that studies living
life of a
is something biological,
involving biology. Ology
is an informal
word (abstracted from words with this ending) for some unidentified branch
is the study of microscopic
, those being unicellular (single
cell), multicellular (cell colony), or acellular (lacking cells).
Microbiology encompasses numerous sub-disciplines including
parasitology, and bacteriology.
is a biological scientist
who studies microscopic
life forms and processes or works in the field of
microbiology. Microbiologists investigate the growth, interactions and
characteristics of microscopic
, and some types of parasites and their vectors. They contribute much
to the field by trying to understand and learn about the
between these microbes
and the environment
and also among themselves and other organisms.
is a branch of
biochemistry, and biophysics concerned with the
biological macromolecules, especially proteins and nucleic acids, how they
acquire the structures they have, and how alterations in their
their function. This subject is of great interest to biologists because
macromolecules carry out most of the functions of cells, and only by
coiling into specific three-dimensional shapes
that they are able to
perform these functions. This architecture, the "tertiary structure" of
molecules, depends in a complicated way on the
composition, or "primary structures."
is the reason some object or process occurred in a
system that evolved through natural
. That reason is typically that it achieves some result, such
as that chlorophyll helps to capture the energy of sunlight in
photosynthesis. Hence, the organism that contains it is more likely to
survive and reproduce, in other words the
increases the organism's fitness. A characteristic that
assists in evolution is called an
characteristics may be non-functional
spandrels, though these in turn
may later be co-opted by evolution to serve new functions. In the
philosophy of biology, talk of function
inevitably suggests some kind of teleological purpose, even though natural
selection operates without any goal for the future. All the same,
biologists often use teleological language as a shorthand for function.
aims at the mathematical
representation, treatment and modeling of biological processes, using
techniques and tools of applied mathematics
involves the development and
application of data-analytical and theoretical methods, mathematical
modeling and computational simulation techniques to the study of
biological, behavioral, and social systems.
uses natural variation and disparity to understand
the patterns of life at all levels—from genes to communities—and the
critical role of organisms in ecosystems. Comparative biology is a
cross-lineage approach to understanding the phylogenetic history of
individuals or higher taxa and the mechanisms and patterns that drives it.
Comparative biology encompasses Evolutionary Biology
, Systematics, Neontology,
, Ethology, Anthropology, and Biogeography as well
as historical approaches to Developmental biology,
and many other areas of the biological sciences. The comparative
approach also has numerous applications in human health, genetics,
biomedicine, and conservation biology. The biological relationships
(phylogenies, pedigree) are important for comparative analyses and usually
represented by a phylogenetic tree or cladogram to differentiate those
features with single origins (Homology) from those with multiple origins (Homoplasy).
is any substance – such as an
molecule, or phenomenon – that provides scientific evidence of past or
present life. Measurable attributes of life include its complex physical
and chemical structures and also its utilization of free energy and the
production of biomass and wastes. Due to its unique characteristics, a biosignature can be interpreted as having been produced by living
organisms; however, it is important that they not be considered definitive
because there is no way of knowing in advance which ones are universal to
life and which ones are unique to the peculiar circumstances of life on
Earth. Nonetheless, life forms are known to shed unique chemicals,
, into the environment as evidence of their presence in a
is the study of the process by which animals and
grow and develop. Developmental biology also encompasses the
biology of regeneration, asexual reproduction and metamorphosis and in the
growth and differentiation of stem cells
in the adult organism.
is the biological process that causes an
organism to develop its shape. It is one of three fundamental aspects of
developmental biology along with the control of cell growth and
differentiation, unified in evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo).The
process controls the organized spatial distribution of cells during the
embryonic development of an organism. Morphogenesis can take place also in
a mature organism, in cell culture or inside tumor cell masses.
Morphogenesis also describes the development of unicellular life forms
that do not have an embryonic stage in their life cycle, or describes the
evolution of a body structure within a taxonomic group. Morphogenetic
responses may be induced in organisms by
, by environmental
chemicals ranging from substances produced by other organisms to
radionuclides released as pollutants, and other plants, or by mechanical
stresses induced by spatial patterning of the cells. (beginning of the
Biological Life Cycle
is a series of changes in form that an
organism undergoes, returning to the starting state. The concept is
closely related to those of the
, development and ontogeny, but differs from them in
stressing renewal. Transitions of form may involve growth, asexual
reproduction, and/or sexual reproduction.
