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Importance of Biology: How the Study of Life Affects

Ours. Biology is all about studying life and living organisms.


We're living organisms and we eat living organisms, so you
could probably guess that it has something to tell us about
what's going on all around and inside

What do biologists study?


What is Biology?
The short answer is that it's the study of all living things. In fact, the word
"biology" comes from the Greek words "bios" which means "life" and
"logos" which means "study." Biologists study the distribution, evolution,
function, growth, origin, structure, and taxonomy of species.
As you may have guessed, biology is an enormous branch of science. It's
so broad that there are entire branches of science within biology. Fields like
genetics, agriculture, ecology, virology, and even paleontology are all a part
of biology!

Why Is Biology Important?


Biology tells us about humans, plants, animals, cells, and really the entire
world around us! Without biology, we wouldn't have treatments, cures, and
vaccines for many diseases. Because of advancements in this field, we're
living life much more comfortably than people hundreds of years ago did.
Biology continues to grow and make huge advancements, so people
hundreds of years from now can look back on us and think, "how horrible it
must have been to live like that!"

Biology even studies how we interact with the non-living world around us.
With ecology, we're constantly learning how animals use various materials
around them and even how they adapt to a changing environment

Characteristics of Life
Every fall for the past dozen years I have begun my biology class in much
the same way---with a question. How do you know if something is alive?
Now this may seem like a straightforward question, but based on student
responses it isn't nearly that easy to answer. Students often tell me that
something is alive if it moves, or breathes, or thinks. Well, these responses
are largely all wrong. However, despite the disappointment shown on
aspiring biology students' faces when they realize they can't yet distinguish
between living and nonliving, there is hope. Fortunately biologists have
developed a list of 8 characteristics shared by all living organisms.
Characteristics are traits or qualities. Here is the list of characteristics
shared by living things:
1. Cellular Organization
2. Reproduction
3. Metabolism
4. Homeostasis5. Heredity-

the transmission of genetic characters from parents to offspri


ng: it isdependent upon the segregation and recombination o
f genes duringmeiosis and fertilization and results in the gene

sis of a new individualsimilar to others of its kind but exhibiti


ng certain variations resultingfrom the particular mix of gene
s and their interactions with theenvironment.
6. Response to Stimuli
7. Growth and Development
8. Adaptation through Evolution
Now let's take a moment and elaborate on each of these characteristics.

Characteristics of Life Defined


The first characteristic of life we listed was cellular organization. This
simply means that living things are made of cells. Cells are the most basic
unit of life. It doesn't matter if those cells are plants, animals, fungi, or
bacteria. If something is going to be alive it must be made of cells.
Second is reproduction. If something is alive it must be capable of
reproducing. Multicellular life forms such as humans reproduce sexually,
while unicellular life forms like bacteria reproduce asexually. The important
thing to remember is that in either case, living things reproduce.
Next we come to our third characteristic, metabolism. This concept is a little
difficult for some students to grasp. Metabolism is essentially a collection

of chemical reactions occurring within the body (or cell). These reactions
vary in form and function, but promote processes such as protein synthesis,
chemical digestion, cell division, or energy transformation. Because
metabolism includes reactions that link to other characteristics it is
sometimes grouped with those other characteristics. However, for our
purposes we'll keep metabolism separate.
Homeostasis is a key concept in understanding how our body works. It
means keeping things constant and comes from two Greek words: 'homeo,'
meaning 'similar,' and 'stasis,' meaning 'stable.' A more formal definition of
homeostasis is a characteristic of a system that regulates its internal
environment and tends to maintain a stable, relatively constant condition of
properties.
Homeostasis is happening constantly in our bodies. We eat, sweat, drink,
dance, eat some more, have salty fries, and yet our body composition
remains almost the same. If someone were to draw your blood on ten
different days of a month, the level of glucose, sodium, red blood cells and
other blood components would be pretty much constant, regardless of your
behavior (assuming fasting before drawing blood, of course).
No matter how much water you drink, your body doesn't swell up like a
balloon if you drink tons, and it doesn't shrivel like a raisin if you drink very
little. Have you ever wondered about this? Somehow, our bodies know how
much fluid we need to keep, and then maintain a constant level regardless
of how much water we drink.
This maintenance of body size is an example of homeostasis. And we don't
even have to think about it for this to happen! Aren't our bodies amazing?

