Biology areas

The branches of biology are all the various disciplines or areas that the study of biology encompasses. Biology is a natural science whose field of study is living beings: their structures, relationships, evolutions, among many others.

Being the object of study so broad, the best way to approach the knowledge of life is by creating several “plots” where biologists specialize. However, all branches are related in one way or another and use common tools and procedures.

Biology areasWhat do you studyExamples
AnatomyStructure and shape of living beingsLocation of the femoral vein in humans.
BacteriologyThe bacteriaSalmonella sp., Neisseria meningitidis.
BioinformaticsBiological databasesPhylogenetic trees, protein homology
Structural biologyThree-dimensional shape of macromoleculesStructure of the protein myosin in the heart muscle.
Marine biologyOrganisms that live in the seaZooplankton, phytoplankton, fishing industry.
Molecular biologyBiological macromoleculesTranscription factors (proteins) that bind to nucleotide sequences (DNA) of specific genes.
BiochemistryCellular chemical reactionsGlycolysis, glycogenogenesis, lactic fermentation.
BotanyPlantsAngiosperm and gymnosperm, monocots and dicots.
CytologyCellsEpithelial cells, lymphocytes, monocytes.
EcologyInteractions between living things and their environmentEcosystems of a country.
EmbryologyDevelopment and formation of the embryoEffect of alcohol consumption on human embryonic development.
EndocrinologyEndocrine system and hormonesPancreas and insulin in type 1 and 2 diabetes.
EntomologyInsects and their relationship with humansAnts, butterflies, bees.
EnzymologyEnzymesHexokinase, an enzyme that phosphorylates glucose in the first step of glycolysis.
epidemiologySpread of diseasePrediction of the spread of a disease according to the level of contagion.
EthologyBehavior of animalsBird migrations; animal mating rituals.
PhylogenyOrigin and evolution of living beingsNucleotide differences in the cytochrome c gene between humans and chimpanzees.
PhysiologyLife-sustaining processesAction potential of the neuron.
GeneticsMechanisms of inheritanceMutations, genetic polymorphisms, sex-linked diseases.
HerpetologyReptiles and amphibiansSnakes, turtles, iguanas, toads.
HistologyCell tissuesTissue biopsies.
IchthyologyFishesDisplacement of trout in polluted rivers.
ImmunologyImmunity and immune systemT lymphocytes and antibodies.
MammalogyMammalsMammalian biodiversity in a given territory.
MycologyMushroomsCandida albicansCoccidioides immitis.
MicrobiologyMicroorganismsBacteria, archaea, fungi, protozoa, and viruses.
OrnithologyBirdsCommunication between male and female birds through song.
PaleontologyFossilsDental study in sarcopterygii of the Devonian period.
parasitologyParasitesThe intestinal parasite Taenia saginata.
TaxonomyClassification of living thingsDomain, kingdom, rank, class, order, family, genus, species.
VirologyVirusCoronavirus, retrovirus, influenza
ZoologyAnimalsAnimal monitoring in national reserves.

Anatomy

Anatomy is the branch of biology that studies the shape and structure of the organs that make up multicellular living beings. Within anatomy there is comparative anatomy that relates animal structures with those of humans. Human anatomy is an area of ​​great importance in medicine.

Bacteriology

Bacteriology is the branch of biology that studies bacteria , unicellular prokaryotic living beings, belonging to the Bacteria domain . Bacteriologists are dedicated to identifying bacteria in different types of samples, either through culture in appropriate media for the growth of bacteria, or by molecular biology techniques.

Bioinformatics or computational biology

Bioinformatics is the branch of biology that studies data from biological databases with computational tools. It is applied in the comparison of sequences of nucleic acids, proteins and other biological molecules.

The bioinformatician processes a large amount of data, using the speed of computational mathematical calculations and statistics. With bioinformatics tools it is possible to compare the sequence of new viruses with already known viruses and thus determine the mutations and design strategies for their eradication.

Structural biology

Structural biology is the branch of biology that studies the three-dimensional shape of macromolecules and how their structure is related to their function. An example of its application is the study of cardiac myosin variants, a protein of the heart muscle cell, in hypertrophic or dilated cardiomyopathies.

