Biology (BIOL) 207

Principles of Biology II (Revision 3)

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eText) or grouped study with a mandatory, five-day supervised lab component (usually offered in the summer months in Athabasca).

Check dates and locations of supervised lab prior to registering for the course. This course is charged a lab fee.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: BIOL 204 or equivalent and professor approval.

Precluded courses: BIOL 205, LABB 207

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

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BIOL 207 is not available for challenge.

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Note: Students who do NOT require an onsite laboratory component to meet transfer credit requirements may consider taking BIOL 205 instead (home labs only). Please note, however, that BIOL 207 (not BIOL 205) is a required course for AU program students in science, with some exceptions noted below.

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


Biology 207 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. The course will emphasize evolution as the overriding biological principle. This course also includes a five-day, in-person lab component.


BIOL 207 covers two main units (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)

Simulation exercises of evolutionary processes include dog domestication and sickle cell alleles in African malaria areas (using SimBio software).

Laboratory Outline

The intensive, five-day, 40-hour onsite lab covers topics from both BIOL 204 and BIOL 207 and includes the following main lab activities: microscopy; microbiology; sterile techniques; enzyme lab; electrophoresis; spectrometry; molecular biology; restriction enzymes; animal diversity; fetal pig dissection; diversity of fungi, plants and protists; evaluation of experiments; and lab report writing.

Students who have attended an equivalent lab at another institution may qualify for a lab exemption.


To receive credit for BIOL 207, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent) and a minimum of 50 percent for the lab evaluation, 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%
Simulation Exercises 15%
Lab evaluation 25%
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.

Special Course Features

On-site lab component in Athabasca. See Biology Lab Schedules.

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 3, January 14, 2021.

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