biology designates the natural science, which is concerned with organisms, with the organization and development of its individuals as well as their interaction among themselves and with their environment. It is the “science of alive nature”. The word “biology” exposes itselfthe old-Greek words βiοs (bios) = the life and λoγοs (logos) = the teachings together.

Biology is an extremely comprehensive science, which can be divided into many fields of activity. The view levels are enough from molecular structures over Organellen, cells, cell federations, Fabrics and organs to complex organisms. In larger connections the behavior of individual organisms as well as their interaction with others and their environment are examined.

In biology there are generally accepted principles, which are to be found everywhere in nature: Universality, Evolution, diversity, continuity, homeostasis and interaction.

Thick head fly on a bloom

table of contents


major items: History of biology

the science of the life became already 600 v.Chr. from Thales of Milet, that develops at that timeamong other things it believed that the life comes from the water. From the antique one in the Middle Ages biology was based mainly on observations of nature. Into the interpretation frequently things flowed like Kraft of the elements or different mirror-image-ritual beginnings.

Only with beginning of the scientific revolution one began to solve from the supernatural one to and described themselves pure facts. In 16. Century and in 17. Century extended the knowledge over anatomy by the resumption of sections and new inventions, howthe microscope, enormously. The development of chemistry brought also in biology progress. Experiments, which led to the discovery of molecular life procedures like the fermentation and photosynthesis, became possible.

In 19. Century the foundation-stones for two large new branches becamebiology put:Gregor Mendels work on plant crossings justified the leaving teachings and later genetics, and works of Jean Baptiste de Lamarck, Charles Darwin and Alfred trunk Wallace described the evolution theory.

With the advancement of the research methods biology penetratedinto ever smaller dimensions forwards. In 20. Century come the subsections physiology and molecular biology to the development. Fundamental structures like the DNA, enzymes, diaphragm systems and the entire machinery of the cell can on atomic level visibly made and in their function more exactlyare examined.

Since the end 20. Century takes biology apart from observing and describing new paths. With the help of the genetic engineering it leaves its passive point of view and begins nature to change. Mankind has by the realizations thatBiology a new possibility found of adapting the environment to the own needs.

Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin

of milestones of biology

  • 600 v.Chr. Thales of Milet - the first theory sets to the emergence of the life to
  • 350 v.Chr. Aristoteles - various writings to the Zoologie
  • 50-70 v.Chr. Plinius - the 37-bändige Historia Naturalis publishes 1665 Hooke - description
  • of cells in cork fabrics to the Botanik and Zoologie
  • 1683 van Leeuwenhoek - discovers bacteria, single-celled organisms and blood cells by microscopy
  • 1758 Linné - develops to today valid Taxonomy in the animal and Pflanzenreich
  • 1839 Schwann and Schleiden - founders of the cell theory
  • 1858 Darwin and Wallace - independently the evolution theory 1866
  • Mendel - work over attempts with plant hybrids justifies the genetics 1952
  • Hershey and Chase - justify identifythe DNA as carriers of the heiress formation

organization of the fields of activity

Fachsystematik der Biologie
specialized systematics of biology

biology as science can be subdivided by the multiplicity of organisms, investigation techniques and questions according to different criteria into subranges: On the one hand one can do thoseFields after the groups of organisms regarded in each case (plants in the Botanik, bacteria in the microbiology) divide. On the other hand it can be arranged also on the basis the worked on micro and macroscopic hierarchy levels (molecular structures in molecular biology, cells in cell biology).

The different systems overlapitself however, since for example the genetics many groups of organisms is regarded and investigated in the Zoologie both the molecular level of the animals and their behavior among themselves. The illustration shows an order, which interconnects both systems in compact form.

InAn overview of the different hierarchy levels and the associated thes subject of biology is given to the following. In its organization it orients itself at the illustration. Exemplarily fields of activity are specified, which regard primarily the respective level.

bio molecules

Molekülstruktur einer DNA-Doppelhelix
molecular structure of oneDNA Doppelhelix

the lowest stage in the hierarchy form those biological subranges, which are occupied with molecules. To the large biologically important groups of molecules belong nucleic acids, Lipide, proteins, in particular the enzymes, coal hydrates, hormones and pheromones.

