Welcome to the Douglas College Anatomy & Physiology open textbook!

This textbook is a project under development by our Biology faculty to ultimately provide students with all the factual information they need to succeed in the BIOL 1103 and BIOL 1109 courses at Douglas College in BC, Canada.  Readers should be aware that the information herein is subject to change at any time as corrections, additions, or other important modifications are made.  Current students at Douglas College should be aware that only the most recent version of this textbook will be considered by their instructors to be complete and correct.  The most recent version of this second edition will remain accessible online at, and the most recent version of the second edition of the companion textbook (developed for Douglas College’s BIOL 1203 and BIOL 1209 courses) will also remain accessible online at

This textbook was developed initially as an adaptation of the OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology textbook, freely and perpetually available online at  The original adaptations of that OpenStax textbook for Douglas College are accessible online at and In the first edition of the Douglas College adaptations the chapter and section numbers were left as they were in the version of the OpenStax A&P textbook, from which they were largely drawn.  However, this second edition has been more extensively edited and rearranged to correspond with the curriculum used at Douglas College, so chapter and section numbers are no longer aligned specifically with the OpenStax A&P textbook.

About this Resource


The content of this textbook is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY) license, which means that you can distribute, remix, and build upon the content, as long as you provide attribution to its content contributors.


Since this textbook is primarily web based, updates can be made ‘live’ when deemed pedagogically necessary. If you have a correction to suggest, please submit it by email for review to Dr. Jennifer Barker, whose current contact information can be obtained from the Biology faculty page of the Douglas College website:


About Anatomy and Physiology

Section 1: Levels of Organization

Units 1–8 provide students with a basic understanding of human anatomy and physiology, including its language, the levels of organization, and the basics of chemistry and cell biology. These units provide a foundation for the further study of the body. They also focus particularly on how the body’s regions, important chemicals, and cells maintain homeostasis.

Unit 1 Atoms & Molecules
Unit 2 The Chemistry of Water
Unit 3 Biochemistry
Unit 4 Cell Structure and Function
Unit 5 Cell Biology: Membrane Transport
Unit 6 Tissue: Structure and Function
Unit 7 Body Structure
Unit 8 Homeostasis

Section 2: Nervous Regulation and Integration

In Units 9-10, students explore the structure of the nervous system and how it functions, to prepare them to understand how it is used to regulate other body systems that are discussed in subsequent units. This section is the first to walk students through a specific system of the body.

Unit 9 The Nervous System
Unit 10 Sensory Systems

Section 3: Support and Movement

Units 11-16 introduce students to the integumentary, skeletal, and muscular systems that provide support and protection to the human body, as well as allow movement.

Unit 11 The Integumentary System
Unit 12 The Skeletal System
Unit 13 Joints
Unit 14 Biomechanics
Unit 15 Muscle Anatomy
Unit 16 Muscle Physiology

Additional sections

The remaining systems of the human body are covered in the companion textbook to this one, designed for Douglas College’s BIOL 1203 and BIOL 1209 courses.

About the Authors


Jennifer Barker, Douglas College
Casper De Villiers, Douglas College
Todd Harper, Douglas College

Contributing Authors

Jennifer Barker, Douglas College
Jessie Clasen, Douglas College
Reyniel Cruz-Aguado, Douglas College
Casper De Villiers, Douglas College
Luis R. Gonzalez-Torres, Douglas College
Leon J. Guppy, Douglas College
Todd Harper, Douglas College
Sarwat Jamil, Douglas College
Shamsa Jessa, Douglas College
Weissy Lee, Douglas College
Elinor Matheson, Douglas College
Rosemary Oh-McGinnis, Douglas College
Maxence Salomon, Douglas College
Lynette Sigola-Baretto, Douglas College
Mike Silvergieter, Douglas College
Liza Sutton, Douglas College
Ryan Viveiros, Douglas College
Shelley Weisser, Douglas College
Cheryl Tautorus, Douglas College

Special Thanks

The authors of this textbook wish to thank OpenStax for the initial creation of a college-level open Anatomy & Physiology textbook, without which it is unlikely this edition would have been produced.

We also wish to thank BCcampus for providing financial support for the development of vector-based images to accompany this textbook, for providing the instance of the Pressbooks platform on which this textbook is hosted, and for providing technical support to the authors.

Finally, we wish to thank the remaining faculty members of the Biology Department for their valuable input into the content and organization of this textbook, Sara McKinnon for creating the section on lever systems and its associated diagrams, and Zoir Amirdad for creating many of the scalable vector-based versions of the images found in this textbook and also available as separate auxiliary resources.


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Douglas College Human Anatomy & Physiology I (2nd ed.) Copyright © 2019 by Douglas College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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