The scientific discipline of biology is concerned with the study of life and living matter in all their forms and all phenomena related to living organisms, like their physical structure, chemical composition, development, evolution, and function. There are various branches of the biological science. This is defined by the scale at which life is being studied, the methods used to study and the organisms being studied.
There are various kingdoms of organisms – plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, viruses etc. Each kingdom has its own branch of science devoted to the study and cultivation of knowledge pertaining to that kingdom. Other disciplines study the interactions between these kingdoms and the relationship between these disciplines with other disciplines of science.
Thus, Botany is concerned with the study of plants. Zoology studies animals. Bacteriology studies bacteria, virology studies viruses. Mycology is the study of fungi. Parasitology is the study of those organisms which depend on other organisms for their survival.
Macrobiology studies large plants and animals. Microbiology studies organisms which are seen under the microscope and are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Cell biology studies cells. Biochemistry studies the chemical structures and processes occurring in organisms. Histology studies the structure of cells and tissues. Molecular biology studies the molecular composition of organisms. Haematology is the study of blood and blood-forming organs.
Anatomy is a study of internal body parts of organisms. Physiology studies the functions and life processes of various organisms. Morphology is the study of form. Neurobiology is the study of nerves. Endocrinology is the study of the hormones and the glands secreting them. Stomatology is the study of the oral cavity. Reproductive biology concerns itself with reproduction. Developmental biology studies how organisms develop. Cognitive biology is the study of cognition.
Entomology is the study of insects. Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles, their habitats, their life cycles etc. Ichthyology is the study of fishes like cartilaginous fishes, bony fishes etc. Ornithology concerns itself with the study of birds – their life cycles, their habitats etc. Mammalogy is the study of mammals. Primatology is the study of primates like apes and man. Evolutionary biology concerns itself with unravelling and understanding evolution. Vertebrate zoology studies animals possessing a vertebra, while those who do not have one are studied by invertebrate zoology. Ethology is the study of animal behavior. Cryobiology is the study of life at extremely low temperatures. Genetics is the study of genes. /epigenetics is the study of the conditions influencing heredity and expression of characters other than the DNA coded information. Biogeography is the study of the distribution of organisms geographically. Botanical taxonomy is concerned with classification and nomenclature of the plant kingdom.
Bioengineering is the science of modifying genetic material. Biophysics applies the principles of physics to understand how they operate within biosystems. Chemical biology uses the principles of chemistry to influence biologic processes. Bioinformatics helps us in understanding molecular biology by using information technology, computers, and statistics. Biotechnology helps us in the production of newer products using biologic organisms with particular aims in problem-solving. Biomechanics is the study of the mechanics of living beings. Astrobiology is concerned with the effects of outer space on biologic organisms and also extraterrestrial life. Conservation biology deals with protection of ecological systems, natural flora, and fauna etc. Nanobiology is the science of study nanotechnology effects on biological systems. Pathology is the study of disease. Psychobiology deals with the biologic bases of psychology. Radiobiology studies action of ionic radiation on organisms. Sociobiology studies the biologic bases of sociology. Systems biology studies complex biologic phenomena through a holistic systems approach. Theoretical biology employs mathematical models and abstractions o explain biologic phenomena.
Biological Science owes its existence in its present vast form due to certain breakthroughs which were revolutionary in their times even if we take them for granted now. Some of these are:
- Cell theory – The cell is the building block of life. Every living organism is made of cells, and that cells beget like cells in order to reproduce by the process of cell
- The theory of Evolution – This holds that all life on earth has descended from a common gene pool which may have belonged to a common ancestor. Evolution, as postulated by Darwin, states that the survival of the species is dependant on the forces of natural selection and thus life develops and changes over time under such influences.
- Genetics – A gene is a certain sequence of the DNA molecule which contains information about protein synthesis which is how living organisms are built from lifeless molecules and compounds.
- Homeostasis – this is the ability of the organism to maintain a stable internal environment by multiple mechanisms of regulation.
- Energy – Organisms need the constant supply of energy for their survival and well being.
Thus, the vast discipline of biology is constantly undergoing changes and more and more expertise is not only being added but also leading to specialized output and generation of incredibly sophisticated knowledge.
This was our article on Biological Science.