In this brief guide we are going to answer the question ‘What are the 10 branches of biology?’’ We will highlight the main branches of biology, what each one studies and we will explain the importance of the role of biology in science.
What are the 10 branches of biology?
- Reproductive biology
- Marine biology
- Cell biology
- Molecular biology
It may seem obvious to say so, but the phenomenon of life is only possible –in animals and humans- from the fertilization process, in which an egg and a sperm unite. The continuous cellular stages that take place until a zygote is formed and then a new living being is an area of interference of the biology of reproduction or reproductive.
Thanks to reproductive biology, much progress has been made on issues such as in vitro fertilization, assisted reproduction and artificial fertilization; but also, strong social debates have taken place given the ethical component of this science. Two concrete examples are the issues of abortion and animal cloning.
A fact to take into account: there are some currents that within the so-called “Reproductive Biology” also include the kingdom of microorganisms and the plant kingdom, where cell reproduction does not take place as experienced by humans and animals, but rather processes occur by mitosis.
Among the different branches of Biology, Genetics always seems one of the most attractive. As we explained before, cells are the basic units of life, but they need DNA to organize themselves. Genetics explores the genetic information of beings that is necessary to promote their development.
By virtue of what has been discovered by this discipline, we know a lot about the development of hereditary diseases, the origin of ailments and traumas that pass from generation to generation, the constitution of Deoxyribonucleic Acid in all living beings and even other more prosaic data such as the paternity test.
Of course, there are derivations of this branch of Biology such as Genetic Engineering, Genetic Medicine, Behavioral Genetics and Population Genetics, although we will not delve into them for reasons of space.
Maybe you didn’t know it, but only 30% of the earth’s surface is itself “land” and the rest, just water. This is how a large part of our planet is made up of immense oceans. It is not surprising, then, that marine biology is one of the most important branches of biology. This discipline studies the ecosystem of the sea, the life of the animal and plant kingdom that inhabits it, as well as the relationship that the oceans have with the environment and the entire vital chain.
Knowing and maintaining the balance of aquatic biomes at a global level is essential if we want life on planet Earth to continue to be possible. Thanks to the contributions of marine biology, it is possible to design government policies that protect the maritime ecosystem and thus guarantee food, water, transportation, etc. for millions of people around the world.
Normally, higher education careers related to marine biology are studied in coastal areas due to their proximity to the sea, the immediate field of experimentation with scientific phenomena. We invite you to consult this link to discover educational offers on marine biology at an international level.
As you surely know, all living organisms are made up of millions of cells. This is the basic vital unit of any animal or plant structure; Given its great importance, it is not surprising that cell biology alone constitutes one of the branches of biology. In the scientific literature, it is also often studied as “Cytology.”
Among other things, Cell Biology serves to know the interactions that occur between cells (which applies, for example, to the response of a living being to certain chemicals or drugs), alterations in cell walls or membranes ( which, to cite one case, help to discover tumors or precancerous cells) and the behaviour of cellular components such as mitochondria or lysosomes.
As you may have discovered, cell biology maintains close ties with other fields such as genetics and reproductive biology, in addition to molecular biology, which we will talk about below.
Inside the cell, specific processes are carried out that are the field of study of the so-called molecular biology. This discipline focuses on the structure and functions of each living cell in animal, human and plant organisms.
Although many people are unaware of its function, molecular biology has made important discoveries that have later been applied in areas such as genetic engineering and biochemistry. By mastering the specific cellular processes of each being, it is possible to predict behavior patterns to prevent and treat hereditary diseases, to give just one example of the usefulness of this science.
At a higher level than molecular Biology is Physiology, since it deals with studying the processes that are carried out not in cells but in groups of cells or “tissues”: what we all know as organs. Each organ of a human, animal or plant is responsible for a specific function or functions based on certain cell groups that make them possible.
Physiology, without a doubt, has interference in many areas of people’s daily life such as food, rest or physical activity, since in all of them there are clearly physiological functions such as digestion, sleep, breathing and metabolism.
There are numerous practical applications of Physiology to solve people’s everyday problems, such as Physiotherapy and Medical Physiology.
Among the existing branches of Biology, Botany is the one that studies the plant kingdom. This group includes a very wide variety of living beings, from plants to trees and shrubs through other forms of life that are not merely “vegetable” such as fungi, algae and cyanobacteria. Believe it or not, these life forms have some characteristics in common with plants, such as that they can move little and are capable of photosynthesis (except for fungi).
Thanks to the contributions of Botany, we know the properties of the fruits and vegetables that we usually consume, as well as the behavior, survival mode and habitat of native or imported plant species, whether in a city, in a public park or even in our own garden.
Over time, Botany has been in charge of studying the impact of deforestation and reforestation of green areas, the coexistence of species in protected natural areas, issues related to crops, sowing, development of fertilizers for agriculture, etc. As you may have seen, its field of interference is very large in practice.
This is the science that is responsible for studying the interaction that occurs between any living being and its habitat, a relationship that we normally know under the name of “ecosystem”. In all kingdoms, living things carry out their biological functions in a given environment. This is how one of the branches of Biology was born: Ecology.
Nobody would doubt that Ecology, today, is a global trend. There is a wide variety of non-governmental organizations around the world that are concerned with environmental issues such as pollution prevention, recycling, the use of biodegradable materials, sustainable economic developments, renewable resources and other measures aimed at preserving habitat that we all know as “Earth”.
It is worth delving into the study -although self-taught- of ecological issues to modify certain life habits and thus contribute our own grain of sand to the preservation of our environment.
This science studies very small units of life known as “microorganisms”. They are living beings with a single cell (that is, unicellular) that the human eye can only perceive through a microscope. Among the microorganisms most studied by Microbiology, we can mention viruses, bacteria, archaea and protozoa.
Surely it is not necessary to explain much more to discover that Microbiology allows us to know the behavior of microscopic beings that are usually harmful to people, and that causes most of the diseases we suffer from. Pharmacological, hygienic, and preventive health issues fall on Microbiology to ensure that we remain healthy over time.
Many of the achievements of human science, such as the development of vaccines and the design of protocols to prevent infections in certain areas, we owe to this disciplinary field. That is why we believe that it is essential to know it.
Among the branches of Biology that should be mentioned, the only one that specializes in the animal kingdom is Zoology. It is a very broad discipline, as it deals with animals as dissimilar as a sponge and a whale. Without a doubt, there is a great variety of living beings that are grouped in this scientific field.
Throughout the centuries, the human mind has concentrated on observing the environment that surrounds it, of which animals are an undeniable part (whether they are far from urban centers or not). This is how it has been possible to discover the behavior, physiology, genetics, constitution, structure, typology of the different animals that inhabit the planet. There are disciplines of great importance related to Zoology, such as Veterinary Medicine.
So, what are the 10 branches of biology?
In this brief guide we answered the question ‘What are the 10 branches of biology?’’ We highlighted the main branches of biology, what each one studies and we explained the importance of the role of biology in science.
Botany, Genetics, Zoology, Ecology, Microbiology, Reproductive Biology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Physiology, Marine Biology… We think that there’s no important discipline left to mention and describe. This has been the main objective of this article: to ensure that you have a limited but concise and clear overview of all the current derivations that we know under the common name of “Biology”.
If you have any comments or questions let us know!
Bartsch, J.; Colvard, M.P. (2009). The Living Environment. New York State: Prentice Hall.
Griffiths, A.J.F.; Miller, J.H.; Suzuki, D.T.; Lewontin, R.C.; Gelbart, W-M. (2000). An Introduction to Genetic Analysis (7th ed.). Nueva York: W. H. Freeman.