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Branches of Biology and

their meaning
Following are the various branches of biology:
Botany is the study of plants.
Zoology is the study of animals.
Anatomy is the study of the internal structures
of living things.
Biochemistry is the use of chemistry in the
study of living things.
Biological EarthScience is the use of earth
sciences, such as geography in the study of
living things.
Biological Psychology is the use of biology in
psychological studies.
Biomathematics is the use of mathematics in
the study of living things.
Biophysics is the use of physics in the study of
living things.
Ecology is the study of the relationships of
living things to each other and their
environment.
Pathology is the study of diseases, generally in
animals.
Phytopathology is the study of diseases in
plants.
Physiology is the study of normal functions of
living things.
Taxonomy is the classification and naming of
living things.
Genetics is the science of heredity and the
lifelong development of living things.
Embryology is the study of the formation and
development of living things from fertilization to
birth as independent organisms.
Pharmacology is the study of the actions of
chemicals on and in living things.
Endocrinology is the study of hormones and
their actions.
Cytology is the study of cells.
Histology is the study of tissues.

Protozoology is the study of onecelledorganisms.


Bacteriology is the study of bacteria.
Virology is the study of viruses.
Mammalogy is the study of mammals.
Ornithology is the study of birds.
Herpetology is the study of reptiles and
amphibians.
Ichthyology is the study of fishes.
Entomology is the study of insects.
Helminthology is the study of worms.
Microbiology is the study of microorganisms.
Mycology is the study of fungi.
Phycology is the study of algae.
Lichenology is the study of lichens.
Paleontology is the study of fossils.
Biogeography is the study of geographical
distribution of living things.
Phytogeography is the study of the land and
its plants.
Zoogeography is the study of the land and its
animals.

Difference between living and nonliving things


Living things vs. Non-living things

Living things and Non-living things are subjects


that one has to master. The basic of all sciences
relies on the student learning to differentiate
between the two. There are things that are obvious
to tell apart, however things that are living but are
hardly moving may get confusing at times.

Living things

Living things are things that are alive, as the word


implies. Alive could mean a couple of things:
breathing, growing, moving and reproducing.
However not all characteristics would automatically
determine if the object is living or not. Examples of
living things are: animals, plants, insects, bacteria
and of course, humans. All types of living things
needs energy to keep on existing, this is done
through several means or methods.
Non-living things
In the meantime non-living things are the exact
opposite of living things. They do not exhibit any
growth and they do not have a life of its own. They
do not eat, sleep, reproduce, and respond to any
forms of stimuli. There are non-living things
however that can grow in size. An example would
be icicles formed from rain and snow. They grow in
size however they are not living.
Difference
Things

between

Living

and

Non-living

Living things exhibit life while non-living things


does not. Living things grow, produce and move;
non-living things do not. Living things needs
energy and can even produce their own energy just
like the plants, while non-living things do not need
energy since they do not grow. Living things move,
even plants have movement even if it is limited.
Non-living things on the other hand does not move
unless influenced by another source. If living things
can grow, they most absolutely have
the capacity to die; non-living things do not die
because they are not alive to begin with.

It may be an easy subject to tackle however once


you delve into the specifics of each subject, you
will soon realize that there are characteristics that
makes distinguishing between the two very
difficult.

