The Hierarchy of Biological Organization

Topics: Life, Emergence, Nervous system Pages: 2 (625 words) Published: May 19, 2012
Biological organization is embedded with emergent properties. These properties are based on a hierarchy of structural levels, each level building on levels below. Atoms make up the lowest level ordered into complex biological molecules. At the highest level of organization, the biosphere makes up all the environments on Earth. Descending down the ecosystem includes both living and nonliving organisms and consists of particular physical components that allow each to interact with one another. All these organisms are designed to accomplish the common purpose of processing nutrients, discarding wastes, responding to environmental stimuli, and reproducing within the particular environment. For example, organisms are inhabited in a community. The costal community is comprised of pelicans that eat the fish in the ocean. In addition, a diverse range of organisms survive together in this similar ecosystem. The hierarchy of biological organization builds from biological molecules, which are organized into complex structures referred to organelles, which are also one of the properties of cells. Within this complex system, life can be understood as many descending levels. From molecules, organelles are formed, organelles create cells, cells make up tissue, tissues are part of systems and organs and from organs organisms are formed. This hierarchy of biological organization makes up our ecosystem and describes the web of complex interactions. This diversity of life is found in this biological organization is much more than the sum of their parts (Campbell et al., 2006, p. 3). The combination of components found in biological organization forms a system. The phrase “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, relates to the levels of life. With each step in the concept of hierarchy of biological organization, the properties and arrangements in interaction becomes more complex. In addition, new properties are present that would not have been present in previous...
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