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Filmography - Biology: Home

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of April 2011

Filmography - Biology

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of April 2011. 

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the ALADIN catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible.  All DVDs listed below are located in Media Services on the Lower Level of Bender Library. To search the library’s complete videos holdings on biology topics (including VHS tapes) keyword searches in the library catalog will be necessary:

The AU Library has over 70 DVDs on biology topics and most of those are listed here. Additionally over 800 videos on biology subjects (too numerous to list here) are available for instant streaming through Films On Demand

To navigate directly to this from the Films On Demand homepage, go to View By Subject – Science and Mathematics - Biology

Films-On-Demand titles are password-protected and will require a login for students and faculty who wish to access them from off-campus.



The blue planet seas of life : ocean world ; frozen seas. 2002. 1 videodisc (98 min.). Explore the oceans of the world learning interesting facts about oceans and the animals and plants that live within them. DVD 6471

The blue planet seas of life : open ocean; the deep. 2002. 1 videodisc (98 min.). The Blue Planet: Seas of Life reveals the sea and its communities at their most fearsome and alluring. DVD 6472

The blue planet seas of life : seasonal seas; coral seas. 2002. 1 videodisc (98 min.). Reveals the sea and its communities at their most fearsome and alluring. DVD 6473

The blue planet seas of life : tidal seas; coasts. 2002. 1 videodisc (98 min.). "Tidal seas--The sun and moon move billions of tons of water with every turn of the tide. The strongest tides empty entire bays, smash trees on riverbanks, and strand sea creatures on suddenly dry land. Weaker tides controlthe movements of huge numbers of fish, coaxing schools of giant stingrays through astounding underwater arches. And as the water recedes, the tide can create unbelievable landscapes--like a sparkling world of salt crystals inhabited only by tiny shrimp and bright pink flamingos."--Container. "Coasts--From rocky cliffs to gentle dunes, the coasts are always changing. Day in and day out, they are battered by crashing waves. Seabirds come here by the thousands to nest, while baby turtles hatch and race to the sea, pursued by hungry predators. Young sea lion pups are born and play on the sand--until a killer whale attacks, crashing in on the surf. But when breeding season is over, life returns to the sea and the shores are empty once again."--Container. DVD 6474

The cell. 1994. 1 streaming video file (14 min.). This program explains the structure and function of the cell-the basic unit of life-and how it is studied using the compound and electron microscopes. An expert on the electron microscope is interviewed. Streaming video

Charles Darwin and the tree of life. 2009. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video file (60 min.). A personal insight from naturalist David Attenborough into Darwin's theory of evolution, exploring why it is more important now than ever before. DVD 7171. Streaming video

Coral reef adventure. 2003. 2 videodiscs (73 min.). "Ocean explorers Howard and Michele Hall turn their love for the ocean and their concern for the future of the world's coral reefs into action.  With Jean-Michel Cousteau, deep reef scientist Richard Pyle and Fijian diver Rusi Vulakoro, the Halls explore and capture on film the dazzling underwater world of coral reefs, magical places here on Earth."--Container. Home Use Collection DVD 3184

Creation. 2010. 1 videodisc (108 min.). Gives viewers a unique inside look at Charles Darwin, his family, and his love for his deeply religious wife, as he is torn between faith and science. Darwin struggles to finish his legendary book, On the Origin of Species, which goes on to become the foundation for evolutionary biology. Home Use Collection DVD 7933

Curing cancer. 2003. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video file (57 min.). This programs tells the story of how researchers have developed radically new ways to treat cancer by tracing it back to its origins: its DNA. The program focuses on two pioneering efforts: the race between Dr. Mary Claire King and Dr. Mark Skolnick, founder of Myriad Genetics to isolate the gene linked to breast cancer, and Dr. Brian Druker's work that eventually led to an anti-cancer drug which cures Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. Also looks at the work of David Botstein in discovering gene markers and Per Lonning, Botstein and partner Pat Brown who developed a micro-array technique to reveal differences between seemingly identical cancers. DVD 1851. Streaming video

