Biology is the examine of life. The phrase “biology” is derived from the Greek phrases “bios” (that means life) and “logos” (that means “examine”). Normally, biologists examine the construction, operate, progress, origin, evolution and distribution of dwelling organisms.
Biology is vital as a result of it helps us perceive how dwelling issues work and the way they operate and work together on a number of ranges, based on the Encyclopedia Britannica. Advances in biology have helped scientists do issues similar to develop higher medicines and coverings for illnesses, perceive how a altering surroundings would possibly have an effect on vegetation and animals, produce sufficient meals for a rising human inhabitants and predict how consuming new meals or sticking to an train routine would possibly have an effect on our our bodies.
The essential ideas of contemporary biology
4 ideas unify trendy biology, based on the guide “Managing Science” (Springer New York, 2010):
- Cell concept is the precept that every one dwelling issues are manufactured from basic models known as cells, and all cells come from preexisting cells.
- Gene concept is the precept that every one dwelling issues have DNA, molecules that code the constructions and features of cells and get handed to offspring.
- Homeostasis is the precept that every one dwelling issues keep a state of steadiness that permits organisms to outlive of their surroundings.
- Evolution is the precept that describes how all dwelling issues can change to have traits that allow them to outlive higher of their environments. These traits end result from random mutations within the organism’s genes which are “chosen” by way of a course of known as pure choice. Throughout pure choice, organisms which have traits better-suited for his or her surroundings have greater charges of survival, after which cross these traits to their offspring.
The various branches of biology
Though there are solely 4 unifying ideas, biology covers a broad vary of matters which are damaged into many disciplines and subdisciplines.
On a excessive degree, the completely different fields of biology can every be considered the examine of 1 sort of organism, based on “Blackie’s Dictionary of Biology” (S Chand, 2014). For instance, zoology is the examine of animals, botany is the examine of vegetation and microbiology is the examine of microorganisms.
Inside these broader fields, many biologists focus on researching a particular matter or drawback. For instance, a scientist might examine habits of a sure fish species, whereas one other scientist might analysis the neurological and chemical mechanisms behind the habits.
There are quite a few branches and subdisciplines of biology, however here’s a brief listing of a number of the extra broad fields that fall beneath the umbrella of biology:
Biochemistry: The examine of the chemical processes that happen in or are associated to dwelling issues, based on the Biochemical Society. For instance, pharmacology is a kind of biochemistry analysis that focuses on finding out how medicine work together with chemical compounds within the physique, as described in a 2010 assessment within the journal Biochemistry.
Ecology: The examine of how organisms work together with their surroundings. For instance, an ecologist might examine how honeybee habits is affected by people dwelling close by.
Genetics: The examine of heredity. Geneticists examine how genes are handed down by mother and father to their offspring, and the way they differ from individual to individual. For instance, scientists have recognized a number of genes and genetic mutations that affect human lifespan, as reported in a 2019 assessment revealed within the journal Nature Critiques Genetics.
Physiology: The examine of how dwelling issues work. Physiology, which is relevant to any dwelling organism, “offers with the life-supporting features and processes of dwelling organisms or their elements,” based on Nature. Physiologists search to know organic processes, similar to how a specific organ works, what its operate is and the way it’s affected by exterior stimuli. For instance, physiologists have studied how listening to music may cause bodily adjustments within the human physique, similar to a slower or quicker coronary heart fee, based on the journal Psychological Well being Results of Musical Experiences. .
The multidisciplinary nature of biology
Biology is commonly researched along with different fields of examine, together with arithmetic, engineering and the social sciences. Listed below are a couple of examples:
Astrobiology is the examine of the evolution of life within the universe, together with the seek for extraterrestrial life, based on NASA. This subject incorporates ideas of biology with astronomy.
Bioarchaeologists are biologists who incorporate archaeological strategies to review skeletal stays and derive insights about how individuals lived up to now, based on George Mason College.
Bioengineering is the appliance of engineering ideas to biology and vice versa, based on the College of California Berkeley. For instance, a bioengineer would possibly develop a brand new medical know-how that higher photos the within of the physique, like an improved Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that scans the human physique at a quicker fee and better decision, or apply organic information to create synthetic organs, based on the journal Cell Transplant.
Biotechnology includes utilizing organic techniques to develop merchandise, based on the Norwegian College of Science and Expertise. For instance, biotechnologists in Russia genetically engineered a better-tasting and extra disease-resistant strawberry, which the researchers described of their 2007 examine revealed within the journal Biotechnology and Sustainable Agriculture 2006 and Past.
Biophysics employs the ideas of physics to know how organic techniques work, based on the Biophysical Society. For instance, biophysicists might examine how genetic mutations resulting in adjustments in protein construction impacts protein evolution, based on the Journal of the Royal Society
What do biologists do?
Biologists can work in many various fields, together with analysis, healthcare, environmental conservation and artwork, based on the American Institute of Organic Sciences. Listed below are a couple of examples:
Analysis: Biologists can carry out analysis in lots of varieties of settings. Microbiologists, for example, might examine bacterial cultures in a laboratory setting. Different biologists might carry out subject analysis, the place they observe animals or vegetation of their native habitat. Many biologists may fit within the lab and within the subject — for instance, scientists might gather soil or water samples from the sector and analyze them additional within the lab, like at North Carolina College’s Soil and Water Lab.
Conservation: Biologists may help with efforts in environmental conservation by finding out and figuring out the best way to shield and preserve the pure world for the long run. For instance, biologists might assist educate the general public on the significance of preserving an animal’s pure habitat and take part in endangered species restoration applications to cease the decline of an endangered species, based on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Healthcare: Individuals who examine biology can go on to work in healthcare, whether or not they work as medical doctors or nurses, be part of a pharmaceutical firm to develop new medicine and vaccines, analysis the efficacy of medical therapies or develop into veterinarians to assist deal with sick animals, based on the American Institute of Organic Sciences.
Artwork: Biologists who even have a background in artwork have each the technical information and creative ability to create visuals that may talk complicated organic data to all kinds of audiences. One instance of that is in medical illustration, through which an illustrator might carry out background analysis, collaborate with specialists, and observe a medical process to create an correct visible of a physique half, based on the Affiliation of Medical Illustrators.
In case you’re inquisitive about simply how wide-reaching biology is, The College of North Carolina at Pembroke has listed a lot of biology subdisciplines on their web site. All for a profession in biology? Take a look at some choices on the American Institute of Organic Sciences web site.
Lornande Loss Woodruff, “Historical past of Biology”, The Scientific Month-to-month, Quantity 12, March 1921, http://www.jstor.org/secure/6836.
P.N. Campbell, “Biology in Profile: A Information to the Many Branches of Biology”, Elsevier, October 2013.
The College of North Carolina at Pembroke, “Biology Sub-disciplines”, October 2010.
College of Minnesota Duluth, “What’s Biology?”, January 2022.
Eric J. Simon et al, “Campbell Important Biology”, Pearson Training, January 2018.