diversity, including bacteria and Archaea
  • provide an overview of eukaryote diversity, including the major phyla of the protist, fungi, animal and plant kingdoms
  • explain the importance of biodiversity conservation


To receive credit for BIOL 205, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent); and a grade of at least 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 15%
Assignment 2 15%
Home Labs 25%
Midterm Exam 15%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes electronic textbooks. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to the eText Initiative site.

Russell, P. J., et al. (2010). Biology: Exploring the diversity of life (1st Canadian ed.). Toronto, ON: Nelson Education.

Montpetit, C, Smit, J., & Keenleyside, W. (2010). Study guide for use with Biology: Exploring the diversity of life. Toronto, ON: Nelson Education.

A print version of the eTexts may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbooks on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

All other learning resources will be available online.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 5, January 13, 2014.

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