Fundamentals of Biology: Organisms to Ecosystems

BIOL 103/3.0


The origins and diversification of multicellular organisms, their form, function and adaptation to stress and a changing world. Themes and case studies include energy flow from molecules to ecosystems, organismal interactions including parasitism and disease dynamics, and the impacts of human activity.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, students will have learned to:

  1. Identify the roles of the major physiological systems in diverse animals and how they are regulated through electrical and chemical signals to achieve change or maintain homeostasis
  2. Describe the structure and function of nerves and muscles and explain how they contribute to physiological and behavioural processes.
  3. Apply knowledge of tissue and organ system functioning and integration to diagnose or predict common diseases and organismal dysfunctions.
  4. Discuss the mechanisms by which evolution shapes biological diversity, citing examples from the history of life captured in the fossil record, in extant diversity, or through direct observation of evolution in action.
  5. Compare the nature of interactions between organisms at the level of the population, the community and the ecosystem.
  6. Describe the main cycles governing the flow of nutrients and energy through communities and ecosystems and recognize the importance of ecological interactions and biodiversity in building a sustainable future.


Topics covered in this course include

  • Animal Form and Function
  • Ion, Water and Nutrient Balance – Water and electrolyte balance in animals and animal nutrition
  • Gas Exchange and Circulation
  • Nerves and Muscles
  • Endocrine Signalling
  • Reproduction
  • Immune System
  • Evolutionary Processes and Patterns
  • Evolutionary Processes
  • Speciation and the History of Life
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Population and Community Ecology
  • Ecosystems
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Biology


Fall 2022
Course Dates
Delivery Mode


20% - Unit Quizzes
44% - Virtual Labs
8% - Dynamic Study Modules
12% - Essay
16% - Proctored Final Exam

*Evaluation Subject to Change*


  1. You may choose to write your exam(s) online using Examity proctoring services where you will be charged the additional $100 exam fee; or
  2. You may choose to write your exam(s) in-person on Queen's campus in Kingston where you will NOT be charged the additional $100 exam fee.


Once the exam schedule has been finalized the exam date will be posted on your SOLUS account. The exam dates for each Term are listed on the Faculty of Arts and Science webpage under "Important Dates." Student exam schedules for the Fall Term are posted via SOLUS immediately prior to the Thanksgiving holiday; for the Winter Term they are posted on the Friday before Reading Week, and for the Summer Term they are individually noted on the Arts and Science Online syllabi. Students should delay finalizing any travel plans until after the examination schedule has been posted. Exams will not be moved or deferred to accommodate employment, travel/holiday plans or flight reservations.

Instructor Information


Textbook and Materials

Please consult the Queen's Campus Bookstore for information on the textbook (Campbell Biology 3rd Edition) and Mastering. 

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend on average, about 123 hours on the course.

Additional Information

NOTE Also offered online. Consult Arts and Science Online. NOTE Also offered at the Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux. Learning Hours may vary.