Biology Essentials For Dummies
Life is all around you, from invisible microbes and green plants to the other animals with whom you share the Earth. What’s more, these other living things aren’t just around you — they’re intimately interconnected with your life. Plants make your food and provide you with oxygen, microbes break down dead matter and recycle materials that all living things need, and insects pollinate the plants you rely on for food. Ultimately, all living beings rely on other living beings for their survival.
What makes biology so great is that it allows you to explore the interconnectedness of the world’s organisms and really understand that living beings are works of art and machines rolled into one. Organisms can be as delicate as a mountain wildflower or as awe-inspiring as a majestic lion. And regardless of whether they’re plants, animals, or microbes, all living things have numerous working parts that contribute to the function of the whole being. They move, obtain energy, use raw materials, and make waste, whether they’re as simple as a single-celled organism or as complex as a human being.
Biology is the key you need to unlock the mysteries of life. Through it, you discover that even single-celled organisms have their complexities, from their unique structures to their diverse metabolisms. Biology also helps you realize what a truly miraculous machine your body is, with its many different systems that work together to move materials, support your structure, send signals, defend you from invaders, and obtain the matter and energy you need for growth.
About This Book
Biology Essentials For Dummies takes a look at the characteristics all living things share. It also provides an overview of the concepts and processes that are fundamental to living things. We put an emphasis on looking at how human beings meet their needs, but we also take a look at the diversity of life on planet Earth.
Conventions Used in This Book
To help you find your way through the subjects in this book, we use the following style conventions:
»»Italics highlight new words or terms that are defined in the text. They also point out words we want to emphasize.
»»Also, whenever we introduce scientific terms, we try to break the words down for you so that the terms become tied to their meanings, making them easier to remember.
As we wrote this book, we tried to imagine who you are and what you need in order to understand biology. Here’s what we came up with:
»»You’re a high school student taking biology, possibly in preparation for an advanced placement test or college entrance examination. If you’re having trouble in biology class and your textbook isn’t making much sense, try reading the relevant section of this book first to give yourself a foundation and then go back to your textbook or notes.
»»You’re a college student who isn’t a science major but is taking a biology class to help fulfill your degree requirements. If you want help following along in class, try reading the relevant sections in this book before you go to a lecture on a particular topic. If you need to fix a concept in your brain, read the related section after class.
Icons Used in This Book
We use some of the familiar For Dummies icons to help guide you and give you new insights as you read the material. Here’s the scoop on what each one means.
The information highlighted with this icon is stuff we think you should permanently store in your mental biology file. If you want a quick review of biology, scan through the book reading only the paragraphs marked with Remember icons.
This symbol offers pointers that help you remember the facts presented in a particular section so you can better commit them to memory.
Beyond the Book
In addition to what you’re reading right now, this book comes with a free access-anywhere Cheat Sheet. To get this Cheat Sheet, go to www.dummies.com and search for “Biology Essentials For Dummies Cheat Sheet” by using the Search box.
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