What is biology and its various branches?

Life and living organisms are the focus of the natural science of biology. The field is vast and includes several sub-disciplines such as anatomy, physiology, ethology, genetics, etc. Cellular organization, heritable genetic material, the ability to adapt and evolve, metabolism to manage energy needs, the ability to interact with the environment, maintain homeostasis, reproduce, and the ability to grow and change are some of the basic characteristics of all living things. Aspiring biologists seek evidence to explain the nature of living things and the impact people have on all kinds of life.

What is biology?

Biology is a branch of science and is derived from the Greek words “bios” and “logos,” which means the study of life. Biology is a natural science that focuses on the study of life and living organisms. It includes the study of their structure, function, development, relationships, evolution, distribution, and classification, as well as the study of their genetic makeup and evolution. Anatomy and physiology are among the many specialized disciplines that fall under the umbrella term “ethology.” Genetics is another specialized study that falls under the umbrella term “ethology.” (1)

What are the basic principles of biology?

Here are the basic principles of biology:

  • It explains the development and transformations of the human body. Humans are considered the highest form of animal, with bodies that are complicated to comprehend. Biology, on the other hand, explains how these bodies develop and change.
  • It prepares people for their chosen professions. Due to the different branches of biology that people could choose from, studying this subject will create a good foundation for learners, may it be for present or future use.
  • It gives answers to possible complicated problems. One of the problems this world faces is also a problem that deals with life. Biology classes can teach students how to deal with problems in a variety of ways, from minor to major, without sacrificing anything along the way.
  • It teaches the fundamentals of daily living. Biology will help others pave their way to the basic way of living. This will provide useful concepts and ideas for building something that is necessary, safe, and useful for living.
  • It aids in the investigation of life’s fundamentals. The study of biology is really useful, especially when answering questions of origin, life, and even some other fundamental questions in life. This gives explanation and enlightenment to some.
  • It establishes a foundation for scientific study. The significance of biology is also one of the useful methods for discovery. Conducting scientific investigations is most likely done by researchers or scientists with the use of scientific methods, leading to answers in some forms.

These are some of the major principles in studying biology.

What are the branches of biology?

The following are considered as branches of Biology:

  • Anatomy. It is the study of body structures and forms of a living organism particularly, the human body.
  • Agriculture. It is a science which focuses on the practice of crop production and livestock from our natural resources.
  • Biochemistry. The study of the function and structure of cellular components, such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, other biomolecules, and the body function and transformation during processes.
  • Astrobiology. Branch of biology concerned with the effects of outer space on living organisms and the search for extraterrestrial life.
  • Biochemistry. Study of the structure and function of cellular components, such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, and other biomolecules, and of their functions and transformations during life processes.
  • Bioclimatology. Science that studies the influence of climates on organisms, just like its development and distribution on particular climate.
  • Bioengineering. It is also known as biological engineering, which is a broad-based engineering discipline that deals with bio-molecular and molecular processes, design, sustainability and analysis of biological systems.
  • Biogeography. A science that attempts to describe the changing distributions and geographic patterns of living and fossil species of plants and animals
  • Bioinformatics. Information technology is applied to the life sciences, especially the technology used to store, collect, and retrieve genomic data.
  • Biomathematics. Mathematical biology or biomathematics is an interdisciplinary field of academic study that aims to model natural, biological processes using mathematical techniques and tools that have practical and theoretical applications in biological research.
  • Biophysics. Also known as biological physics which is an interdisciplinary science that applies the theories and methods of physical sciences to questions of biology.
  • Biotechnology. It is an applied science concerned with biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives, to make or modify products or processes for specific use.
  • Botany. It is the study particularly about plants.
  • Cell biology. The study of cells at the microscopic or at molecular level which includes the study of cells’ physiological properties, structures, organelles, interactions with their environment, life cycle, division and apoptosis.
  • Chronobiology. Science that studies time-related phenomena in living organisms.
  • Conservation Biology. It is concerned with the studies and schemes of habitat preservation and species protection for the purpose of alleviating the extinction crisis and conserving biodiversity.
  • Cryobiology. It learns about the effects of low temperatures on living organisms.
  • Developmental Biology. The study of the processes by which an organism develops from a zygote to its full structure.
  • Ecology. The scientific study of the relationships between plants, animals, and their environment.
  • Ethnobiology. This is a study of the past and present human interactions with the environment, for instance the use of diverse flora and fauna by indigenous societies
  • Evolutionary Biology. A subfield concerned with the origin and descent of species, as well as their change over time, or their evolution.
  • Freshwater Biology. A science concerned with the life and ecosystems of freshwater habitats.
  • Genetics. Science that deals with heredity, especially the mechanisms of hereditary transmission and the variation of inherited characteristics among similar or related organisms.
  • Geobiology. Science that combines geology and biology to study the interactions of organisms with their environment.
  • Immunobiology. A study of the structure and function of the immune system, innate and acquired immunity, the bodily distinction of self from nonself, and laboratory techniques involving the interaction of antigens with specific antibodies.
  • Marine Biology. Study of ocean plants and animals and their ecological relationships.
  • Medicine. A science which relates to the prevention, cure, or alleviation of disease.
  • Microbiology. It is the branch of biology that deals with microorganisms and their effects on other living organisms.
  • Molecular Biology. Branch of biology that deals with the formation, structure, and function of macromolecules essential to life.
  • Mycology. It is the study of fungi.
  • Neurobiology. Branch of biology that deals with the anatomy and physiology and pathology of the nervous system.
  • Paleobiology. The study of the forms of life existing in prehistoric or geologic times, as represented by the fossils of plants, animals, and other organisms.
  • Parasitology. It is the study of parasites and parasitism.
  • Pathology. Study of the nature of disease and its causes, processes, development, and consequences.
  • Pharmacology. The study of preparation and use of drugs and synthetic medicines.
  • Physiology. The biological study of the functions of living organisms and their parts.
  • Protistology. The study of protists.
  • Psychobiology. The study of mental functioning and behavior in relation to other biological processes.
  • Toxicology. The study of undesirable effects of natural or man-made poisons in living organisms.
  • Virology. Study of viruses.
  • Zoology. The branch of biology that deals with the study of animals and animal life, which includes the study of its physiology, structure, development, and classification.
  • Ethology. It is the study of animal behavior.
  • Entomology. The scientific study of insects.
  • Ichthyology. Study of fishes.
  • Herpetology. Study of reptiles and amphibians.
  • Ornithology. The study of birds.
  • Mammalogy. The study of mammals.
  • Primatology. Science that deals with primates.

All of the scientific terms listed above are considered branches of biology and are necessary to learn or be familiar with, especially when you are planning to take exams about biology. (2)

What are the three main branches of biology?

The three main branches of biology are:

  • Botany. This is one of the main branches of biology that aims to study plants.
  • Zoology. It deals with the study of an animal’s life. May it be for their classification, structure, or development.
  • Microbiology. Branch of biology that relates to the study of microorganisms that possibly live in the body or the environment.

The three main branches mentioned revolve around the study of living things.

What is zoology?

Zoology, also known as animal biology, is a branch of biology that is concerned with the study of animals. Zoology derives from the Greek words zoon, which means “animal,” and logos, which means “study of,” which combine to form the word. It includes all aspects of scientific information about animals, such as embryonic development, evolution, behavior, ecological distribution, taxonomy, and all aspects of scientific knowledge about humans. Zoology is divided into many different branches because there are so many different techniques to research animals. It is also divided into branches based on which creatures are being investigated, further dividing the field.

What is microbiology?

Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms. Microbes include bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi, prions, protozoa, and algae. Microbes are important in nutrient cycling, biodegradation, climate change, food spoilage, disease etiology and control, and biotechnology. Microbes can be used to make life-saving medications, biofuels, clean up pollution, and produce/process food and drink.

What is botany?