Darwin's dangerous idea. Evolution. 2001. 1 videodisc (120 min.). This episode interweaves the drama in key moments of Darwin's life with documentary sequences of current research, linking past to present and introducing major concepts of evolutionary theory. It explores why Darwin's "dangerous idea" might matter even more today than it did in his own time, and reveals how science might be used to explain the past and predict the future of life on earth. DVD 5721

Deconstructing supper a film. 2002. 1 videodisc (48 min.). Documentary film that looks at the way modern food is produced through genetic modification and through organic farming in Canada, Europe, India, and United States. A gourmet chef, John Bishop, leads us on an investigation of various genetically modified food products and the leader in genetic engineering, Monsanto. DVD 4470

Discussions With Richard Dawkins The four horsemen. 2007. 1 videodisc (120 min.). On the 30th of September 2007, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens sat down for an unmoderated 2-hour discussion.    In this conversation the authors, all having received media attention for their writings against religion, trade stories of the public's reaction to their recent books, their unexpected successes, criticisms and common misrepresentations. They discuss the tough questions about religion that face the world today, and propose new strategies for going forward. - from website. DVD 3896

DNA. 2003. 5 videodiscs (285 min.). This programs tells the story of how researchers have developed radically new ways to treat cancer by tracing it back to its origins: its DNA. The program focuses on two pioneering efforts: the race between Dr. Mary Claire King and Dr. Mark Skolnick, founder of Myriad Genetics to isolate the gene linked to breast cancer, and Dr. Brian Druker's work that eventually led to an anti-cancer drug which cures Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. Also looks at the work of David Botstein in discovering gene markers and Per Lonning, Botstein and partner Pat Brown who developed a micro-array technique to reveal differences between seemingly identical cancers. DVD 1848-1852

Dolphins. Great adventure film series. 2000. 2 videodiscs (89 min.). This ocean adventure film takes viewers into the complex lives of dolphins around the world. Home Use Collection DVD 3183

Evolution. 2001. 4 videodiscs (480 min.). "Evolution" offers a groundbreaking and definitive view of the extraordinary impact the evolutionary process has had on our understanding of the world around us. Beginning with Darwin's revolutionary theory, this seven-part series explores all facets of evolution--the changes that spawned the tree of life, the power of sex, how evolution continues to affect us every day, and the perceived conflict between science and religion. DVD 5721-5724.

The evolutionary arms race Why sex? Evolution. 2001. 1 videodisc (120 min.). The evolutionary arms race explores our own spiraling arms race with microorganisms-- the only real threat to our existence-- and trace the alarming spread of resistance among pathogens that cause disease. Why sex? investigates the endless variety of sexual expression and the powerful hold sex exerts over almost all living things. And discover why in evolutionary terms, sex is more important than life itself. DVD 5723

Flock of dodos the evolution and intelligent design circus. 2007. 1 videodisc (85 min.). Tweaks egos and pokes fun at both sides in the evolution vs. intelligent design debate. From the shadowy, well-funded headquarters of the pro-intelligent design Discovery Institute in Seattle to the rarefied talk of scientists around a late-night poker table. DVD 3667

The genius of Charles Darwin. 2009. 2 videodiscs (139 min.). Shaking Western culture to its very core after its publication 150 years ago, On the origin of species forced humans to rethink their place in the universe. In this lively three-part series, Darwin's passionate disciple, popular author and biologist Richard Dawkins examines evolution and its legacy, confronts Darwin's doubters head-on, and explains natural selection in clear, straightforward terms. DVD 7172

Ghost in your genes. Nova. 2008. 1 videodisc (56 min.). While the discovery of DNA appeared to supplant much, or possibly all, of the nature vs. nurture question, this documentary highlights how life choices , stress, nutrition, may in fact impact or even change DNA processes. The filmmakers explore newer evidence that suggests DNA replication may not be as automatic as had been thought, and is shaped and affected by a second "epigenetic" chemical code that reacts with environmental changes, activating or deactivating various genes, all with potentially dramatic and even permanent results. As such, the nature vs. nurture question gains new prominence and new import, with the implication that people's choices with their own lives and the lives of their children have far-reaching consequences. DVD 7479.

Great transformations Extinction! Evolution. 2001. 1 videodisc (120 min.). Great transformations focuses on the evolutionary changes that triggered the earth's incredible diversity. Extinction! explores why, then confronts a frightening notion: are humans causing the next mass extinction-- the sixth in the history of life on earth? DVD 5722

Guns, germs, and steel. 2005. 2 videodiscs (165 min.). An epic detective story that offers a gripping expose on why the world is so unequal. Professor Jared Diamond traveled the globe for over 30 years trying to answer this question. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book. DVD 1417

Human brain development nature and nurture. Neuroscience series: Neuroscience series (San Luis Obispo, Calif.). 2007. 1 videodisc (30 min.). "The fascinating interplay of genetic predispositions and experience in the development of the brain after birth is demonstrated in this film produced at the Brain Development Laboratory at the University of Oregon"--Container. DVD 4762

The human digestive system. 2006. 1 videodisc (18 min.). Food must be digested by the body so that all useful nutrients can be absorbed. With endoscopic pictures, diagrams, photomicrographs, and laboratory experiments, this program shows how the human digestive system works. DVD 6794

The human race. 2003. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video file (57 min.). In 1990, a massive enterprise was launched to map the individual genes in the human genome. Known as the Human Genome Project, it soon turned into a race and a feud. This program tracks the progress of the endeavor, detailing the scientific innovations that led to its completion, as well as its political and economic impact. Among those who discuss the project are initial rivals Francis Collins and J. Craig Venter; Dr. John Sulston; Sir Alex Jeffreys, the discoverer of DNA fingerprinting; Nobel Laureates Fred Sanger and Jim Watson; and former President Bill Clinton. DVD 1850. Streaming video

The human spark. 2010. 1 videodisc (180 min.). Alan Alda takes a look at how humans first appeared on Earth millions of years ago, and how our species not only survived, but thrived, through some unimaginable conditions. Alda visits with dozens of scientists on three continents, and participates directly in many experiments - including the detailed examination of his own brain. DVD 7695

In the family. 2008. 1 videodisc (83 min.). Filmmaker Joanna Rudnick is faced with a difficult decision when she tests positive for the breast cancer gene. Now she has the difficult decision of whether she should have her breasts and ovaries removed or hold on to her ability to have children. DVD 7961

The incredible human journey. 2010. 2 videodiscs (293 min.). This videodisc undertakes five epic journeys across the globe, tracing the ancient routes of our early ancestors to reveal the extraordinary and brutal challenges they faced. Using the latest genetic and archaeological evidence, it shows how humans gradually adapted, culturally and physiologically, in response to their environment. DVD 8071

Inherit the wind. 1960. 1 videodisc (128 min.). A small Tennessee town gained national attention in 1925 when a biology schoolteacher was arrested for violating state law and teaching Darwin's theory of evolution in the classroom. Home Use Collection DVD 1677

The Intertidal zone. 1986. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video file (17 min.). Examines the plants and animals inhabiting the intertidal zone and their adaptations to the ocean's diurnal rhythm. Home Use Collection DVD 2653. Streaming video

Judgment day intelligent design on trial. 2008. 1 videodisc (112 min.). Captures the turmoil that tore apart the community of Dover, Pennsylvania, in a landmark battle over the teaching of evolution in public schools. In 2004, the Dover school board ordered science teachers to read a statement to their high school biology students about an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution called intelligent design. This idea states that life is too complex to have evolved naturally and so must have been designed by an intelligent agent. The teachers refused to comply, and both parents and teachers filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the school board of violating the constitutional separation of church and state. DVD 4417