Those Nucleic acids DNA and RNA are as memory of the heiress formation an important object of the research. The different genes and their regularization are decoded as well as the proteins coded therein are examined. A further great importance is attached to the proteins . They are as Enzymes as biological catalysts responsible for almost all material-converting reactions in organisms. Beside the specified groups there are still many further, like alkaloids, Terpene and Steroide. All together a basic structure from carbon is, hydrogen and often also Oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur. Also metals play a role in very small quantities in some bio molecules.

Biological disciplines, which are occupied on this level, are biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics and Epigenetik (DNA independent transmission of characteristics), pharmaceutical biology and toxicology.

cells and Zellorganellen

cells are fundamental structural and functional units of organisms. One differentiates between prokaryotischen cells, which do not possess a cell core and few are subdivided, and eukaryotischen cells,their heiress formation in a cell core is and the most diverse Zellorganellen contained. Zellorganellen are by simple or double diaphragms defined reaction areas within a cell. They make the simultaneous operational sequence possible more differently, also opposite chemical reactions. A large part of the animated worldplace organisms, which consist only of a cell, the single-celled organisms. They can consist thereby of a prokaryotischen cell (the bacteria), or of a eukaryotischen (like some mushrooms).

In more-cellular organisms many cells of same design close and with sameFunction to fabrics together. Several fabrics with functions, which interlink, form an organ.

Biological disciplines, primarily on this level (examples):


individuals are independently lebensfähige natures, which are never alike within a kind each other similarly, but. Each individual of a kind is compound from same components after the same foundation engineering plan. Everyone is singular nevertheless.

By small differences some individuals are betterto their environment adapted and have an advantage opposite other kind comrades. They can increase and practice better therefore a stronger influence on the development of their kind out, than a weaker copy.

Biological disciplines, which also regard this level are for example the anthropology, Zoologie, Botanik and behavior biology.


bees on their honeycomb

a population is a reproduction community within a kind in one temporally and spatially limited area.

Many kinds form social federations of most different structuring.The organization forms are enough from an enormous bee colony with only one queen over the strict chopping order with chickens to the joint life of wolves in a herd. Apart from the social structures within a population one regards here also the evolutionary development. Onedefined population, which does not have a contact to others their kind, knows in runs of many years by adjustment to special environmental influences its own kind to develop.

These levels become among other things from the ecology, behavior biology and the Soziobiologie examines.

Arranged afterthe articles, also the society sciences are subrange of biology, because also they regard combinations of biological objects. Also the societies have an evolutionary basis. These sciences are not arranged however at present by all authors under biology. While subranges such as social psychology, Ethnologie or demography, which correspond to a far-seizing application of the ecology on humans, still as biological partial disciplines go through, Pädagogik, art science, linguistics or also the jurisprudence under biology are not arranged.


Biozönosenrepresent communities of organisms. Plants, animals, mushrooms, single-celled organisms and bacteria are usually from each other dependent and affect each other mutually both in their individual development and in their evolution.

The organisms can itself positively (e.g. Symbiosis), negatively (e.g. Fressfeinde, Parasitism) or simply at all do not affect. Biozönose and habitat (biotope) form together an ecological system.

Biological disciplines, which concern themselves with ecological systems (examples):

the development

of everyoneOrganism is result of a development. After Ernst Haeckel can be regarded this development on two temporally different levels:

  • The Ontogenese is the individual development of an individual organism of its generation over its different life stages up to death. Development biology examinesthis process.
  • The Phylogenese describes the development of a kind in the process of generations. Here evolution biology regards the long-term adjustment at environmental condition and the fragmentation into new kinds.

On the basis of the phylogenetischen development the biological taxonomy arranges all organismsinto a pattern. The whole of all organisms becomes in three groups, which partitions domains, which are again continued to subdivide:

Phylogeneti tree, that the organization of the organisms into the three domains shows

with the classification of the animals in this system concerns itself the special Zoologie, with the organization of the plantsthe special Botanik, with the organization of the Archaeen, bacteria and mushrooms the microbiology.

