Fundamental concepts of biology

Mark Holland MAHOLLAND at
Wed Mar 19 11:44:05 EST 1997

One of the courses I teach is general biology.  Each semester, I struggle
with the curriculum, wanting my students to leave the course with a firm
understanding of the fundamental concepts of biology but frustrated by
the fact that these concepts are not identified as such by the texts
currently available on the market.  Some of my choices appear as
chapter titles - others are relegated to the glossary or are not mentioned
at all!  Too often, the big ideas of biology are buried under mountains of
trivia.   Is it possible that as a group, biologists do not agree on what the
fundamental concepts are?

Over the course of several semesters, I have compiled a list - jotted
inside the front cover of my copy of the general biology textbook - of
what I consider to be the most important concepts in biology.  Now, I am
writing to solicit your opinions.

What do you consider to be the fundamental concepts - the most
important pieces of the big picture - in biology?

Please help me with my survey by posting responses to the list or
e-mailing me directly at maholland at  I will compile the results of
the survey and post it back to the list.  Who knows? Maybe we can
influence the content or focus of the next generation of biology

Hope you all have as much fun with this as have my colleagues and I.
Thanks for your help.

Mark A. Holland
Department of Biology
Salisbury State University
Salisbury, MD 21801

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