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Life Matters: Connecting Biology to Your World, 1st Edition

By Brock Fenton, Bill Milsom, Dora Cavallo-Medved, Shelby Riskin, Kenneth Wilson
Digital eBook
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Soft Cover
880 pages
ISBN-10: 0176505172
ISBN-13: 9780176505172
Publisher: Top Hat
Edition: 1st

Connect with biology. Life Matters explores the biology that affects all of us every day. The text presents fundamental biological concepts with a unique conceptual, hands-on approach. By investigating the importance of biology and its relation to other academic disciplines beyond the basic scientific facts, students will better navigate difficult decisions involving health, the environment, business, and society. The text explores the subject from a global perspective, highlighting engaging Canadian examples wherever relevant. Using an approach that helps students relate biology to their own fields of study and to their lives, Life Matters will engage students in the diverse field of biology.


  • *NEW* Each chapter begins with a Why It Matters section, including the introduction of a recent and interesting publication or an example of a biological concept, presented in a manner that relates to readers. This section is meant to be used as the basis of conversation throughout the chapter.
  • *NEW* Each chapter includes Study Break questions at the end of the chapter's major sections. They contain questions written by the authors to identify some of the important features of the section.
  • *NEW* Biology Is Everywhere boxes contain stories connecting biological concepts and everyday life. Many of these stories describe how biologists and non-biologists alike have used their ingenuity and creativity to expand our knowledge of biology. Others describe how people use biology for purposes far removed from scientific inquiry.
  • *NEW* Molecule behind the Biology boxes give readers a sense of the exciting impact of molecular research and how these impacts may affect them. A wide range of molecules are highlighted, including oxygen, testosterone, cholesterol, vitamin K2, and dopamine.
  • *NEW* Life on the Edge boxes provide accounts of biological extremes, including organisms thriving "on the edge" in unusual environmental conditions and novel biological applications that drive the future of biotechnology. These boxes also discuss how these biological extremes and their applications affect everyday life.
  • *NEW* Putting It in Perspective sections at the end of every chapter are intended to personalize the chapter content by making links between the subject matter and daily life.
  • *NEW* The Purple Pages reference section, entitled Building Blocks of Biology, outlines background material, including basic chemistry and physics concepts that support the study of biology. This reference information is important for understanding the content of all chapters in the book and is conveniently located for students in the middle of the book.
  • *NEW* Every chapter concludes with Key Concepts Review and Questions. This section includes a short description of key concepts from the chapter and questions—multiple choice, short answer, matching, and critical thinking— that test students' knowledge of the key concepts.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Biology in Your Life
  • Chapter 2: Life: Diverse, Complex, and Always Changing
  • Chapter 3: The Cell Is the Basic Unit of Life
  • Chapter 4: Life Is a Transfer of Energy
  • Chapter 5: Harvesting and Utilizing Energy In Cells
  • Chapter 6: A Cell?s Life
  • Chapter 7: Gaining Genetic Diversity
  • Chapter 8: Genes and Patterns of Inheritance
  • Chapter 9: DNA Structure and Replication
  • Chapter 10: Gene Expression and Regulation
  • Chapter 11: Biotechnology
  • Chapter 12: Species: What Are They?
  • Chapter 13: Selection and Evolution
  • Chapter 14: Viruses
  • Chapter 15: Bacteria and Archaea
  • Chapter 16: Protists
  • Chapter 17: Plants
  • The Building Blocks of Biology (Purple Pages)
  • Chapter 18: Fungi
  • Chapter 19: Animals
  • Chapter 20: Organized to Survive and Prosper
  • Chapter 21: Obtaining Nutrients and Energy
  • Chapter 22: Support and Movement
  • Chapter 23: Gas Exchange
  • Chapter 24: Transport
  • Chapter 25: Water, Solutes, and Temperature
  • Chapter 26: Intercellular Communication
  • Chapter 27: Defence
  • Chapter 28: Reproduction and Development: Eggs, Sperm, Pollen, Spores,
  • Zygotes, and More
  • Chapter 29: Population Ecology
  • Chapter 30: Community and Ecosystem Ecology
  • Chapter 31: Conservation
  • Chapter 32: Behaviour
  • Chapter 33: Connecting You to Biology

Author Information

Brock Fenton

M.B. (Brock) Fenton received his Ph.D. in 1969 for work in the ecology and behaviour of bats. Since then he has held academic positions at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada 1969 to 1986), York University (Toronto, Canada 1986 to 2003) and the University of Western Ontario (2003 to present). He has published over 200 papers in refereed journals (most of them about bats), as well as numerous nontechnical contributions. He has written three books about bats intended for a general audience (Just bats 1983, University of Toronto Press; Bats 1992 - revised edition 2001 Facts On File Inc; and The bat: wings in the night sky 1998, Key Porter Press). He has supervised the work of 46 M.Sc. Students and 22 Ph.D. students who have completed their degrees. He currently supervises 5 M.Sc. students and 2 Ph.D. students. He continues his research on the ecology and behaviour of bats, with special emphasis on echolocation. He currently is an Emeritus Professor of Biology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.

Bill Milsom

Bill Milsom (Ph.D., University of British Columbia) is currently the Head of the Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia where he has taught a variety of courses, including first year biology, for over 30 years. His research interests include the evolutionary origins of respiratory processes and the adaptive changes in these processes that allow animals to exploit diverse environments. He examines respiratory and cardiovascular adaptations in vertebrate animals in rest, sleep, exercise, altitude, dormancy, hibernation, diving, etc. This contributes to our understanding of the mechanistic basis of biodiversity and the physiological costs of habitat selection. His research has been funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. He has received several academic awards and distinctions including the Fry Medal of the Canadian Society of Zoologists, the August Krogh Award of the American Physiological Society, and the Izaak Walton Killam Award for Excellence in Mentoring. He has served as the President of the Canadian Society of Zoologists and as President of the International Congress of Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry.