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Study of life

Biology is the scientific study of life. It is a natural science with a broad scope but has several unifying themes that tie it together as a single, coherent field. For instance, all organisms are made up of cells that process hereditary information encoded in genes, which can be transmitted to future generations. Another major theme is evolution, which explains the unity and diversity of life. Energy processing is also important to life as it allows organisms to move, grow, and reproduce. Finally, all organisms are able to regulate their own internal environments.

Biologists are able to study life at multiple levels of organization. From the molecular biology of a cell to the anatomy and physiology of plants and animals, and evolution of populations. Hence, there are multiple subdisciplines within biology, each defined by the nature of their research questions and the tools that they use. Like other scientists, biologists use the scientific method to make observations, pose questions, generate hypotheses, perform experiments, and form conclusions about the world around them.

Life on Earth, which emerged more than 3.7 billion years ago, is immensely diverse. Biologists have sought to study and classify the various forms of life, from prokaryotic organisms such as archaea and bacteria to eukaryotic organisms such as protists, fungi, plants, and animals. These various organisms contribute to the biodiversity of an ecosystem, where they play specialized roles in the cycling of nutrients and energy through their biophysical environment.

Biology (from bio... and ...logia), a set of sciences about living nature. The subject of B.'s study is all manifestations of life: the structure and functions of living beings and their natural communities, their distribution, origin and development, connections with each other and with inanimate nature. B.'s tasks are to study all biols. laws, revealing the essence of life and its manifestations for the purpose of cognition and management of them. The term "B." was proposed in 1802 independently by two scientists - French J. B. Lamarck and German G. R. Tre-viranus. Sometimes the term "B." is used in a narrow sense, similar to the concepts of ecology and bionomy.

The main methods of B.: an observation that allows us to describe the biol. a phenomenon; a comparison that makes it possible to find patterns common to different phenomena (for example, individuals of the same species, different species, or for all living beings); an experiment or experiment in which the researcher artificially creates a situation that helps to reveal the deeper properties of biols. objects; finally, a historical method that allows, based on data on modern organic. the world and its past to learn the processes of the development of wildlife. In modern B. it is impossible to draw strict boundaries between these basic research methods; the once justified division of B. into a description. and the experiment, the sections have now lost their meaning.

B. is closely connected with many sciences and with practical human activity. To describe and study biological processes, B. engages chemistry, physics, mathematics, many technical sciences and Earth sciences - geology, geography, geochemistry. This is how biological disciplines related to other sciences arise - biochemistry, biophysics, etc., and sciences in which B. is included as an integral part, for example, soil science, including the study of processes occurring in the soil under the influence of soil organisms, oceanology and limnology, including the study of life in the oceans, seas and fresh waters.

In connection with the entry of B. to the forefront of natural science, the growth of the importance and relates the role of B. among other sciences, in particular as a force of society, the 2nd half of the 20th century is often called the "century of B.". The importance of B. for the formation of consistently materialistic. worldviews, for the proof of natural history. the origin of all living beings and man with his inherent higher forms of intelligent activity, for the eradication of belief in the supernatural and primordial expediency (theology and teleology). B. plays an important role in the knowledge of man and his place in nature. According to K. Marx, B. and the evolutionary doctrine developed in its depths are given by natural history. the basis is materialistic. views on the development of society. The victory of the evolutionary idea in the 19th century ended in science the belief in the divine creation of living beings and man (creationism). B. proves that the basis of life processes are phenomena that obey the laws of physics and chemistry. This does not exclude the presence of special biols in the living nature. laws, however, have nothing to do with the idea of the existence of an unknowable "vital force" - vis vitalis (see Vitalism). Thus, thanks to the progress of B. the main pillars of the religious worldview and philos are collapsing. idealism. Methodelogic. The basis of modern B. is dialectical materialism. Even researchers who are far from asserting materialism in philos. concepts, their works confirm the fundamental cognizability of living nature, reveal objectively existing patterns and verify the correctness of cognition by experience, practice, i.e. spontaneously stand on the materialistic. positions.

The patterns revealed by B. are an important component of modernity. natural sciences. They serve as the basis of medicine, agricultural sciences, forestry, animal husbandry, hunting and fishing. Human use of wealth is organic. The world is built on the principles revealed by B. B.'s data relating to fossil organisms are important for geology. Mn. biol. the principles are applied in engineering. The use of atomic energy, as well as space. the research required the creation and enhanced development of radiobiology and space biology only on the basis of biol. It is possible to solve one of the most ambitious and urgent tasks facing humanity - the systematic reconstruction of the Earth's biosphere in order to create optimal living conditions for the increasing population of the planet.

System of Biological Sciences

The system of biological sciences is extremely multifaceted, which is due to both the variety of manifestations of life and the variety of forms, methods and goals of the study of living objects, the study of living things at different levels of its organization. All this determines the conditionality of any system of biological sciences. Animal sciences - zoology and plants - botany, as well as human anatomy and physiology - the basis of medicine were among the first to develop in B. Other major sections of B., distinguished by the objects of research, are microbiology - the science of microorganisms, hydrobiology - the science of organisms inhabiting the aquatic environment, etc. More narrow disciplines have been formed within B.; within zoology - studying mammals - theriology, birds - ornithology, reptiles and amphibians - herpetology, fish and fish -ichthyology, insects - entomology, ticks - acarology, mollusks - malacology, protozoology; within botany - studying algae - algology, fungi - mycology, lichens - lichenology, mosses - bryology, trees and shrubs - dendrology, etc. The division of disciplines sometimes goes even deeper. The diversity of organisms and their distribution into groups are studied by the systematics of animals and the systematics of plants. B. can be divided into neontology, which studies modern organic. the world, and paleontology -the science of extinct animals (paleozoology) and plants (paleobotany).

The other aspect of the classification of biological disciplines is according to the studied properties and manifestations of the living. Morphological disciplines study the form and structure of organisms; the lifestyle of animals and plants and their relationship with environmental conditions - ecology; the study of various functions of living beings - the field of research of animal physiology and plant physiology; the subject of genetics research - patterns of heredity and variability; ethology - patterns of animal behavior; patterns of individual development studies embryology or in a broader modern understanding - developmental biology; patterns of historical. development is an evolutionary doctrine. Each of the named disciplines is divided into a number of more specific ones (e.g. morphology - functional, comparative, etc.). At the same time, there is an interpenetration and fusion of different branches of B. with the formation of complex combinations, for example, histo-, cyto- or embryophysiology, cytogenetics, evolutionary and ecological genetics, etc. Anatomy studies the structure of organs and their systems macroscopically; histology studies the microstructure of tissues, cytology studies cells, and the structure of the cell nucleus studies karyology. At the same time, histology, cytology, and karyology investigate not only the structure of the corresponding structures, but also their functions and biochemistry. features.

It is possible to distinguish in B. disciplines related to the use of certain research methods, for example biochemistry, which studies the basic life processes of chemistry. methods and subdivided into a number of sections (biochemistry of animals, plants, etc.), biophysics, revealing the meaning of physics. patterns in the processes of vital activity and also subdivided into a number of industries. Biochemist. and biophysicist. research directions are often closely intertwined both with each other (e.g., in radiation biochemistry) and with other biological disciplines (e.g., in radiobiology). Biometrics is of great importance, which is based on mathematics. biol processing. data for the purpose of revealing dependencies that escape when describing individual phenomena and processes, planning an experiment, etc.; theoretical. and mathematical. B. allow, applying logical. constructions and mathematical. methods, to establish more general biol. patterns.

In connection with the study of life at different levels of its organization, molecular biology is distinguished, which studies vital manifestations at the subcellular, molecular level; cytology and histology, which study cells and tissues of living organisms; population-specific biology (systematics, biogeography, population trends in genetics and ecology), associated with the study of populations as components of any kind of organisms; biogeocenology, which studies the highest structural levels of the organization of life on Earth, up to the biosphere as a whole. An important place in B. is occupied by both theoretical and practical. directions of research, a sharp boundary between them is difficult to draw, because any theoretical. the direction is inevitably connected (directly or indirectly, at the moment or in the future) with going into practice. Theoretical research makes possible discoveries that revolutionize many. branches of practical activity, they ensure the successful development of applied disciplines, e.g. industrial. microbiology and technic. biochemistry, plant protection, plant and animal husbandry, nature protection, disciplines of medical and biological sciences. complex (parasitology, immunology, etc.). In turn, the branches of applied B. they enrich the theory with new facts and set it tasks determined by the needs of society. Of the practically important disciplines, bionics is rapidly developing (the study of technical applications of biol. laws), space biology (the study of biol. the actions of the factors of the world space in the problems of space exploration), astrobiology or exobiology (the study of life outside the Earth). The study of man as a product and object of biol. a number of biological disciplines - anthropology, genetics and human ecology, medical genetics, psychology - are closely related to the social sciences.


Further Resources



Science X staff
July 28, 2021
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Science X staff
July 2, 2021
Nitrogen is essential for all life on Earth. In the global oceans however, this element is scarce, and nitrogen availability is therefore critical for the growth of marine life. Some bacteria found in marine waters can convert nitrogen gas (N2) to ammonia (known as N2 fixation), and thereby supply the marine food web with nitrogen.
Science X staff
June 16, 2021
Several different causes of aging have been discovered, but the question remains whether there are common underlying mechanisms that determine aging and lifespan. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing and the CECAD Cluster of Excellence in Ageing research at the University Cologne have now come across folate metabolism in their search for such basic mechanisms. Its regulation underlies many known aging signaling pathways and leads to longevity. This may provide a new possibility to broadly improve human health during aging.
Science X staff
June 15, 2021
The biological and historical diversity in museum collections is staggering, with specimens collected across centuries by some of the most famous scientists in history. In a new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen successfully revived museal fungal specimens that were more than 250 years old and used the live cultures for whole genome sequencing and physiological experiments.
Science X staff
May 26, 2021
Hundreds of antibiotic resistant genes found in the gastrointestinal tracts of Danish infants


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