History of Biology
The word biology was first used about 1800. Before then the various
biological sciencessuch as zoology and anatomyhad been grouped
together with geology and called "natural history."
The history of biology is the history of many fields, including medicine,
botany, and zoology. The following is a brief account of some of the
developments that apply to biology as a whole. For more details, consult
the articles listed in the cross-references under the headings Specialties
and Related Fields and Some Noted Biologists.
Early Biology
The first knowledge of biology grew out of primitive hunters' observations of
animals and out of food-gathering and cultivation. Progress was slow,
however, because nature was often considered a goddess and disease an
evil spiritand few persons dared to tamper with either. This attitude still
exists among certain primitive peoples.
The earliest studies of biology were probably made by ancient physicians
and embalmers. People of ancient India, China, and the Middle East had a
vast knowledge of various medicinal plants. The Babylonians and
Egyptians had some knowledge of human anatomy. The first man known to
approach disease as a natural, rather than a supernatural, process was
Hippocrates of Cos (460?-377? B.C.), a Greek who became known as the
Father of Medicine.
The greatest student of biology in the ancient world was the Greek
philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C.). His writings include encyclopedialike
works on birth, death, the nature of life, and all phases of animal life. He
influenced scholars for nearly 2,000 years. Pliny the Elder (23-79 A.D.), a
Roman, compiled an interesting but inaccurate work on nature called
Natural History. This text was widely studied for 1,500 years. Galen (130?201? A.D.), a Greek living in Rome, studied anatomy by dissecting animals.
His works were used in medical schools throughout the Middle Ages.
Although many of the ideas of the ancient writers were at least partly
correct, many were also misleading or wrong. One of their mistaken ideas
that lasted well into modern times was that a living body is made up of four
juices, or humorsblood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. Another was
the theory of spontaneous generation, according to which certain living

things, such as maggots, came not from other living things but from
nonliving matter.
The Middle Ages
The Middle Ages saw hardly any contributions to biology in Europe. But the
works of the ancient Greeks and Romans were studied by the
Arabs.Scholars during the Middle Ages did not investigate nature firsthand,
but confined their study to ancient books. Not only were the original writers
often wrong, but bad translations caused even more errors. Virtually the
only careful studies of the physical characteristics of plants and animals
were those made for artistic purposes by craftsmen and artists. Some new
knowledge of plants resulted from the work of the herbalists, who collected
and studied herbs for use in medicine.
Later Advances
During the 14th to 17th centuries, there was a surge in the study of biology.
Traditional ideas formulated by ancient Greeks and Romans were
challenged. Observation and scientific study was emphasized. Scholars
again turned to actual observation of plants and animals as a means of
gaining information. The first really accurate textbooks on botany and
zoology were written in the early 14th century. Leonardo da Vinci, the great
Italian artist, dissected dead human bodies and made drawings of the
human anatomy. In the same period Andreas Vesalius (1514-64), a
Belgian, gave the first accurate and complete description of the human
body. He was one of the first scientists since ancient times to dissect a
human body.
The importance of experiment in the study of biology was shown by the
Englishman William Harvey (1578-1657). He proved his theory that blood
circulates in the veins and arteries by cutting into animals to show how it
happens. Another important step forward was the development of the
microscope in the early 17th century. Marcello Malphigi, the Italian
anatomist, used the microscope to study blood circulation. Robert Hooke
observed the structure of many organisms through the microscope and
reported his observations in Micrographia, published in 1665. Five years
later, Anton van Leeuwenhoek chanced upon organisms that could only be
seen through the microscope.
By the 18th century, biologists had come to the conclusion that life could be
explained in terms of biological processes that took place within the living
organism. They rejected the idea of supernatural or divine intervention in
biological processes. Their views formed part of materialistic physiology. In
the 18th century, Antoine Lavoisier demonstrated that respiration involved
the use of oxygen and the release of carbon dioxide and heat. Almost a
century later, Claude Bernard pointed out that animals and plants had
internal systems to ensure that conditions needed to maintain life were
available. One such mechanism was regulation of body temperature in
mammals.
The classification of organisms into groups began as early as Aristotle. But
a really logical system was not devised until the 18th century. Carolus
Linnaeus (1707-78) of Sweden refined earlier systems and developed the
method of classification that (with certain changes) is still used today. His
system provided a logical approach to the study of living things, and gave

