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Studying Life
• After the lesson we will be able to identify the major branches
of biology and identify some of the basic tools that biologists
use to study biological organisms.
Studying Life
• Biology is the study of life!
– Sub specialties could include botany, paleontology,
marine biology, …All are biologists
• Sub-Specialties
Cell biologist
Molecular biologist
Conservation biologist
• Each system is part of a larger system.
– Atoms make up Molecules
– Molecules make up Cells (basic unit of life) Approach to
– Cells make up Tissues (a group of cells serving
a particular purpose)
– Tissues make up organs (group of organs
working together)
– Organs make up the organism (multi-cellular)
– A group of similar organisms make up a
population (of the same species… can
– Groups of populations make up a community
(interacting or affecting each other)
– The community and its non-living surrounding
make up the ecosystem
– All living things on the Earth form the
Properties of Living Organisms
– All living things MUST be able to
reproduce and produce (convert)
• They all share these other 3
characteristics to varying degrees
– Cell is the basic unit of life
– Genetic code is conserved (same)
between species
– Respond to environment
» Maintain homeostasis or maintain
a stable internal environment
» Exhibit Evolution or change over
• Microscopes… study
objects too small to be
seen with the “naked”
– Light Microscope… uses
lenses and light
(photons) to view object
• Can see objects as small
as bacteria
– Electron Microscope…
coats object with a
reflective (metallic)
surface to bounce
electrons off of it
producing a 3D image
• Can see cell surfaces and
• Resolving power 0.2mm
(organelles, viruses,…)
– SEM (scanning electron
microscope) allows the
scientist see 3D structures
– TEM (transmission) allows
the scientist to see internal
– Cell culture… creating a cell line
from an individual cell for study
• Used in biotechnology for the
development and testing of biologics
– Cell fractionation… splitting cells to
study the contents
• Cell digestion using enzymes
• Broken cells are spun in a centrifuge to
separate parts based on mass
• Used in biotechnology in the
purification and validation process