(cause and effect)
is the scientific study of normal mechanisms, and their
which works within a living system. A sub-discipline of biology, its focus
is in how organisms, organ systems
biomolecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a
living system. Given the size of the field, it is divided into, among
others, animal physiology (including that of humans), plant physiology,
and viral physiology. Central to an understanding of physiological
functioning is its integrated nature with other disciplines such as
chemistry and physics, coordinated homeostatic control mechanisms, and
continuous communication between cells.
is a complex network of biologically
relevant entities. As biological organization spans several scales,
examples of biological systems are populations of
, or on the
organ- and tissue scale in mammals and other animals, the circulatory
system, the respiratory system, the nervous system, etc. On the micro to
the nanoscopic scale
, examples of
biological systems are cells, organelles, macromolecular complexes and
regulatory pathways. A biological system is not to be confused with a
living system, which is commonly referred to as life. For further
information see e.g. definition of life or synthetic biology.
used in the
classification of organisms
and recognized by the nomenclature codes.
Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family,
genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family. An
immediately higher rank, superorder, may be added directly above order,
while suborder would be a lower rank. A taxonomic unit, a taxon, in that
rank. In that case the plural is orders (Latin ordines). Example: The
Juglans (walnut) and Hickory trees belong to the family Juglandaceae (or
walnut family), which is placed in the order Fagales.
is a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks in
descending order of size are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, order, family,
genus, and species, with class fitting between phylum and order. As for
the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower
rank, indicated by the prefix sub-: subclass (Latin: subclassis). A
taxonomic unit, a taxon, in that rank. In that case the plural is classes
(Latin classes). Example: Dogs are in the class Mammalia.
a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and
fossil organisms in biology. In the hierarchy of biological
classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial
nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species
name for each species within the genus.
an organism that thrives in physically or geochemically extreme conditions
that are detrimental to most life on Earth. In contrast, organisms that
live in more moderate environments may be termed
(also known as seasonal polyphenism) is the name given to the occurrence
of cyclic or seasonal
changes in the phenotype of an organism through successive generations. It
occurs in small aquatic invertebrates that reproduce by
and give rise to several generations annually. It
occurs especially in marine planktonic animals, and is thought to be
caused by the interaction of environmental cues with the organism's genes,
thereby altering the course of their development.
are water-dwelling, eight-legged, segmented micro-animals,
are one of the most resilient animals known. They have been found
everywhere: from mountaintops to the deep sea and mud volcanoes; from
tropical rain forests to the Antarctic. Individual species of tardigrades
can survive extreme conditions that would be rapidly fatal to nearly all
other known life forms, including complete global mass extinction events
due to astrophysical events, such as supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, large
asteroid impacts, or passing-by stars. Some tardigrades can withstand
down to 1 K (−458
°F; −272 °C) (close to absolute zero) while others can withstand 420 K
(300 °F; 150 °C) for several minutes, pressures about six times greater
than those found in the deepest ocean trenches, ionizing radiation at
doses hundreds of times higher than the lethal dose for a human, and the
space. They can go without food or water for more than 30 years
out to the point where they are 3% or less water, only to rehydrate,
forage, and reproduce. Tardigrades, living in harsh conditions, undergo an
annual process of cyclomorphosis. They are not considered extremophilic
because they are not adapted to exploit these conditions. This means that
their chances of dying increase the longer they are exposed to the extreme
environments, whereas true extremophiles thrive in a physically or
geochemically extreme environment that would harm most other organisms.
Usually, tardigrades are about 0.5 mm (0.02 in) long when they are fully
grown. They are short and plump with four pairs of legs, each with four to
eight claws also known as "disks". The first three pairs of legs are
directed ventrolaterally and are the primary means of locomotion, while
the fourth pair is directed posteriorly on the terminal segment of the
trunk and is used primarily for grasping the substrate. Tardigrades are
prevalent in mosses and lichens and feed on plant cells, algae, and small
invertebrates. When collected, they may be viewed under a very low-power
microscope, making them accessible to students and amateur scientists.
Tardigrades form the
Tardigrada, part of the superphylum
. It is an ancient group, with fossils dating from 530
million years ago, in the Cambrian period
. About 1,150 species of
tardigrades have been described. Tardigrades can be found throughout the
world, from the Himalayas (above 6,000 m (20,000 ft)), to the deep sea
(below 4,000 m (13,000 ft)) and from the polar regions to the equator.
Tardigrades are the toughest, most resilient form of life on earth, able
to survive for up to 30 years without food or water, and endure
temperature extremes of up to 150 degrees Celsius, the deep sea and even
the frozen vacuum of space. The water-dwelling micro animal can live for
up to 60 years, and grow to a maximum size of 0.5mm, best seen under a
belonging to the subclass Acari (also known as Acarina) and
the class Arachnida
. The scientific discipline devoted to the study of
ticks and mites is called
. Many species live in soil as
decomposers; others are predatory or parasitic, these last including the
commercially important Varroa mites of honeybees, and the
are animals that neither possess nor develop a vertebral column (commonly
known as a backbone or spine).