Life. 2010. 4 videodiscs (586 min.). Four years in the making, and filmed over 3000 days across every continent and in every habitat, see 130 incredible stories from frontiers of the natural world. Discover the glorious variety of life on Earth and the spectacular and extraordinary tactics animals and plants have developed to stay alive. This is evolution in action: individual creatures under extreme pressure to overcome challenges from adversaries and their environment. Home Use Collection DVD 7561-7564

A life among whales. 2005. 1 videodisc [57 min.]. "Weaving together natural history and biography, A Life Among Whales is a fascinating exploration of whale biologist and MacArthur fellowship winner, Dr. Roger Payne.  For four decades, Payne has advanced the boundaries of science and activism - beginning with his pioneering work on whale songs in the 1970's, to his study of ocean pollution today.  With beautiful and haunting imagery, the film forces us to question our stewardship of Earth and our coexistence of some of its most intriguing creatures" --From Container. DVD 2557

The life of mammals. 2003. 4 videodiscs (500 min.). Introduces us to the most diverse group of animals ever to live on this planet. From the smallest to the largest, from the slowest to the fastest, from the least attractive to the most irresistible. Looks at 4,000 species, including ones that have outlived the dinosaurs and conquered the farthest places on Earth. Examine how their adaptations for finding food have had an effect on the way they socialize, mate and live. Home Use Collection DVD 4221-4224

The life of mammals. 2003. 1 videodisc (150 min.). A winning design: Makes a worldwide journey of discovery in search of fascinating mammals to illustrate why they are so successful and diverse. Insect hunters: The insectivores (insect-eaters) were there at the very beginning of the mammals and are still thriving today. They are one of the great success stories. Plant predators: Some of the biggest predators to walk the Earth face a constant battle. They prey is heavily armored, often indigestible, and sometimes poisonous. These predators prey on plants. Home Use Collection DVD 4221

The life of mammals. 2003. 1 videodisc (150 min.). Chisellers: Special tools like chisel-sharp front teeth and underground dwelling enable this group of mammals to feast on the toughest roots and seeds. Meat eaters: Predators and prey must evolve speed, endurance and maneuverability to outwit each other. With all hunters, the aggression of the kill means the difference between life and death. Opportunists: Omnivores will eat whatever is around at the time, making them highly adaptable. Among this group are some of the most charismatic and widespread mammals on the planet. Home Use Collection DVD 4222

The life of mammals. 2003. 1 videodisc (100 min.). Life in the trees: A range of adaptations from suction feet to gripping tails to ultra-keen senses help the tree dwelling mammals to survive high above the ground. Return to the water: With perfect streamlined bodies and great underwater speed, seals, dolphins, porpoises, and whales become the new hunters of the sea. Home Use Collection DVD 4223

The life of mammals. 2003. 1 videodisc (100 min.). Food for thought: Human beings appear to be unique among mammals. We live in huge cities, we walk on two legs and we have language. But how far have we really come from our mammal heritage? Are we really as different as we think from other mammals? Social climbers: In the daily hubbub of monkey life, only those with a talent for social wheeler dealing get ahead, driving the shift towards larger brains. Home Use Collection DVD 4224

Life running out of control. 2004. 1 videodisc (95 min.). Explores the possibility of a future in which physical strength and assertiveness are the topselling items on "baby menus" and other frightening implications of market-driven genetic engineering. Showing how the government-funded Human Genome Project has become highly lucrative for pharmaceutical companies, the film examines the cases of exploitative gene harvesting in Iceland and Peru. Interviews with prominent scientists and activists highlight the dangers of patenting genetic data and an absence of public discourse about artificial gene selection. DVD 1561

Middle sexes redefining he and she. 2006. 1 videodisc (75 min.). Sensitively explores the controversial subject of the blurring of gender as well as the serious social and family problems--even dangers--often faced by those whose gender may fall somewhere in between male and female. DVD 4450

The mind's big bang What about God? Evolution. 2001. 1 videodisc (120 min.). In The mind's big bang: Between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago, something happened that triggered a creative, technological and social explosion, allowing humans to dominate the planet. What forces may have contributed to the emergence of the modern human mind? In What about God?: Of all the species on earth, only humans try to explain who they are and how they came to be. Encounter real stories of people struggling to find a balance between religion and science, realms that play very different roles in assigning order to the universe and a purpose to life. DVD 5724

