Biology (BIOL) 205

Principles of Biology IIB (Home Lab Version) (Revision 6)

BIOL 205 Course cover

View previous revision

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

Biology Studies home page

BIOL 205 is not available for challenge.

Check availability

Note: BIOL 205 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. BIOL 205 is charged a lab fee.

Note: For Athabasca University program students BIOL 207 is mandatory. It cannot be substituted with BIOL 205. (Exceptions: Students in the Biology Minor program and the post-diploma route with a previous biology lab component may take BIOL 205 instead of BIOL 207).


Biology 205 is the second of two introductory courses in general biology that will prepare students for 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. BIOL 205 emphasizes evolution as the overriding biological principle.


BIOL 205 covers two main topics (Evolution and Diversity) divided into six units:

  • Unit 1: Principles of Evolution (Evolutionary theory, natural, artificial and sexual selection, microevolution, population genetics, macroevolution)
  • Unit 2: Evolutionary History (Chemical evolution, evolution of cells, history of life, human evolution)
  • Unit 3: Diversity of Life I (Prokaryotes, viruses, prions)
  • Unit 4: Diversity of Life II (Protists, fungi, plants)
  • Unit 5: Diversity of Life III (Animals)
  • Unit 6: Conserving and Utilizing Biodiversity (Conservation of biodiversity, domestication)

Laboratory Outline

BIOL 205 includes eight mandatory labs: Hardy Weinberg calculations, cladistics, sickle cell population simulations (SimBio), dog domestication (SimBio), flowers and trees (SimBio), pig dissection (virtual), conservation biology and cod biology. These labs can be done at home.


To receive credit for BIOL 205, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent); and a minimum of 50 percent for the lab component; 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 10%
Assignment 2 10%
Labs and exercises 40%
Midterm Exam 15%
Final Exam 25%
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 an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Russell, P. J., et al. (2016). Biology: Exploring the diversity of life (3rd Canadian ed.). Toronto, ON: Nelson Education.

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

Other Resources

All other learning resources will be available online. Students must register separately to gain access to the SimBio labs.

Image Credits

  • Image by Krzysztof Niewolny from Pixabay

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 6, January 14, 2021.

View previous revision