Escarpia laminata Tubeworm
is the Longest Living Animal, can live for
at least 300 years.Biomonitoring
is a scientific discipline spanning
the fields of
, biology, and
. It involves the application
of chemical techniques, tools, and analyses, and often
through synthetic chemistry
, to the study and manipulation of biological
systems. Chemical biologists attempt to use chemical principles to
modulate systems to either investigate the underlying biology or create
List of Life
involve the scientific study of living organisms – such as
microorganisms, plants, animals, and human beings – as well as related
considerations like bioethics. While biology remains the centerpiece of
the life sciences, technological advances in molecular biology and
biotechnology have led to a burgeoning of specializations and
interdisciplinary fields. Bio-Chemistry
is the application of
engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology for
healthcare purposes (e.g. diagnostic or therapeutic). This field seeks to
close the gap between engineering and medicine, combining the design and
problem solving skills of engineering
medical and biological sciences to advance health care treatment,
including diagnosis, monitoring, and therapy.
National Institute of
Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
is the use of living systems and organisms to develop or
make products, or "any technological application that uses biological
systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify
products or processes for specific use" (UN Convention on Biological
Diversity, Art. 2). Depending on the tools and applications, it often
overlaps with the (related) fields of bioengineering, biomedical
engineering, biomanufacturing, molecular engineering, etc.
is the application of concepts and methods of
biology (and secondarily of physics, chemistry
mathematics, and computer science) to solve real-world problems related to
life sciences or the application thereof, using engineering's own
analytical and synthetic methodologies and also its traditional
sensitivity to the cost and practicality of the solution(s) arrived at.
is a type of manufacturing or biotechnology that
utilizes biological systems to produce commercially important biomaterials
for use in
medicines, food and beverage processing, and industrial applications.
Biomanufacturing products are recovered from natural sources, such as
blood, or from cultures of
, animal cells, or plant cells grown in
specialized equipment. The cells
used during the production may have been
naturally occurring or derived using genetic engineering techniques.
is the study of the structure and
function of biological systems such as humans,
, plants, organs,
, and cells by means of the methods of mechanics.
refers to any manufactured or engineered device or system
that supports a biologically active environment. In one case, a bioreactor
is a vessel in which a chemical process is carried out which involves
organisms or biochemically active substances derived from such organisms.
This process can either be aerobic or anaerobic. These bioreactors are
commonly cylindrical, ranging in size from litres to cubic metres, and are
often made of stainless steel.
is an interdisciplinary field
methods and software tools for understanding biological data.
mobile science lab biofuel-powered 1974 transit bus with over
$100,000 of microscopes) and the BioBase research grade
community science lab give 30,000 students annually the chance
to feel the excitement of making a scientific discovery.
are artificial, simplified ecosystems that are used to simulate and
predict the behaviour of natural ecosystems under controlled conditions.
Open or closed microcosms provide an experimental area for ecologists to
study natural ecological processes. Microcosm studies can be very useful
to study the effects of disturbance or to determine the ecological role of
Controlled Ecological Life Support System
self-supporting life support system for space stations and colonies
typically through controlled closed ecological systems, such as the
BioHome, BIOS-3, Biosphere 2, Mars Desert Research Station, and Yuegong-1.
is the application of cybernetics to biological science, composed of
biological disciplines that benefit from the application of cybernetics
including neurology and multicellular systems. Biocybernetics plays a
major role in systems biology, seeking to integrate different levels of
information to understand how biological systems function. Biocybernetics
is an abstract science and is a fundamental part of theoretical biology,
based upon the principles of systemics.
are designed materials that have one or more
properties that can be significantly changed in a controlled fashion by
external stimuli, such as stress, temperature, moisture, pH, electric or
refers to metrics related to human
characteristics. Biometrics authentication (or realistic authentication)
is used in computer science as a form of identification and access
control. It is also used to identify individuals in groups that are under
Films about Biology
Doris Kim Sung: BioMetals that Breath
Paul Root Wolpe: Questioning Bio-Engineering
Biology 4 Kids
Encyclopedia of Life
Do It Yourself Science
conducted, in whole
or in part, by anyone, including
or volunteer scientists
. Citizen science is
sometimes described as "public participation
in scientific research,"
participatory monitoring and participatory action research. (also known as
, crowd-sourced science,
activity of exploiting genetic material experimentally,
free from standard norms and limited expectations, for either purposes
benefitting humankind, or those of a criminal nature.
is the movement to make scientific research, data and
dissemination accessible to all levels of an inquiring society, amateur or
professional. It encompasses practices such as publishing
campaigning for open access, encouraging scientists to practice open
notebook science, and generally making it easier to publish and
communicate scientific knowledge.