As frequent representation a phylogenetischer tree is drawn. The connecting lines between the individual groups represent thereby the evolutionary relationship. The more briefly the waybetween two kinds in such a tree, they are related with one another the more closely. As measure for the relationship frequently the sequence of a wide-spread gene is consulted.

many generally common

work methods of biology optical microscope biology scientific methods, like structured observing, documentation (notes, photo, films) and hypothesis formation and - testing by experiments. During the formulation of general principles in biology and attaching of connections one exclusively relies on empirical data. The more attempts alsodifferent starting points to the same result refer, the rather as correct one recognizes.Laws of nature are not provable, but by experiments and observations to large extent are supported.

Insights into the most important structures and functions of the organisms are with the help ofof neighbour sciences possible. Physics for example supplies a multiplicity of research methods. Simple optical devices like the optical microscope make an observing possible of smaller structures such as cells and Zellorganellen. That brought new understanding over the structure of organisms and with cell biology openeditself a new research field. Meanwhile a pallet of highly soluble picture-giving procedures, like Fluoreszenzmikroskopie or electron microscopy , belongs to the standard.

As very closely related area chemistry is hardly to be separated from biology. As independent subject between these two sciencesbiochemistry developed. It connects the knowledge around the chemical and physical characteristics of the components of the life with the effect on the biological total structure. With chemical methods one knows bio molecules with one during biological attempt guidance for exampleColoring material or a radioactive isotope provide. Their pursuit makes the organism possible by different Zellorganellen, or by a whole food chain.

The different biological partial disciplines use different systematic beginnings:

  • Biological systematics: Organisms characterize and on the basis their characteristics and characteristicsin a system arrange
  • physiology: Dismantling and description of organisms and their components with following comparison with other organisms, from which a function explanation can follow
  • genetics: List and analyze the hereditary property and the transmission
  • behavior biology, Soziobiologie: ThatBehavior of individuals, of kind-same animals in the group and to other animal species observe and explain
  • ecology: Observe one or several kinds in their habitat, their interrelation and the effects of biotischer and abiotischer factors on their way of life
  • utilizable beginning: thoseBreed and attitude of useful plants, utilizable animals and utilizable micro organisms examine and by variation of the attitude operations optimize

ranges of application of biology

biology are a scientific discipline, which has a great many ranges of application. By biological research realizations become over thatStructure of the body and the functional connections won. They form the basis, on which the medicine/veterinary medicine examines causes and effects of diseases with humans and animal. In the area of pharmacy become medicines, as for example insulin or numerous Antibiotics, out genetically changed micro organisms instead of from their natural biological source won, because these procedures are more productive around a multiple lower-priced and. For the agriculture useful plants will provide by means of molecular genetics with resistances more insensitively to parasits and to drynesses andLack of nutrient made. In the food and food industry biology provides for a broad pallet longer more durable and biologically high-quality food. Individual food components come also here from genetically changed micro organisms. Thus the lab becomes the production of cheese today no morefrom calf stomach extracts, but produces mikrobiell.

Further adjacent fields of activity, which have their own application fields, are bionics, bio computer science and biotechnology.

see also

Wiktionary: Biology - word origin, synonyms and translations
Wiktionary: biology (in other languages)- Word origin, synonyms and translations
Wikiquote: Biology - quotations
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of special books

specialized books

  • Neil A. Campbell, Jane B. Reece and Jürgen Markl: Biology. Spectrum academic publishing house 2003, ISBN 3-8274-1352-4
  • Ilse Jahn (Hrsg.): History of biology. Spectrum academic publishing house, Heidelberg 2000, ISBN 3-8274-1023-1
  • Martin Mahner,Mario Bunge:Philosophical bases of biology. Springer, Heidelberg 2000, ISBN 3-540-67649-X

of reference books

Web on the left of

Wikibooks: Biology - learning and teaching materials
Commons: Biology - pictures, videos and/or audio files

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