Campbell Biology, 12th edition

Published by Pearson (January 17, 2020) © 2021

  • Lisa A. Urry Mills College, Oakland, California
  • Michael L. Cain New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Steven A. Wasserman University of California, San Diego
  • Peter V. Minorsky Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, New York
  • Rebecca Orr Collin College, McKinney, Texas


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For courses in general biology.

The standard for excellence, accuracy and innovation

Campbell Biology delivers a trusted, current and pedagogically innovative experience that guides students to a true understanding of biology. The author team advances Neil Campbell's vision of equipping students at their individual skill levels with tools, visuals, resources and activities that engage them in their learning. This course solution integrates text and artwork to reinforce key concepts, build scientific skills and promote active learning.

The 12th Edition meets student needs with new student-centered features, Reading Guide worksheets emphasizing key concepts and a revised assessment program.

Learn more.

Hallmark features of this title

Visual connections

  • Make Connections Figures connect content from different chapters providing a visual representation of big picture relationships.
  • Make Connections Questions relate chapter content to material presented earlier to show the connections between areas of biology.

A conceptual framework

  • End-of-chapter Summary of Key Concepts Questions reinforce main ideas in each chapter.
  • Test Your Understanding Questions prepare students for exam-type questions and encourage higher-level thinking.

Key scientific skills

  • Scientific Skills Exercises use real data to help build data analysis, graphing, experimental design and math skills.
  • Problem-Solving Exercises guide students to apply scientific skills and interpret real data in the context of a real-world problem.

New and updated features of this title

Visual connections

  • Interactive Visual Activities give students an engaging way to interact with the text's powerful art program while deepening their understanding of biology.
  • Additional Figure Walkthroughs (1-2-page visual spreads) guide students to a deeper understanding of the ways figures represent biological structures, processes and functions.

A conceptual framework

  • Chapter Openers feature a question answered with a clear, simple image to help students visualize and remember concepts as they move through the chapter. Each opener includes a study tip.
  • Test bank questions have been analyzed and revised for how students read, analyze and engage with the content, providing a rebuilt assessment program.

Key scientific skills

  • Science in the Classroom presents assignable tutorials in Mastering Biology with annotated journal articles from American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to make reading and understanding primary literature easier.
  • Reading Guide worksheets support students in actively reading their biology text. Downloadable worksheets guide their reading to focus them on key information.

Highlights of the DIGITAL UPDATE for Mastering Biology (available for Fall 2023 classes)

Instructors, contact your sales rep to ensure you have the most recent version of the course.

  • NEW: CheckPoint Interactive Questions challenge student misconceptions with an integrated series of questions that include answer-specific feedback. The evidence-based approach guides students to use reason in learning and retaining content. Questions are assignable in Mastering.
  • NEW: Interactive Visual Activities guide students in navigating complex figures as they interact with the text's powerful art program, view embedded video clips, and gauge their understanding with self-check questions. Activities are assignable in Mastering.

Features of Mastering Biology for the 12th Edition; published 2020

  • Pearson® Interactive Labs are structured around the process of science and feature real-world scenarios and guided feedback so students can make and learn from their mistakes.
  • Make Connections Figures from the text are also in Mastering as tutorials with answer-specific feedback. These 2-page visual representations show the big picture relationships between content from different chapters.
  • Reading Guide worksheets are downloadable sheets that support students in actively reading their biology text and ensure they pull key information. Instructors can access answers in the Instructor Resource area in Mastering.
  • Interpret the Data questions ask students to analyze quantitative information presented in a graph or table and are assignable in Mastering.
  • Scientific Skills Exercises in every chapter use real data to build key skills needed for biology, including data analysis, graphing, experimental design and math skills. Exercises are assignable in Mastering.
  • Problem-Solving Exercises guide students in applying scientific skills and interpreting real data in the context of solving a real-world problem. Additional versions can be assigned in Mastering.

Highlights of the Digital Update for Pearson+ eTextbook

  • NEW: CheckPoint Interactive Questions challenge student misconceptions with an integrated series of questions that include answer-specific feedback. The evidence-based approach guides students to use reason in learning and retaining content.
  • NEW: Topical content: SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 pandemic coverage, a new figure on mRNA vaccines, expanded discussions of vaccine campaigns, vaccine hesitancy, emerging and zoonotic pathogens, as well as updates on climate change, genomics and genetic engineering.

