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Brenda Walpole

Can you tell us a little about your background?

After qualifying in biological sciences in the UK I worked for what is now Defra and then at the Natural History Museum in London preparing exhibitions for the galleries. I completed a higher degree in Hong Kong researching aspects of the ecology of the seashore then returned to Europe where I started teaching the IB and continued to work on exhibitions in places including Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago and Bristol.  I have written more than 30 books for children and young people on science topics including IB Biology (editions 1 & 2) and the textbook for IB Environmental Systems and Societies for Cambridge University Press.

When did you first become interested in biology?

As a child watching the birds from my bedroom window and David Attenborough on TV.

What’s your favourite area of biological research?

Genetics has huge potential for all our futures, especially in the area of targeted treatments of disease, but ecology is also vital to the survival of us all.

How does Biology for the IB Diploma help students study biology?

It includes not only all the facts that are so important to understanding the subject but places them in the context of ethics and history of our discoveries.

What’s your advice for IB students wanting to continue their biology studies after IB?

Specialise in an area that really interests you. Look for a course that suits you. If molecules and physiology leave you cold then remember that taxonomy, ecology and finding new species are equally important. John White studied a square metre of his garden, Darwin travelled the globe and now satellites can beam us images of huge areas all at once. Watson and Crick made models of things they couldn't see but only imagined. There are no limits.

Related resources

Biology for the IB Diploma (second edition)

Brenda Walpole, Ashby Merson-Davies and Leighton Dann

Covers in full the requirements of the IB syllabus for Biology for first examination in 2016.

Published/available: Mar 2014

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