Outline of biology

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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to biology:

Biology – study of living organisms. It is concerned with the characteristics, classification, and behaviors of organisms, how species come into existence, and the interactions they have with each other and with the environment. Biology encompasses a broad spectrum of academic fields that are often viewed as independent disciplines. However, together they address phenomena related to living organisms (biological phenomena) over a wide range of scales, from biophysics to ecology. All concepts in biology are subject to the same laws that other branches of science obey, such as the laws of thermodynamics and conservation of energy.

Branches of biology[edit]

Branch of biology – subdiscipline of biology, also referred to as a biological science. Note that biology and all of its branches are also life sciences.

  • Aerobiology – study of airborne organic particles
  • Agriculture – study of producing crops from the land, with an emphasis on practical applications
  • Anatomy – study of form and function, in plants, animals, and other organisms, or specifically in humans
  • Bioengineering – study of biology through the means of engineering with an emphasis on applied knowledge and especially related to biotechnology
  • Bioinformatics – use of information technology for the study, collection, and storage of genomic and other biological data
  • Biomathematics (or mathematical biology) – quantitative or mathematical study of biological processes, with an emphasis on modeling
  • Biomechanics – often considered a branch of medicine, the study of the mechanics of living beings, with an emphasis on applied use through prosthetics or orthotics
  • Biomedical research – study of health and disease
    • Pharmacology – study and practical application of preparation, use, and effects of drugs and synthetic medicines
  • Biomusicology – study of music from a biological point of view.
  • Bionomics – comprehensive study of an organism and its relation to its environment
  • Biosemiotics – the study of biological processes through semiotics, by applying the models of meaning-making and communication
  • Biotechnology – new and sometimes controversial branch of biology that studies the manipulation of living matter, including genetic modification and synthetic biology
    • Synthetic biology – research integrating biology and engineering; construction of biological functions not found in nature
  • Botany – study of plants
  • Building biology – study of the indoor living environment
  • Cell biology – study of the cell as a complete unit, and the molecular and chemical interactions that occur within a living cell
  • Cognitive biology – study of cognition as a biological function
  • Conservation biology – study of the preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife
  • Chronobiology – field of biology that examines periodic (cyclic) phenomena in living organisms and their adaptation to solar- and lunar-related rhythms.
  • Cryobiology – study of the effects of lower than normally preferred temperatures on living beings.
  • Developmental biology – study of the processes through which an organism forms, from zygote to full structure
    • Embryology – study of the development of embryo (from fecundation to birth).
    • Gerontology – study of aging processes.
  • Ecology – study of the interactions of living organisms with one another and with the non-living elements of their environment
  • Environmental biology – study of the natural world, as a whole or in a particular area, especially as affected by human activity
  • Epidemiology – major component of public health research, studying factors affecting the health of populations
  • Evolution – any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations.
    • Evolutionary biology – study of the origin and descent of species over time
      • Evolutionary developmental biology – field of biology that compares the developmental processes of different organisms to determine the ancestral relationship between them, and to discover how developmental processes evolved.
    • Paleobiology – discipline which combines the methods and findings of the natural science biology with the methods and findings of the earth science paleontology.
      • Paleontology – study of fossils and sometimes geographic evidence of prehistoric life
  • Genetics – study of genes and heredity
    • Epigenetics – study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence
    • Genomics – discipline in genetics concerned with the study of the genomes of organisms.
    • Proteomics – large-scale study of proteins, particularly their structures and functions
    • Population genetics – study of changes in gene frequencies in populations of organisms
  • Ichnology – deals with traces of organismal behavior, such as burrows and footprints. It is generally considered as a branch of paleontology; however, only one division of ichnology, paleoichnology, deals with trace fossils, while neoichnology is the study of modern traces.
  • Integrative biology – study of whole organisms
  • Limnology – study of inland waters
  • Marine biology (or Biological oceanography) – study of ocean ecosystems, plants, animals, and other living beings
