Introduction160-page1 - Although both living and non-living...

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Introduction - 1 Biology is the subject of life and living organisms. And perhaps, most importantly today, how we humans interact with and impact the lives of each other and the other organisms that share our earth. By studying the living organisms with which humans share this earth, biologists try to answer questions about diversity and about the common characteristics of living organisms. We try, in science to make "sense" of all we see in our world around us. Living Organisms are virtually everywhere on earth, and are found in all sizes, shapes and colors. From bacteria to aspen groves, blue whales and California redwood trees, there is a remarkable array of living organisms to catalog (or classify) and observe on earth. All of us have some understanding of what it is to be alive and what non-living stuff is. However, coming up with a good definition of life is not so easy. There are a number of things we can state which are characteristics of living organisms, the sum of which can be of help to us in distinguishing life from non-life:
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Unformatted text preview: Although both living and non-living things share the same fundamental properties of matter and energy (which we shall look at) living organisms and non-living materials differ in the degree to which energy is used and materials are organized. To help us determine how life and non-life can be distinguished we can study some of the following common "features" of living organisms: Biological Organization Molecule Organelle Cells Tissues Organ Organism Living organisms have an organized structure, with each level of biological structure building on the level below it. Atoms form molecules that are organized to form cell components, called organelles. Organisms may be unicellular or multicellular. Multicellular organisms have structural levels above the cell: tissues, organs and organ systems. Groups of organisms form populations and groups of different populations (or species) living in the same geographical area form communities and ecosystems. This is our life on earth....
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This note was uploaded on 12/29/2011 for the course BIO 151 taught by Professor Edwards during the Spring '10 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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