Articles > General Biology > Essential Biology (3rd Edition) by NA Campbell and others

Essential Biology (3rd Edition) by NA Campbell and others

Essential Biology (3rd Edition)  


  • Neil A. Campbell
  • Jane B. Reece
  • Eric J. Simon


  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Benjamin Cummings; 3 edition (September 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0805368426
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 9.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.85 pounds


Book Description

Hailed for its clear writing, scientific accuracy, and real-world examples, Essential Biology is a brief non-majors biology text that focuses on the core concepts readers need to make scientifically informed decisions throughout their lives. The book covers four major topics—cells, genetics, evolution/diversity, and ecology—and uses evolution as an overarching theme to tie all 20 chapters together. Human applications and the most up-to-date information on important issues show readers how biology relates to their own lives. New Process of Science sections within the text draw readers into the material and provide real-world examples of how the scientific method is applied. Biology Today. CELLS: Essential Chemistry for Biology, The Molecules of Life, A Tour of the Cell, The Working Cell, Cellular Respiration: Obtaining Energy from Food, Photosynthesis: Using Light to Make Food. GENETICS: Cellular Reproduction: Cells from Cells, Patterns of Inheritance, The Structure and Function of DNA, How Genes are Controlled, DNA Technology. EVOLUTION AND DIVERSITY: How Populations Evolve, How Biological Diversity Evolves, The Evolution of Microbial Life, Plants, Fungi, and the Move onto Land, The Evolution of Animals. ECOLOGY: The Ecology of Organisms and Populations, Communities and Ecosystems, Human Impact on the Environment. For all readers interested in a biology text that focuses on the core concepts readers need to make scientifically informed decisions throughout their lives. 

From the Back Cover 

The authors use evolution as the thematic thread to tie all twenty chapters into a cohesive exploration of life. In Essential Biology, the clarity of writing complements an exciting new art program. The art works hand-in-hand with text discussions to help students visualize difficult concepts. Essential Biology is a brief biology book that brings the authors’ extraordinary reputation for biological accuracy and teaching innovation to bear upon four core biological topics: cells, genetics, evolution, and ecology. –This text refers to the Paperback edition. 

About the Author(s)

Neil A. Campbell combined the investigative nature of a research scientist with the soul of an experienced and caring teacher. He earned his M.A. in Zoology from UCLA and his Ph.D. in Plant Biology from the University of California, Riverside, where he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2001. Dr. Campbell published numerous research articles on how certain desert plants thrive in salty soil and how sensitive plant (Mimosa) and other legumes move their leaves. His 30 years of teaching in diverse environments included general biology courses at Cornell University, Pomona College, and San Bernardino Valley College, where he received the college’s first Outstanding Professor Award in 1986. Most recently Dr. Campbell was a visiting scholar in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. In addition to his authorship of this book, he coauthored Biology: Concepts & Connections and BIOLOGY with Jane Reece. Each year, over 600,000 students worldwide use Campbell/Reece biology textbooks.

Jane B. Reece has worked in biology publishing since 1978, when she joined the editorial staff of Benjamin Cummings. Her education includes an A.B. in Biology from Harvard University, an M.S. in Microbiology from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. in Bacteriology from the University of California, Berkeley. At UC Berkeley and later as a post-doctoral fellow in genetics at Stanford University, her research focused on genetic recombination in bacteria. Dr. Reece taught biology at Middlesex County College (New Jersey) and Queensborough Community College (New York). As an editor at  Benjamin Cummings, Dr. Reece played major roles in a number of successful textbooks. In addition to being a coauthor with Neil Campbell on Biology: Concepts & Connections, and BIOLOGY, she coauthored The World of the Cell, Third Edition, with W.M. Becker and M.F. Poenie.

Eric J. Simon is an Assistant Professor of Biology at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire. He teaches introductory biology to both biology majors and non-biology majors, as well as upper-level biology courses in genetics, microbiology, and molecular biology. Dr. Simon received a B.A. in Biology and Computer Science and an M.A. in Biology from Wesleyan University, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Harvard University. Currently, he is working toward an M.S.Ed. in Educational Psychology. Dr. Simon’s diverse classroom experience includes teaching both biology majors and non-biology majors at numerous institutions, including St. John’s University (Minnesota), Minneapolis Community and Technical College-where he earned an Outstanding Teacher Award–and Fordham College at Lincoln Center in New York City. Dr. Simon’s research focuses on innovative ways for using technology to improve teaching and learning in the science classroom, particularly among non-biology major students. 



Depth and Accuracy, February 28, 2003

Campbell and Reece are best known as the authors of the hefty and excellent "Biology", now in it’s 6th edition used by undegraduate biology majors and AP Biology students.  

"Essential Biology" uses a different approach. The authors have packed a great deal into this amazingly small textbook. I recently reviewed a huge number of introductory biology texts for adoption in our school district. We use Campbell and Reece’s Biology, 6th edition for our AP biology course but were looking for a textbook to use with our 9th grade honors biology students.

After a lengthy comparison of textbooks we picked "Essential Biology" based on several things. First we found the book to be accurate, readable, and concise. We felt that it would give the students a depth of understanding in the core biological principles so that they would be ready when they moved on to AP biology later in their high school career.

Instead of trying to "cover" everything under the biological sun, "Essential Biology" focuses on four core biological topics: cells, genetics, evolution, and ecology. It’s 20 chapters are broken up into these 4 units and does a wonderful job of pulling it all together.

Other textbooks certainly cover more material but with less depth. What is the use of having a huge textbook that the students either never finish or rush through with no real understanding? This is a textbook that the students can dig into and throughly understand during one course.

It is supported by CD-ROM’s and on-line material. The website provides activities, on-line labs, quizes, and other practice. Students can print out results or e-mail them to their teachers.

I would recommend this text as one for use in a non-majors biology course or as an advanced high school biology introductory course.