Marine biology

Marine biology is the branch of biology that is responsible for studying the organisms that live in the sea and their interactions. Marine biologists collect samples from the sea for analysis in laboratories using dip bottles, or on research vessels.

Marine biology evaluates the usable resources and determines the norms for their exploitation and for the conservation of the ecological balance, as well as the knowledge of the distribution and biology of commercial species for the fishing industry.

Molecular biology

Molecular biology is the discipline that is responsible for the study of biological macromolecules , mainly deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. This branch of biology uses a large repertoire of techniques such as cell culture, cell cloning, recombinant DNA and the polymerase chain reaction or PCR (for its acronym in English).

Molecular biology is the foundation of genetic engineering, gene therapy, and recombinant proteins.

Biochemistry

Biochemistry is responsible for the study of the “chemistry of life” : the chemical reactions that maintain the metabolism of living beings, their components and transformations. Biochemists employ many chemical and physical analytical techniques, including electrophoresis, centrifugation, spectrophotometry, and chromatography.

Biochemistry has a great application in the field of health, with the analysis of blood compounds, the design of enzyme inhibitors as therapy and discovering the molecular causes of diseases.

You may be interested in seeing the branches of chemistry .

Botany

Botany is defined as the study of plants , which includes their growth, development and reproduction, as well as the physiology and biochemistry of the processes they require for their maintenance. In this way, general botany encompasses the broadest knowledge of plant species, while systematic botany is the branch of botany that describes, names, and classifies plants.

Botany investigates the relationships between plants and humans, the nutritional and medicinal properties of plants, and their role in agriculture.

Cytology

Cytology is the branch of biology that is responsible for the study of cells . This discipline arose with the invention of the microscope and its use in the analysis of human cells and tissues. Today, cytology has techniques as advanced as flow cytometry and electron tomography.

Ecology

Ecology is the study of the interactions between living things and the non-living components that surround them , such as water, air, and land. The name derives from the combination of the Greek terms oikos , which means “house”, and logos , which means study. It is also known as the “Biology of ecosystems”.

Ecologists participate in programs for the preservation of biodiversity and the restoration of natural environments.

You may be interested in seeing the types of ecosystems .

Embryology

Embryology is the branch of biology that studies the development and formation of the embryo , the first stage in the development of multicellular living beings. For example, in humans this stage extends from the moment of fertilization of the ovum by the sperm to twelve weeks.

Embryology also investigates the causes of genetic malformations and the evolution of anatomical structures in animals.

Endocrinology

Endocrinology is the branch of biology that studies the endocrine system : its parts, development and function of hormones. Endocrinology is also a specialization of medicine, where endocrinologists are in charge of treating human metabolic disorders based on the malfunction of the endocrine glands.

Entomology

Entomology is the branch of biology that is limited to the study of insects , invertebrate animals with exoskeletons and segmented bodies, such as bees, ants, belonging to the arthropod phylum. A subdiscipline of entomology is forensic entomology , which is the study of arthropods found in corpses to determine the causes of death.

Enzymology

Enzymology is the branch of biology that studies enzymes , catalytic proteins that accelerate biochemical reactions. Chemical reactions to maintain life must be carried out under moderate conditions, which can only be possible thanks to the action of enzymes.

Enzymology studies the chemical mechanisms by which the amino acids of a protein accelerate a reaction, how the speed of the reaction is affected when certain conditions are modified, and which molecules regulate or inhibit these reactions.

epidemiology

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of the health and disease states of populations. Although epidemiology is generally associated with human health, it also applies to other populations, such as animals and plants.

Ethology

Ethology is the branch of biology that studies the behavior of animals , such as animal migrations, hunting strategies, and mating rituals. The word “ethology” derives from the Greek ethos which means “behavior” and logos which means “treatise”.

Ethologists are based on observing the animal in its environment and comparing it with human behavior.

Phylogeny

Phylogeny is the study of the origin and evolution of living things .

Physiology

Physiology is the study of life-sustaining processes , how and why they happen. The name derives from the Greek words physis , which means “nature”, and logia , which means “knowledge.” Physiology in turn is subdivided into plant physiology, animal physiology, human physiology, experimental physiology, comparative physiology, among others.

Physiologists conduct experiments on animals and / or plants or cells, with a variety of techniques. Examples of physiological studies are those related to the transmission of the nerve impulse and the processes of cellular transport.