biologists a uniform method of description. Orderly classification also made


it possible to see more clearly the relationships between various kinds of
life. Linnaeus had used the similarities in structures of plants and animals
to group them. This led to another field of biologycomparative anatomy.
Here, different plants and animals were compared for similarities and
differences. In the 18th century, Baron Cuvier proposed a system of
classification where organisms were classified based on their body type.
Biologists broadened their knowledge of nature through voyages of
exploration. The first important scientific expeditions were those
commanded by Captain James Cook in the 1760's and 1770's. Later
expeditions were made by the British ships Beagle (1831-36), on which
Charles Darwin was naturalist, and Challenger (1872-76).
Important developments were made in many fields during the 19th century
as biologists began to apply scientific methods to their work. Discoveries
were made not only about specific organisms, but also about the nature of
life in general. Early in the century it was discovered that all living things
are made up of cells. In Origin of Species (1859) Charles Darwin (1809-82)
gave evidence to show that complex forms of life generally evolve from
simpler forms by means of natural selection. In 1865 Gregor Mendel (182284), an Austrian abbot, presented his findings on the principles of heredity
the first scientific studies of the subject.
Biology Today
During the 20th century, more emphasis was placed on experimental
knowledge and less on theory. Systematically conducted experiments and
use of statistical tools helped biologists understand the various biological
processes. As biology became more scientific in its methods, it also
became more useful in its practical applications. The discovery by Louis
Pasteur (1882-95) of how infection is produced by bacteria, and the
development of penicillin and other wonder drugs, contributed greatly to
the control of disease.Genes have been shown to have a relationship with
the kind of antibody, or disease resisting protein, produced by the body.
This has helped treat deadly diseases like AIDS.
Gregor Mendel had found that physical traits are transmitted from
generation to generation through units from the parent to offspring. These
essential units, known as genes, are located on chromosomes within the
cells, as postulated by Thomas Hunt Morgan in 1910. In 1953, James
Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA that makes up
genes. This led to greater understanding of the mechanism of heredity and
the process of evolution.
Research in genetics led to many new breeds of plants and farm animals,
thus increasing the supply of food. Better understanding of the physical
structure and habits of simple forms of life made it possible to control many
types of harmful insects and other pests.
Pollution of air and water and increased use of land areas for housing and
commercial development have created survival problems for various kinds
of organisms. These problems have increased interest in ecology and
conservation. New tools to study the complex relationships between
organisms and their environment led to the development of ecology as a
separate field of biology in the 1960's. There is also great interest among

biologists in ethology, the study of animal behavior, especially aspects


related to survival.
Space exploration has intensified interest in the possibility of life existing
elsewhere in the universe. Scientists who study these possibilities, and who
attempt to devise methods of detecting extraterrestrial life, are called
exobiologists.
Advances in neurobiology, the study of the nervous system, has increased
our understanding of how the brain and nerve cells function. Immunology,
the study of the disease resistance mechanisms of the body, also benefited
from the new methods and tools used in biological studies.
In basic research, the study of life processes continues, particularly in
genetics and other areas of biochemistry. Since the 1950's, there has been
much research involving the composition and functions of nucleic acid
molecules. In the 1970's, the first successful experiments in genetic
engineering were made. Genetic engineering involves the transfer of genes
from one organism to another. This is very useful in agriculture and
medicine, where desirable traits of certain organisms can be transferred to
other organisms. Genetic engineering has raised concerns related to ethics
and the potential negative effects of genetically altered organisms on the
environment. This concern was particularly evident in 1996, when Ian
Wilmut created the world's first cloned animal, Dolly the sheep. In the
1990's, scientists determined the complete genetic codes of a number of
simple organisms, including certain types of bacteria. Gene sequencing, or
mapping of all the genes in the human body, was started in the form of the
Human Genome Project during the decade. Since the 1980's, advanced
medical imaging techniques have been used to study many biochemical
processes, including those involved in memory, language, drug addiction,
mental disorders, and aging.
The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) is a professional
federation of biological associations and industrial research laboratories. Its
objectives are to unify and coordinate the efforts of persons engaged in
biological research and teaching and to further the relationships of the
biological sciences to other sciences, the arts, and industry.

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