Emerald Cloud Laboratory
web-based life sciences lab, developed by scientists for scientists.
is a set of preventive measures designed to
reduce the risk
of transmission of infectious
in crops and
livestock, quarantined pests, invasive alien species, and living modified
organisms (Koblentz, 2010). The emerging nature of biosecurity threats
means that small scale risks blow up rapidly, thus an effective policy
becomes a challenge for there are limitations on time and resources
available for analyzing
threats and estimating the likelihood of their
is a set of biocontainment precautions
required to isolate dangerous biological agents in an enclosed laboratory
facility. The levels of containment range from the lowest biosafety level
1 (BSL-1) to the highest at level 4 (BSL-4). In the United States, the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have specified these
is the study of the typically controversial
ethical issues emerging from new situations and possibilities brought
about by advances in biology and medicine. It is also moral discernment as
it relates to medical policy and practice. Bioethicists are concerned with
the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among
biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philosophy. It also includes
the study of the more commonplace questions of values ("the ethics of the
ordinary") which arise in primary care and other branches of medicine.
is a platform for experimental computation + design and has grown into a
multidisciplinary research based practice. SJET crosses disciplines from
design, fabrication, computer science
is a cross-disciplinary research lab at MIT
inventing self-assembly and programmable material
technologies aimed at
reimagining construction, manufacturing
, product assembly and performance.
Maker Work Shops
Philosophy of Biology
is a subfield of philosophy of science, which deals with epistemological,
metaphysical, and ethical issues in the biological and biomedical
Biological Innovation Society
is an international initiative
to foster innovation and freedom to operate in the biological sciences.
is a subgenre of science fiction that focuses on
biotechnology. It is derived from cyberpunk, but focuses on the
implications of biotechnology rather than information technology. Biopunk
is concerned with synthetic biology. It is derived of cyberpunk involving
bio-hackers, biotech mega-corporations, and oppressive government agencies
that manipulate human DNA
. Most often
keeping with the dark atmosphere of cyberpunk, biopunk generally examines
the dark side of genetic engineering and represents the low side of
is a stance of active support for the
convergence of technological change and social change. Techno-progressives
argue that technological developments can be profoundly empowering and
emancipatory when they are regulated by legitimate democratic and
accountable authorities to ensure that their costs, risks and benefits are
all fairly shared by the actual stakeholders to those developments.
is the artificial design and engineering of biological systems
and living organisms for purposes of improving applications for industry
or biological research. Designing and constructing biological modules,
biological systems, and biological machines for useful purposes. Combines
various disciplines from within these domains, such as biotechnology,
evolutionary biology, genetic engineering, molecular biology, molecular
engineering, systems biology, biophysics, and computer engineering.
Salk Institute for
open-access journal that publishes promising research in
the life and biomedical sciences.
Joint Bio-Energy Institute
is a research institute funded by the United States Department of Energy.
Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory
Related Subject Pages
is the imitation of the models, systems,
and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems.
is the use of living systems and organisms to develop or make
products, or "any technological application that uses biological systems,
living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or
processes for specific use" (UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Art.
2). Depending on the tools and applications, it often overlaps with the
(related) fields of bioengineering, biomedical engineering,
biomanufacturing, molecular engineering, etc.
Innovations in Biotechnology
is any substance that has been
engineered to interact with biological systems for a medical purpose -
either a therapeutic (treat, augment, repair or replace a tissue function
of the body) or a diagnostic one.
is a material intentionally made from
substances derived from living (or once-living) organisms.
is a material engineered to have a
property that is not found in nature. They are made from assemblies of
multiple elements fashioned from composite materials such as metals or
plastics. The materials are usually arranged in repeating patterns, at
scales that are smaller than the wavelengths of the phenomena they
influence. Metamaterials derive their properties not from the properties
of the base materials, but from their newly designed structures. Their
precise shape, geometry, size, orientation and arrangement gives them
their smart properties capable of manipulating electromagnetic waves: by
blocking, absorbing, enhancing, or bending waves, to achieve benefits that
go beyond what is possible with conventional materials.
is a multi-step, enzyme-catalyzed
process where substrates are converted into more complex products in
living organisms. In biosynthesis, simple compounds are modified,
converted into other compounds, or joined together to form macromolecules.