Biological Tools and its function


1. Magnifying Glass - it is used to produce a magnified image of an object
2. Petri Dish - it is used for holding a culture medium upon which cells,
bacteria and viruses can be grown and studied
3. cover slip - it is a protector that goes over tissues with mounting media,
this keeps the tissue on the slide from degrading
4. thermometer - it is used for measuring temperature or temperature
gradient using a variety of different principles
5. test tube - it is used by chemists to hold, mix or heat small quantities of
solid or liquid chemicals, especially for qualitative and experiment and
essays
6. microscope - it is used for viewing objects that are too small to be seen
by the naked eyes
7. funnel - it is used to channel liquid or fine-grained substances into
containers with a small opening
8. dissecting pan - it is a pan where you dissect organisms so the organs
or fluid wont spread away.
9. glass slide - it is used to place an item on and put it under a microscope
to view
10. medicine dropper - it is used to measure small amount of liquids
usually in milligrams
11. dissecting scissors - it is used for slicing a specimen during
dissection
12. forceps - it is used for grasping, manipulating or extracting, especially
such an instrument used by a surgeon

13. scalpel - it is a fixed blade used in surgery and dissection


14. beaker - it is used as a laboratory container and mixing jar
15. test tube rack - it is used to hold the test tube so the
solution/substance in it wont spread away
16. dissecting pin - it is used to hold open the specimen that you're
dissecting
17. meter stick - its a stick that is 100 centimeters long, roughly 39 inches.
Generally used to measure distance.
18. Bunsen burner - it is commonly used in scientific laboratories,
consisting essentially of a hollow tube which is fitted vertically around the
flame and which has an opening at the base to admit air.
19. graduated cylinder - is a piece of laboratory equipment used to
accurately measure out volumes of objects for use in labs.
20. triple-bean balance - it is used to find the mass of an object
21. safety goggles - it is used as protection of eye from dust, flying debris,
chemical splashes, etc.
22. pipette - A piece of laboratory glassware, shaped like a thin tube with a
bulge in the middle, that allows better accuracy when measuring certain
volumes (hence the range of sizes) e.g. when making solutions or samples
for titration.
23. probe - its a slender surgical instrument for exploring the depth or
direction of a wound, sinus, or the like.
24. safety mask - its a mask used when doing experiment, dissection or
surgery to protect us from poisonous gasses, viruses and dusts.

Levels of Organization
In unicellular (single-celled) organisms, the single cell performs all
life functions. It functions independently. However, multicellular
(many celled) organisms have various levels of organization within
them. Individual cells may perform specific functions and also work
together for the good of the entire organism. The cells become
dependent on one another.
Multicellular organisms have the following 5 levels of organization ranging from
simplest to most complex:

LEVEL 1 - Cells

Are the basic unit of structure and function in living things.

May serve a specific function within the organism

Examples- blood cells, nerve cells, bone cells, etc.

LEVEL 2 - Tissues

Made up of cells that are similar in structure and function and which
work together to perform a specific activity

Examples - blood, nervous, bone, etc. Humans have 4 basic tissues:


connective, epithelial, muscle, and nerve.

LEVEL 3 - Organs

Made up of tissues that work together to perform a specific activity

Examples - heart, brain, skin, etc.

LEVEL4 - Organ Systems

Groups of two or more tissues that work together to perform a specific


function for the organism.

Examples - circulatory system, nervous system, skeletal system, etc.

The Human body has 11 organ systems - circulatory, digestive,


endocrine, excretory (urinary), immune(lymphatic), integumentary,
muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, and skeletal.

LEVEL 5 - Organisms

Entire living things that can carry out all basic life processes. Meaning
they can take in materials, release energy from food, release wastes,
grow, respond to the environment, and reproduce.

Usually made up of organ systems, but an organism may be made up


of only one cell such as bacteria or protist.

Examples - bacteria, amoeba, mushroom, sunflower, human

The levels of organization in the correct order then are:


cells --> tissues --> organs --> organ systems --> organisms