Botany is the study of plants and other members of the Plantae kingdom. The adjective “botanic” derives from the Ancient Greek word “botane,” which means plants, grasses, and pastures. Botany can also refer to the biology of a specific plant kind (e.g., the botany of blooming plants) or the plant life of a given place (e.g., the botany of the rainforest). A botanist studies botany.

Why is biology important?

Biology is important because it provides a higher understanding of how living and nonliving organisms interact with each other. As for biology, which has a main goal of studying life, it mainly helps in shaping the diverse life-giving credible answers and explanations, newfound learning, and studies that will aid in the daily lives of all creatures.

What is the history of biology?

The earliest roots of science, including medicine, started in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia around 3000 to 1200 BCE. Philosophers like Aristotle have made a great contribution to biological knowledge, such as the history of animals. His successor, Theophrastus, wrote a series of books about botany, which greatly contributed to the plant sciences even in the middle ages. Biology began to grow and develop with Anton van Leeuwenhoek and his microscope. Until that time, scholars discovered spermatozoa, bacteria, and other microorganisms that are seen in the diversity of microscopic life. Several biologists emphasized the importance of cells in the early nineteenth century, years after the advancements of microscopy. Cell-related studies by biologists such as Schleiden, Schwann, Robert Remak, and Rudolf Virchow all contribute to the cell theory, which has been really helpful up until now.

Taxonomy and classification also became the focus of natural historians. In 1735, Carl Linnaeus published a basic taxonomy for the natural world, and in the 1750s, scientific names were introduced. After those years, other biologists and their contributions from centuries until recent times are still prospering. With the same goal of studying life and its development and improvements, continuous support to learning in this area will soon be engaged in new studies. (3)

Who is the father of biology?

Aristotle is the father of biology. The sequential knowledge of biology took place in the era of the famous Greek philosopher.

What are the basic principles of modern biology?

The basic principles of modern biology are:

  • Cell theory. It is a principle that believes that all living organisms are made of cells, which are the fundamental unit, and that all cells come from preexisting cells.
  • Gene theory. It is a principle that all living things have DNA that will be passed to other generations.
  • Homeostasis. It is a principle that all living things maintain a state of balance that allows organisms to survive in their environment.
  • Evolution. This is the principle that describes all living things that change their traits through time and generation to survive better in their environment.

Learning the fundamental principles outlined above is critical for acing any standardized test that includes biology as a subtopic, including the GRE Biology Subject Test. (3)

What do biologists do?

Biologists study plants, animals, humans, and even the environments in which they live to survive. Biologists typically conduct studies or research to support their newly discovered knowledge that will be useful in the present and future.

Why is biology necessary in schools?

Here are some of the reasons why biology is necessary for schools:

  • Biology can help explain the existence of life, how it lives, and how it develops and survives in its environment.
  • Learning biology allows us to learn new knowledge about millions of other living creatures, from micro-to macro organisms.
  • Biology is a subject with a wide scope. Learning this will help in describing different features of living and nonliving things.
  • Learning biology will help learners understand how nature benefits humans and other living organisms.
  • It helps us be well-versed in the various nutrients necessary for a healthy diet, as well as the sources and advantages of each, such as proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fats.

The causes mentioned above are considered by various institutions, which is why they added biology to their science curriculum. (4)

Is biology essential for the GRE?

Yes. GRE Biology is essential for the GRE because of the subject test. It is designed to evaluate a candidate’s ability for graduate or postgraduate study in the field of biology.

Read more: GRE Biology Subject Test

Should I take the biology subject test for the GRE?

Yes. You should take the biology subject test for the GRE, especially if the university you will be attending requires a GRE Official Score Report. Regardless of whether the school requires it or not, it is a competitive edge to convince the admissions committee that you have the proper and enough knowledge needed for masteral or doctoral programs relating to biology.


  1. https://major.biology.ufl.edu/about/what-is-biology/
  2. https://www.biologyonline.com/dictionary/branches-of-biology
  3. https://www.livescience.com/44549-what-is-biology.html
  4. http://www.athriftymrs.com/importance-of-biology-in-school-curriculum/