What is Biology?

Biology = bio (life) + ology (the science of)

Contemporary biologists define life as a particular set of processes that result from the organization of matter.  Modern biology draws on chemistry, mathematics, geology, and physics for its foundation, and applies basic physical natural laws to the study of living things.

Biologists have constructed a list of characteristics that delimit the “set of life processes” common to living things:  Living things:

  • utilize materials and energy.
  • reproduce and pass on genetic traits.
  • grow and develop.
  • show variations based on heredity.
  • are adapted to their environment.
  • respond to environmental stimuli.

Because biology is a science, biologists have organized the characteristics of life into a set of unifying concepts:

  • Unity and Diversity
  • Genetic Continuity
  • Biological Basis of Behavior
  • Complimentarity of Structure & Function
  • Interplay of Organism & Environment
  • Evolution

These main concepts are woven throughout the Life Science courses.  For specific concepts and course objectives please see the links associated with each course.