  • Microbiology – study of microscopic organisms (microorganisms) and their interactions with other living things
  • Molecular biology – study of biology and biological functions at the molecular level, with some cross over from biochemistry
  • Morphology – In biology, morphology is a branch of bioscience dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features.
  • Mycology – study of fungi
  • Oceanography – study of the ocean, including ocean life, environment, geography, weather, and other aspects influencing the ocean
  • Neuroscience – study of the nervous system, including anatomy, physiology, and pathology
  • Oncology – study of cancer processes, including virus or mutation, oncogenesis, angiogenesis and tissues remoldings
  • Photobiology – scientific study of the interactions of light (technically, non-ionizing radiation) and living organisms. The field includes the study of photosynthesis, photomorphogenesis, visual processing, circadian rhythms, bioluminescence, and ultraviolet radiation effects.
  • Population biology – study of groups of conspecific organisms, including:
  • Palynology – analyses particulate samples collected from the air, water, or from deposits including sediments of any age. The condition and identification of those particles, organic and inorganic, give the palynologist clues to the life, the environment, and energetic conditions that produced them. It is the science that studies contemporary and fossil palynomorphs, including pollen, spores, orbicules, dinocysts, acritarchs, chitinozoans and scolecodonts, together with particulate organic matter (POM) and kerogen found in sedimentary rocks and sediments.
  • Pathobiology or pathology – study of diseases, and the causes, processes, nature, and development of disease
  • Parasitology – study of parasites and parasitism
  • Pharmacology – study and practical application of preparation, use, and effects of drugs and synthetic medicines
  • Physiology – study of the functioning of living organisms and the organs and parts of living organisms
    • Immunology – study of all aspects of the immune system in all organisms.
    • Kinesiology – Kinesiology, also known as human kinetics, is the scientific study of human movement
    • Neurobiology – study of the nervous system, including anatomy, physiology and pathology
      • Neuroscience – interdisciplinary science that studies the nervous system
        • Behavioral neuroscience (or biological psychology) – application of the principles of biology (in particular neurobiology), to the study of physiological, genetic, and developmental mechanisms of behavior in humans and non-human animals. It typically investigates at the level of neurons, neurotransmitters, brain circuitry and the basic biological processes that underlie normal and abnormal behavior.
    • Histology – study of the microscopic anatomy of cells and tissues of plants and animals
  • Phytopathology – study of plant diseases (also called Plant Pathology)
  • Radiobiology – study of the action of ionizing radiation on living things.
  • Structural biology – a branch of molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics concerned with the molecular structure of biological macromolecules
  • Systematics – study of the diversification of living forms, both past and present, and the relationships among living things through time
    • Cladistics – method of classifying species of organisms into groups called clades, which consist of an ancestor organism and all its descendants (and nothing else)
    • Phylogeny – study of evolutionary relation among groups of organisms (e.g. species, populations), which is discovered through molecular sequencing data and morphological data matrices
    • Taxonomy – science of identifying and naming species, and arranging them into a classification.
  • Systems biology – - computational and mathematical modeling of complex biological systems.
  • Zoology – study of animals, including classification, physiology, development, and behavior. Subbranches include:


  • Biochemistry – study of the chemical reactions required for life to exist and function, usually a focus on the cellular level
  • Biophysics – study of biological processes through physics, by applying the theories and methods traditionally used in the physical sciences
  • Biogeography – study of the distribution of species spatially and temporally
  • Bioclimatology is the interdisciplinary field of science that studies the interactions between the biosphere and the Earth's atmosphere on time scales of the order of seasons or longer (by opposition to biometeorology).
  • Sociobiology – study of the biological bases of sociology
  • Psychobiology – study of the biological bases of psychology
  • Astrobiology – study of evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. Also known as exobiology, exopaleontology, and bioastronomy

History of biology[edit]

History of biology

Timeline of biology and organic chemistry


Main article: Outline of ecology


Main article: Outline of evolution

Organismal Biology[edit]

(also known as Functional biology)

Cellular and molecular biology[edit]

Main article: Outline of genetics


Main articles: Biologist and List of biologists

Lists of biologists[edit]

See also[edit]

Related outlines


  1. ^ Frank B. Salisbury; Cleon W. Ross (1992). Plant physiology. Brooks/Cole Pub Co. ISBN 0-534-15162-0. 

External links[edit]