Fall 2023 - BISC 102 D100

General Biology (4)

Class Number: 1830

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Oct 6, 2023: Tue, 12:30–1:20 p.m.

    Oct 11 – Dec 5, 2023: Tue, 12:30–1:20 p.m.

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Thu, 12:30–1:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 11, 2023
    Mon, 7:00–10:00 p.m.

    Dec 11, 2023
    Mon, 7:00–10:00 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Ronald Ydenberg
    1 778 782-5618
    Office Hours: Your instructors (the professor, lab instructors and teaching assistants) all have weekly office hours, made available at the start of the course.
  • Instructor:

    Kevin Lam
    Office: B9235
  • Instructor:

    Kathleen Fitzpatrick
    Office: B9233
  • Prerequisites:

    Biology 12 (or equivalent) with a minimum grade of C (or BISC 100 with a minimum grade of C-, or BISC 113 with a minimum grade of C+, or BPK 105 with a minimum grade of C+, or HSCI 100 with a minimum grade of C+).



Introduction to evolution and ecology, focusing on the processes that shape the diversity of life on earth. Lecture and lab topics include: natural selection and other mechanisms of evolutionary change, phylogeny, genetics, speciation, behaviour, species interactions, population ecology, and ecosystems. BISC 101 and 102 may be taken in either order. Breadth-Science.


Sequence of topics: Introduction, cells, metabolism, survey of Earth’s diversity, genetics, sex, phylogeny, ontogeny, evolution, behavior, ecology, population dynamics, humans, the origin of life, the state of the planet. A detailed schedule will be made available on Canvas (see below) at the start of the course.


  • Forest Walk Assignments 15%
  • Inquiry Figure Assignment 15%
  • Tutorial Participation 10%
  • Midterm Exam 10%
  • Final Exam 20%
  • Lab Exam 25%
  • Lab Assignments 5%



There are three course assignments. The Inquiry Figure Assignment is worth 15% of your grade - you’ll receive direction in the lab portion of the course. The Forest Walk Assignment is worth 15% of your final grade, and is designed to get you out to see some biology in the field. You’ll receive direction in tutorial.

Mid term       

The mid-term will be held Thursday October 19, during the regular lecture time 1230 – 1330. The mid-term covers material from lectures 1 – 10, and is worth 10% of your grade. The course exam policy will be posted on Canvas.

Final exam    

The final exam (2h) will be scheduled during the exam period. The first portion of the final exam covers material from lectures 11 - 22, while the second portion covers the entire course. The final exam is worth 20% of your grade.

Lab exam      

The lab exam will be held in Week 13 of the semester.


Discussion and exchange with instructors and peers is a valuable part of a university education. You have been assigned to a tutorial group, and participation in group discussions is worth 10% of your course grade. Tutorials are scheduled, so it is generally not possible to switch to a different group.



Biological Science, by Freeman, Harrington and Sharp.

4th Canadian Edition, Pearson. This text is highly recommended.

(Students may also use the 3rd Canadian Edition.)



Course documents will be posted on Canvas, including recordings of the lectures, a pdf copy of the slides used in each lecture, a listing of the sections of the text covered, and a brief overview of each lecture.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.