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Organizational Hierarchy

Activity 8.3.2 – Identifying the levels of organization

When addressing a letter, the sender identifies the recipient’s first name, last name, street number, street name, city, state, zip code and country.  This information uniquely specifies the recipient out of more than six billion people in the world.  Table 8.6 illustrates a similar method of identifying the position of an item such as a textbook, which could be located anywhere in the world.  For example, one could identify a specific book by saying it is the biology book on the third desk, in the fifth row, of the second room, on the east hall of the north wing, of the third floor, of the science building, on the CSUN campus, in the community of Northridge, in the city of Los Angeles, in the county of Los Angeles, of the state of California, in the country of the United States, on the continent of North America, located in the Western Hemisphere, of the planet Earth. The sequence of levels listed (book, desk, row, room, hall, wing, floor, building, campus, community, city, county, state, country, continent, hemisphere, planet) represents an organizational hierarchy analogous to the biological hierarchy (fundamental particles, subatomic particles, atoms, micromolecules, macromolecules, molecular assemblies, organelles, cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, organisms, populations, communities, ecosystems, biomes, biosphere) as shown in table 8.6.   For the terms that follow, identify the appropriate level of organization by placing the term in the correct cell.

Set 1: alpine, brain, carbon, Earth, fatty acid, gray matter, lipid, marmot, meadow, nervous system, neuron, nuclear membrane, nucleus, protons, quark
, tundra, Tuolumne pack

Set 2: chloroplast, deciduous forest, Earth, glycine, leaf, maple tree, neutrons, nitrogen, Ohio hardwood forests, palisade, parenchyma, plasmalemma, protein, quark, riparian, stand, vegetative system

Levels of Organization ‎‎(Activity 8.3.2)‎‎

Activity 8.3.3  Organizing the many disciplines of biology 

Biology is a vast field of study that includes many disciplines, each of which has a unique focus at one or more levels of organization.  For example, an ornithologist studies birds (organism level), while a cytologist studies cells (cellular level). Note that some fields of study cover many areas.  For example, anatomy studies the structure and parts of the body.  One can talk about the anatomy of an organelle, cell, tissue, organ, system, or organism, as represented by the shaded cells in table 8.7.  By contrast, biochemistry deals specifically with the molecular level, while biology studies all levels from molecular through biome. Complete table 8.7 by shading in the main levels of organization each discipline studies.  Your teacher may assign a discipline to individuals, and request them to report to the class after completing their research.  Note that some boundaries are less distinct than others.

organizational hierarchy - biology