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The Biology Portal


Darlingtonia californica.jpg
Harvestman opilio canestrinii male.jpg

Welcome to the biology portal. Biology, from the Greek words bios (life) and the suffix -logy (study of), is a branch of science concerned with the characteristics and behaviors of organisms, how species and individuals come into existence, and the interactions they have with each other and with their environment. Biology encompasses a broad spectrum of academic fields that are often viewed as independent disciplines. Together, they study life over a wide range of scales.

Blue has been chosen as the colour for this portal to emphasise that life on Earth relies on the unique chemistry of water. A photo of Darlingtonia californica, the cobra lily, was chosen as the portal icon because of this species' dependency on a humid habitat, as well as illustrating both autotrophy (in this case, photosynthesis) and carnivory. Finally, it superficially resembles young shoots, with their tips curved in, symbolising growth, a feature of all life.

Selected article

Adenanthos obovatus, commonly known as basket flower or jugflower.

Adenanthos obovatus, commonly known as basket flower or jugflower, is a shrub of the plant family Proteaceae endemic to Southwest Australia. Described by French naturalist Jacques Labillardière in 1805, it had first been collected by Archibald Menzies in 1791. Within the genus Adenanthos, it lies in the section Eurylaema and is most closely related to A. barbiger. A. obovatus has hybridized with A. detmoldii to produce the hybrid A. × pamela. Several common names allude to the prominent red flowers of the species. It grows as a many-stemmed spreading bush up to 1 m (3 ft) high, and about 1.5 m (5 ft) across, with fine bright green foliage. Made up of single red flowers, the inflorescences appear from April to December, and peak in spring (August to October).

Selected biography

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Mary Anning (21 May 1799 – 9 March 1847) was a British fossil collector, dealer and palaeontologist who became known around the world for important finds she made in the Jurassic age marine fossil beds at Lyme Regis where she lived. Her work contributed to the fundamental changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the earth that occurred in the early 19th century.

Anning searched for fossils in the area's Blue Lias cliffs, particularly during the winter months when landslides exposed new fossils that had to be collected quickly, before they were lost to the sea. It was dangerous work, and she nearly lost her life in 1833 during a landslide that killed her dog Tray. Her discoveries included the first ichthyosaur skeleton to be correctly identified, which she and her brother Joseph found when she was just twelve years old; and the first two plesiosaur skeletons ever found. Her observations played a key role in the discoveries that belemnite fossils contained fossilised ink sacs, and that coprolites, known as bezoar stones at the time, were fossilised faeces.

Anning's gender and social class prevented her from fully participating in the scientific community of 19th-century Britain—dominated as it was by wealthy Anglican gentlemen. She struggled financially for much of her life. Her family were poor, and as religious dissenters were subject to legal discrimination. Her father, a cabinetmaker, died when she was eleven. She became well known in geological circles around the world, and was consulted on issues of anatomy as well as about collecting fossils. However, as a woman she was not eligible to join the Geological Society of London, and she did not always receive full credit for her scientific contributions. Indeed she wrote in a letter: "The world has used me so unkindly, I fear it has made me suspicious of everyone." The only scientific writing of hers published in her lifetime appeared in the Magazine of Natural History in 1839, an extract from a letter which Anning had written to the magazine's editor questioning one of its claims. After her death her unusual life story attracted increasing interest. Charles Dickens wrote of her in 1865 that "[t]he carpenter's daughter has won a name for herself, and has deserved to win it."

Major topics

General Life | species | biology
Evolution (Intro) Natural selection | genetic drift | sexual selection | speciation | mutation | gene flow
Tree of life Cladistics | Animals | plants | fungi | protists | bacteria | archaea | prokaryote | eukaryote | three-domain system | angiosperms | insects | molluscs | nematodes | viruses
Classification of man Primate | mammal | vertebrate | craniata | chordate | deuterostome | animal
History of biology Great Chain of Being | omne vivum ex ovo | timeline of biology and organic chemistry
History of... ecology | evolutionary biology | geography | model organisms | molecular biology | paleontology
Biochemistry DNA | RNA | protein | enzyme | protein folding | carbohydrate | lipid | glycolysis | citric acid cycle | electron transport chain | oxidative phosphorylation | photosynthesis | protein structure
Genetics (Intro) Gene | genome | karyotype | transcription | translation | recombination | chromosome | Mendelian inheritance | phenotype | genotype | epigenetics | splicing | mutation | genetic fingerprint | chromatin | classical genetics | ecological genetics | molecular genetics | population genetics | quantitative genetics
The cell Cell wall | cell membrane | cytoskeleton | mitochondrion | chloroplast | nucleus | endoplasmic reticulum | Golgi apparatus | cell cycle | mitosis | metabolism | cell signaling | protein targeting
Life cycle DNA replication | reproduction | ploidy | spermatogenesis | alternation of generations | oogenesis | parasitism | evolution of sex | meiosis | senescence
Development Tissues | fertilization | embryogenesis | gastrulation | neurulation | organogenesis | differentiation | morphogenesis | metamorphosis | ontogeny
Lab techniques Genetic engineering | transformation | gel electrophoresis | chromatography | centrifugation | cell culture | DNA sequencing | DNA microarray | green fluorescent protein | vector | enzyme assay | protein purification | Western blot | Northern blot | Southern blot | restriction enzyme | polymerase chain reaction | two-hybrid screening | in vivo - in vitro - in silico
Life history Altricial - precocial | sex ratio
Behaviour Altruism - cooperation - foraging - learning - parental care - sexual conflict - territoriality
Ecology Biomass | food chain | indicator species | extinction | biogeography | habitat | species distribution | Gaia theory | metapopulation
Conservation Biodiversity | biodiversity hotspot | nature reserve | edge effect | Allee effect | corridor | fragmentation | pollution | invasive species | in situ - ex situ | seedbank | environmental economics
Field techniques Belt transect | mark and recapture | species discovery curve
Other fields Anatomy | astrobiology | biological anthropology | botany | bioengineering | bioinformatics | environmental science | ethology | human biology | marine biology | microbiology | natural history | origin of life | paleontology | parasitology | pathology | pharmacology | phylogenetics | physiology | synthetic biology | systems biology | taxonomy | zoology
Assessment Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
See also Template:History of biology

Selected picture

Tubal Pregnancy with embryo.jpg

An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination. In humans, it is called an embryo until about eight weeks after fertilization (i.e. ten weeks after the last menstrual period or LMP)

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WikiProjects connected with biology:

A complete list of scientific WikiProjects can be found here. See also Wikispecies, a Wikimedia project dedicated to classification of biological species.


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