Features of Pearson+ eTextbook for the 12th Edition; published 2020

  • Make Connections Figures from the text are in Pearson+ eTextbook. The 2-page visual representations show the big picture relationships between content from different chapters.
  • Interactive Visual Activities guide students in navigating complex figures as they interact with the text's powerful art program, view embedded video clips, and gauge understanding with self-check questions.
  • Inquiry Figures highlight how researchers design an experiment, interpret results and draw conclusions. Each concludes with a question, asking: What If? Question (consider an alternative scenario), Interpret the Data Question (analyze the data presented), or Visual Skills Question (interpret a diagram).
  1. Evolution, the Themes of Biology, and Scientific Inquiry


  1. The Chemical Context of Life
  2. Water and Life
  3. Carbon and the Molecular Diversity of Life
  4. The Structure and Function of Large Biological Molecules


  1. A Tour of the Cell
  2. Membrane Structure and Function
  3. An Introduction to Metabolism
  4. Cellular Respiration and Fermentation
  5. Photosynthesis
  6. Cell Communication
  7. The Cell Cycle


  1. Meiosis and Sexual Life Cycles
  2. Mendel and the Gene Idea
  3. The Chromosomal Basis of Inheritance
  4. The Molecular Basis of Inheritance
  5. Gene Expression: From Gene to Protein
  6. Regulation of Gene Expression
  7. Viruses
  8. DNA Tools and Biotechnology
  9. Genomes and Their Evolution


  1. Descent with Modification: A Darwinian View of Life
  2. The Evolution of Populations
  3. The Origin of Species
  4. The History of Life on Earth


  1. Phylogeny and the Tree of Life
  2. Bacteria and Archaea
  3. Protists
  4. Plant Diversity I: How Plants Colonized Land
  5. Plant Diversity II: The Evolution of Seed Plants
  6. Fungi
  7. An Overview of Animal Diversity
  8. An Introduction to Invertebrates
  9. The Origin and Evolution of Vertebrates


  1. Vascular Plant Structure, Growth, and Development
  2. Resource Acquisition and Transport in Vascular Plants
  3. Soil and Plant Nutrition
  4. Angiosperm Reproduction and Biotechnology
  5. Plant Responses to Internal and External Signals


  1. Basic Principles of Animal Form and Function
  2. Animal Nutrition
  3. Circulation and Gas Exchange
  4. The Immune System
  5. Osmoregulation and Excretion
  6. Hormones and the Endocrine System
  7. Animal Reproduction
  8. Animal Development
  9. Neurons, Synapses, and Signaling
  10. Nervous Systems
  11. Sensory and Motor Mechanisms
  12. Animal Behavior


  1. An Introduction to Ecology and the Biosphere
  2. Population Ecology
  3. Community Ecology
  4. Ecosystems and Restoration Ecology
  5. Conservation Biology and Global Change


  1. Answers
  2. Classification of Life
  3. A Comparison of the Light Microscope and the Electron Microscope
  4. Scientific Skills Review

About our authors

Lisa A. Urry (Chapter 1 and Units 1–3) is Professor of Biology at Mills College. After earning a B.A. at Tufts University, she completed her Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Lisa has conducted research on gene expression during embryonic and larval development in sea urchins. Deeply committed to promoting opportunities in science for women and underrepresented minorities, she has taught courses ranging from introductory and developmental biology to an immersive course on the U.S./Mexico border.

Michael L. Cain (Units 4, 5, and 8) is an ecologist and evolutionary biologist who is now writing full-time. Michael earned an A.B. from Bowdoin College, an M.Sc. from Brown University, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. As a faculty member at New Mexico State University, he taught introductory biology, ecology, evolution, botany, and conservation biology. Michael is the author of dozens of scientific papers on topics that include foraging behavior in insects and plants, long-distance seed dispersal, and speciation in crickets. He is also a coauthor of an ecology textbook.

Steven A. Wasserman (Unit 7) is Professor of Biology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He earned an A.B. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from MIT. Working on the fruit fly Drosophila, Steve has done research on developmental biology, reproduction, and immunity. Having taught genetics, development, and physiology to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students, he now focuses on introductory biology, for which he has been honored with UCSD's Distinguished Teaching Award.

Peter V. Minorsky (Unit 6) is Professor of Biology at Mercy College in New York, where he teaches introductory biology, ecology, and botany. He received his A.B. from Vassar College and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Peter taught at Kenyon College, Union College, Western Connecticut State University, and Vassar College; he is also the science writer for the journal Plant Physiology. His research interests concern how plants sense environmental change. Peter received the 2008 Award for Teaching Excellence at Mercy College.

Rebecca B. Orr (Ready-to-Go Teaching Modules, Interactive Visual Activities, eText Media Integration) is Professor of Biology at Collin College in Plano, Texas, where she teaches introductory biology. She earned her B.S. from Texas A&M University and her Ph.D. from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Rebecca has a passion for investigating strategies that result in more effective learning and retention, and she is a certified Team-Based Learning Collaborative Trainer Consultant. She enjoys focusing on the creation of learning opportunities that both engage and challenge students.

Neil A. Campbell (1946–2004) earned his M.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside. His research focused on desert and coastal plants. Neil's 30 years of teaching included introductory biology courses at Cornell University, Pomona College, and San Bernardino Valley College, where he received the college's first Outstanding Professor Award in 1986. For many years he was also a visiting scholar at UC Riverside. Neil was the founding author of Campbell Biology.

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