Motherland a genetic journey. 2003. 1 videodisc (90 min.). Cut off from their ancestry by the three-hundred-year-long slave trade which uprooted 12 million people from Africa, three people are given the opportunity, through DNA searches, to reconnect with their roots. Through advances in DNA research and with the help of laboratories in the UK and America, the possibility arises that with a swab from the inside of a person's cheek they can trace back twelve or thirteen generations to the tribe of their ancestors. DVD 2717

Pandora's box. 2003. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video file(57 min.). With Dr. Jim Watson as guide, this program looks into the future of genetic manipulation, exploring some of the current and proposed ways scientists hope to improve humankind. Watson feels people should be able to enhance their own genes and those of their descendants. Also looks at the work of Dr. Mario Capecchi who manipulates mouse DNA for potential benefits to humans such as using genetics to enhance intelligence. Watson also addresses some of his critics, including a family with a son who has Down syndrome, and Dr. Kay Jamison, a world expert on manic depression and a manic depressive herself. DVD 1852. Streaming video

Plagues & pleasures on the Salton Sea. 2007. 1 videodisc (73 min.). Fabulously offbeat and refreshingly upbeat, this lovable film gets friendly with the natives of the Salton Sea, an inland ocean of massive fish kills, rotting resorts, and 120 degree nights located just minutes from urban South California. DVD 3782

Planet Earth. 2007. 5 videodiscs (550 min.). A stunning 11-part series that captures rare action, impossible locations, and intimate moments with our planet's best-loved, wildest, and most elusive creatures. Home Use Collection DVD 2721-2725. Home Use Collection Blu-Ray DVD 2721-2724

Playing God. 2003. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video file (57 min.). Twenty years after the discovery of DNA's structure, another revolution swept biology when scientists began learning how to manipulate genes outright. The controversy continues to this day. This program tells the story of genetic engineering's pioneers, focusing on the race to synthesize insulin and the development of genetically modified crops. Spectacular computer animations of molecular processes are paired with commentary by key researchers. DVD 1849. Streaming video

The secret life of the brain. 2001. 3 videodiscs (300 min.). This series explores the startling new map of the brain that has emerged from the past decade of neuroscience and shares a revelatory view of this most complicated organ, which now contradicts much of what we previously believed. Narrated by actress Blair Brown, the series tells stories through a mix of personal histories, expert commentary and cutting-edge animation. Viewers will not only learn startling new truths about the brain, they will voyage inside it. DVD 7232

The secret of life. 2003. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video file (57 min.). A half-century ago, three teams with three different approaches raced to unravel the structure of DNA. This program blends interviews and commentary with extraordinary graphics to tell the story of how the unlikely duo of Jim Watson and Francis Crick won that race. Many of the principal figures in the quest discuss their frustrations and insights including Watson and Crick, Maurice Wilkins and Linus Pauling's son, Peter. DVD 1848. Streaming video

The shape of life. 2002. 1 videodisc (106 min.). Episode 3, The first hunter. Scientists discuss the theory that a flatworm-like animal was the first creature to develop a head, brain, paired senses, and a tail, and it was the first to move forward and thus the first to hunt for food and mates. Episode 4, Explosion of life. Examines the Cambrian period, during which life evolved at an explosive rate. By the end of the Cambrian period, all of the eight major animal body plans that exist today (along with 27 minor ones) had emerged; no new body plans have developed since. Focuses on the Annelids. Episodes three and four of an eight part series. DVD 4172

The shape of life. 2002. 1 videodisc (106 min.). Episode 5, The conquerors. Examines the theory that arthropods were the first creatures to leave the oceans to ultimately live on land and dominate every habitable ecosystem. Episode 6, Survival game. Discusses how mollusks have evolved over a 500 million year period. Episodes five and six of an eight part series. DVD 4173