You may be interested in seeing Active and passive cellular transport .

Genetics

Genetics is the branch of biology that is responsible for the study of the transmission of hereditary characters . Within this discipline are, among others, population genetics that studies how they evolve and molecular genetics, which seeks to find out the chemical nature of the gene and its function in cells.

Herpetology

Herpetology is the branch of biology, and in particular zoology, which is responsible for studying reptiles and amphibians , such as snakes, salamanders, lizards and crocodiles. The herpetologist studies these animals in their wild conditions and determines the factors that may be affecting them, such as invasive species, climatic conditions, pollution, among others.

Histology

Histology is the study of tissues and the cells that make them up. Histologists prepare the tissues with different techniques, and by means of the optical and / or electronic microscope they detect normal and abnormal patterns in the samples. The main application of histology is in the diagnosis of pathologies, such as cancer.

Ichthyology

Ichthyology focuses on the study of fish in their natural environment.

Immunology

Immunology is the branch of biology that is dedicated to the study of immunity and associated systems. The immune system of higher animals has the function of defending the organism against invading foreign agents, such as viruses, bacteria, parasites and other microorganisms, as well as against malignant cells and transplants.

Thanks to immunology there are immunological tests, monoclonal antibodies and vaccines.

Mammalogy

Mammalogy is the branch of biology that specializes in mammals , a group of homeothermic animals that are characterized by suckling their young, such as dogs, cats and humans.

Mycology

Mycology is the branch of biology that is dedicated to the study of organisms within the kingdom of fungi . Medical mycology specializes in fungi that are pathogenic for humans, such as coccidioidomycosis caused by the fungus Coccidioides immitis or cryptococcosis, caused by Cryptococcus sp .

Microbiology

Microbiology is defined as the branch of biology that is responsible for the study of microscopic life forms , that is, microbes. These represent such a heterogeneous group, which includes, bacteria, protozoa, yeasts and molds. His main work tool is the optical and electronic microscope.

Microbiologists have an important role in various areas, where the presence of microbes is critical, such as in the food industry, the pharmaceutical industry and medicine.

Ornithology

Ornithology is the branch of biology that is dedicated to the study of birds : their evolution, physiology, behavior and relationship with humans.

Ornithologists have the skills to determine the viability status of a bird species. For example, the Andean condor Vultur gryphus , a critically endangered species in South America.

Paleontology

Paleontology is the branch of biology that studies fossils , the remains of organisms that lived a long time ago and were preserved as traces of the past. The paleontologist looks in the fossils to decipher the history of the species, how they lived and evolved. For example, a group of paleontologists studied how the teeth were replaced in the sarcopterygian fish of the Devonian period, of the Onychodus , Eusthenopteron and Tiktaalik species , and compared it with the living coelacanth species Latimeria .

parasitology

Parasitology is the study of parasites , living things that live at the expense of other living things. Mosquitoes, ticks, lice are ectoparasites that live outside the host, occasionally sucking blood. Trypanosomes and amoebas live inside the body of the organism they are parasitizing, so they are endoparasites.

Parasitologists use various techniques, in addition to observation through light and electron microscopy. The most relevant parasites are those that affect human health, such as Plasmodium sp . that causes malaria or malaria, or Leishmania sp . that causes leishmaniasis.

Taxonomy

Taxonomy is the branch of biology that is responsible for classifying living things according to their physical, chemical and molecular characteristics. In this sense, there is a hierarchical classification system, which goes from the highest level, which is the domain, to the most specific level, which is the species.

Taxonomists or taxonomists have the task of collecting and describing species according to a set of nomenclature rules. If he does not fit into a known species, he finds himself with the task of giving this species a name.

You may also be interested in seeing Classification of living beings .

Virology

Virology includes the study of viruses : their constitution, mechanisms of propagation, classification and pathogenicity. Viruses are infectious agents between 0.002 and 0.25 microns, with an outer protein coat that protects a nucleic acid.

In virology, use can be made of genetic sequencers, cell cultures and in vivo experiments, with the aim of identifying and classifying viruses.

Zoology

Zoology deals with the scientific study of animals, specifically the individual lives of animals. Zoologists can perform their duties both in the field and in zoos, aquariums, and nature reserves.

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