This process often consists of metabolic pathways. Some of these
biosynthetic pathways are located within a single cellular organelle,
while others involve enzymes that are located within multiple cellular
organelles. Examples of these biosynthetic pathways include the production
of lipid membrane components and nucleotides.
refers to the ability of a material to perform with an appropriate host
response in a specific situation.
is any substance that has been engineered to interact with biological
systems for a medical purpose - either a therapeutic (treat, augment,
repair or replace a tissue function of the body) or a diagnostic one.
is a similarity of one organism, usually an
animal, to another that has evolved because the resemblance is selectively
favoured by the behaviour of a shared signal receiver that can respond to
both. Mimicry may evolve between different species, or between individuals
of the same species. Often, mimicry evolves to protect a species from
predators, making it an antipredator adaptation. The resemblances that
evolve in mimicry can be in appearance, behaviour, sound or scent. Mimicry
may be to the advantage of both organisms that share a resemblance, in
which case it is a mutualism, or mimicry can be to the detriment of one,
making it parasitic or competitive.
Lawrence Hall of Science
is an American biotechnologist,
biochemist, geneticist, and entrepreneur. He is known for being one of the
first to sequence the human genome.
Nervous System Generative Design Studio
is form of ecological sewage
treatment designed to mimic the cleansing functions of wetlands. Similar
to Solar Aquatics Systems, the latest generation of the technology is
based on fixed-film ecology and the ecological processes of a natural
tidal wetland, one of nature’s most productive ecosystems. The diversity
of the ecosystem produced with this approach allows operational advantages
over earlier generations of Living Machines and over conventional waste
water treatment technologies.
Floating wetlands Water Treatment
are natural polymeric materials that act
as adhesives. The term is sometimes used more loosely to describe a glue
formed synthetically from biological monomers such as sugars, or to mean a
synthetic material designed to adhere to biological tissue.
Mussel Adhesive Proteins
Strongest Artificial Spider Silk Synthesized with Cellulose from Wood
Green method developed for making artificial spider silk ‘spun’ from a
material that is 98% water
Nature's Toughest Substances Decoded
. Natural composites of nanoscale
arrangements of hard platelets connected by soft matrix materials and
arranged in overlapping brick-and-mortar, bouligand or other
architectures. Engineers develop computer maps to help design shell-like
platelet-matrix composites synthetic multifunctional layered composites.
- Green Building
Films about Biomimicry
Fiorenzo Omenetto: Silk
Angela Belcher Bio Batteries
Janine Benyus: Biomimicry in Action
Michael Pawlyn: Using Nature's Genius
Neri Oxman: Design at the intersection of technology and biology
(video and text)
Fashion has a Pollution Problem — can Biology fix it?
(video and text)
is a long-chain polymer of an N-acetylglucosamine, a
derivative of glucose, and is found in many places throughout the natural
world. It is a characteristic component of the cell walls of
, the exoskeletons of arthropods
such as crustaceans (e.g., crabs, lobsters and shrimps) and insects, the
radulae of molluscs, and the beaks and internal shells of cephalopods,
including squid and octopuses and on the scales and other soft tissues of
fish and lissamphibians. The structure of chitin is comparable to the
polysaccharide cellulose, forming crystalline nanofibrils or whiskers. In
terms of function, it may be compared to the protein keratin. Chitin has
proved versatile for several medicinal, industrial and biotechnological
is a replacement for plastics that is 100 percent
Building Material made from artificial Bone and Eggshell
caused by air travel are significant, "far more are caused by the
production of concrete and steel. Bone is made of roughly half protein and
half minerals: the former gives it structural
stiffness and hardness,
while the latted gives it toughness and resistance to damage. There's also
the bonus that bones are able to heal themselves from light damage.
New kind of local food grows in your own kitchen:
VTT’s CellPod is a
home appliance that grows the ingredients for a healthy meal within a week
from plant cells is no longer science fiction.
semi-synthetic organism that stores and retrieves increased genetic
Unnatural amino acid incorporation in E. coli: current and future
applications in the design of therapeutic proteins
Living Planet Database
American Society of Plant
Genetically Modified Bacteria
Earth may be home to one trillion species
. Largest-ever analysis of
reveals an ecological law concluding 99.999 percent of species remain
is a property of an ensemble of units that share
physical substrate and which, in the presence of noise, manages to keep its
significantly lower than the maximal
of the ensemble, on timescales
"Natural" timescale of the decay
of the (information-bearing)
substrate by many orders of magnitude".
, Introduction to
Entropy and Life