The shape of life. 2002. 1 videodisc (106 min.). Episode 7, Ultimate animal. Examines Echinoderms, which have no head, eyes, or centralized brains, yet they are worthy evolutionary competitors. Episode 8, Bones, brawn, and brains. Discusses the three common features of all chordates, and how modifications in chordate genetic make-up have led chordates to evolutionary success. Episodes seven and eight of an eight part series. DVD 4174

The shape of life. 2002. 1 videodisc (106 min.). Episode 1, Origins. Scientists believe they have gathered substantial evidence that points to a single animal group that gave rise to all animals: the sponges. Episode 2, Life on the move. Examines the origins of movement in living things by examining the cnidarians, a group that includes corals, sea anemones, sea pens, and jellyfish. Episode one and two of an eight part series. DVD 4171

The shape of life the complete journey. 2002. 4 videodiscs (424 min.). The story of the beginnings of all animal life using innovative camera techniques and computer animation. This series celebrates the splendors and struggles of evolution, unveiling eight biological designs which are the underpinnings of nearly all animal life. DVD 4171-4174

Splice. 2010. 1 videodisc (104 min.). Two young scientists become superstars by splicing different animal DNA to create fantastical new creatures. Ignoring legal and ethical boundaries, the scientists, who are romantically involved, introduce human DNA into their experiment and risk the dawn of a terrifying new era. Home Use Collection DVD 7590.

The state of the ocean's animals. 2007. 1 videodisc (57 min.). Investigates why so many of our ocean's animals are disappearing. Case studies focus on global issues including climate change, sea-level rise, over-fishing and habitat destruction. Areas of focus include: Antarctica and the emperor penguin; Melbourne Beach, Florida and sea turtles; Klamath River, Oregon and salmon; Monterey Bay, California and sea otters. DVD 3389

The state of the planet's wildlife. 2006. 1 videodisc (57 min.). Speculates that almost half of the world's wildlife species may become extinct in the next fifty years as a result of loss of habitat, climate change, predation by humans, and other human activities. Suggests possible strategies for averting such a catastrophe. Examines the situations of lowland gorillas in Africa and in the Bronx Zoo, grizzly bears in the Blackfoot River valley of  Montana, migrating birds and wetlands habitat in the Florida everglades, and elephants in Zambia. DVD 3388

Sweet misery a poisoned world. 2005. 1 videodisc (95 min.). Explores questions raised about Aspartame sweetener including whether there is a connection between the artificial sweetener and illnesses such as brain cancer and multiple sclerosis.  Also discusses the process by which Aspartame received FDA approval and various reports of health risks. DVD 4464

Triumph of life. 2006. 2 videodiscs (360 min.). Combines dramatic storytelling with powerful, ground-breaking scientific ideas in a sweeping story about survival and the survivors-the winners, for the moment at least, in an eternal battle. DVD 2556

Tuskegee. 2004. 1 videodisc (22 min.). Between the years of 1932 and 1971, the U.S. government used approximately 600 African Americans from Macon County, Alabama, as human guinea pigs for syphilis research under the guise of treatment for bad blood. DVD 6255

Voyage inside the cell. 2004. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video file (15 min.). Presents computer-generated images which transport the viewer inside a living cell following a hormone as it passes through the cell's membrane, reaches the nucleus and induces mitosis. Cell components such as proteins, enzymes, the endoplasmic reticulum and cytomplasm are all identified. DVD 3840. Streaming video

Walking with dinosaurs. 2000. 2 videodiscs (233 min.). Examines the 155-million-year history of dinosaurs from the aggressive Coelophysis, who first learned to hunt in packs, to Tyrannosaurus Rex, the most terrifying carnivore on the planet. Covers the Late Triassic, Late Jurassic, Early Cretaceous, and Late Cretaceous periods. Home Use Collection DVD 1461

Who's afraid of designer babies? 2004. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video file  (53 min.). Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) allows scientists to screen embryos conceived through IVF. But what is the potential of this technology and who should decide how to use it? DVD 2308. Streaming video