Biology 120: Introductory Plant and Animal Biology

(3 hrs lecture, 1 hr lab)

The University of Tennessee at Martin

Spring 2001


Instructor:  Dr. Darrell Ray                                     Office:  323 Clement Hall

Phone: 587-7495 (office)                                       Email:

Office Hours:  8-10 a.m. MT; 2-4 p.m. T; 8-9 a.m. F, and by appointment

Text:  Starr and Taggart, 1998.  Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life, 8th ed.


Objective:  Upon completion of this course, students should be conversant with: 


1)  some of the fundamental principles of population biology, especially as they relate to ecology and evolution

2)  some general concepts of interactions among organisms and their relationships to the abiotic environment

3)  some general concepts of plant and animal classification and systematics

4)  some general principles of plant and animal anatomy and physiology, with special consideration of selected human systems.  


Grading and attendance:The lecture portion of the course counts as 70% of your overall grade.  The final grade will be determined on a 10 point scale (i.e. 90-100% = A).  There will be 3 hour exams (100 points each), 5 quizzes given during the second session of the week (25 points each, one dropped), and a comprehensive final exam (100 points).  This will give a total of 500 possible points for lecture for the semester.  No extra credit will be offered, so please do not ask.


It is to your benefit to take the quizzes and exams on the dates they are given.  Makeup quizzes and tests will only be given under the most extenuating of circumstances, and will be administered on the last study day of the semester before final exams.  It is your responsibility to keep up with your quiz grades and attendance, and arrange for the makeup at least 1 week before the end of the semester.


Attendance is vital to your success in this course.  Please be present and on time at every class meeting.  Chronic tardiness is inconsiderate to the instructor and your classmates.  Additionally, excessive unexcused absences may result in a failing grade for the course.


Office hours and study recommendations:  Please feel free to contact me during my office hours, or arrange a time to discuss questions you may have.  I will be more than happy to meet with you and help you in any way that I can.  Remember that I am here to help you succeed, not to hold you back. 


In order to be successful in this course, you must allow adequate time for text reading, study, and review of class notes.  Skim the text for high points, then read the text carefully for content.  If you have time, review and outline the chapter.  These are time tested and useful strategies to make the most out of the text. 


Research has shown that students who meet regularly with a study group often perform better than students who try and wait until the night before a test to study.  Consider forming a study group consisting of no more than 5 members.  Ask and answer questions, compare notes, etc.  It is widely held by many teachers that teaching is the best way of learning.  In other words, if you can relate a concept to your study partners so that they can understand it, you understand the concept better yourself.


Academic integrity: I live by a strict ethical code of honor, and I expect my students to do the same.  While we will have some group activities, you will be graded on your own work.   Dishonesty will not be tolerated, and infractions will result in failure for the course.


General notes:  Learning should be fun.  I want you to experience the thrill of mastering new material and applying concepts to novel situations.  But that means you have to put something into the course.  Get involved in discussions.  Check out the news and relate our topics to current events.  Above all, do your best.  Whether your major is biology or business, agriculture or accounting, English or education, we are all living beings.  Why not make the most out of trying to understand this thing called "life?"




Proposed Topics



Evolutionary Thought









Population Ecology



Community/Ecosystem Ecology






Classification Schemes 



Plant Kingdom



Plant Tissues









Animal Kingdom









Animal Tissues



Selected Animal Systems

























N.B.:  Please note that this schedule is tentative.  I reserve the right to alter the course content if necessary to accommodate new or different materials as the need or opportunity may arise.