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All organisms use a source of energy for their metabolic activities. Some organisms capture energy from the sun and convert it into chemical energy in food; others use chemical energy in molecules they take in as food ( [link] ).

Levels of organization of living things

Living things are highly organized and structured, following a hierarchy that can be examined on a scale from small to large. The atom    is the smallest and most fundamental unit of matter. It consists of a nucleus surrounded by electrons. Atoms form molecules. A molecule    is a chemical structure consisting of at least two atoms held together by one or more chemical bonds. Many molecules that are biologically important are macromolecules , large molecules that are typically formed by polymerization (a polymer is a large molecule that is made by combining smaller units called monomers, which are simpler than macromolecules). An example of a macromolecule is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) ( [link] ), which contains the instructions for the structure and functioning of all living organisms.

Molecular model depicts a DNA molecule, showing its double helix structure.
All molecules, including this DNA molecule, are composed of atoms. (credit: “brian0918”/Wikimedia Commons)

Watch this video that animates the three-dimensional structure of the DNA molecule shown in [link] .

Some cells contain aggregates of macromolecules surrounded by membranes; these are called organelles . Organelles are small structures that exist within cells. Examples of organelles include mitochondria and chloroplasts, which carry out indispensable functions: mitochondria produce energy to power the cell, while chloroplasts enable green plants to utilize the energy in sunlight to make sugars. All living things are made of cells; the cell    itself is the smallest fundamental unit of structure and function in living organisms. (This requirement is why viruses are not considered living: they are not made of cells. To make new viruses, they have to invade and hijack the reproductive mechanism of a living cell; only then can they obtain the materials they need to reproduce.) Some organisms consist of a single cell and others are multicellular. Cells are classified as prokaryotic or eukaryotic. Prokaryotes are single-celled or colonial organisms that do not have membrane-bound nuclei; in contrast, the cells of eukaryotes do have membrane-bound organelles and a membrane-bound nucleus.

In larger organisms, cells combine to make tissues , which are groups of similar cells carrying out similar or related functions. Organs are collections of tissues grouped together performing a common function. Organs are present not only in animals but also in plants. An organ system    is a higher level of organization that consists of functionally related organs. Mammals have many organ systems. For instance, the circulatory system transports blood through the body and to and from the lungs; it includes organs such as the heart and blood vessels. Organisms are individual living entities. For example, each tree in a forest is an organism. Single-celled prokaryotes and single-celled eukaryotes are also considered organisms and are typically referred to as microorganisms.

Questions & Answers

What is a ploidy level
Francis Reply
what do you guys understand about evolution?
Kiana Reply
it's a process or analayzing some program
Fahamia
but am not sure if some know plz let share
Fahamia
is a study of
Sarah
unfolding or unrolling hence the process of development of growth
Sarah
why are diagrams not available
Evans Reply
How can nucleotide molecules of DNA be constructed?construct a six molecules of DNA?
Julia Reply
describe the breathing mechanism in the body fish.
Jackson Reply
what is genetics.
Jackson
the study of hereditary
Julia
state the importance of biodiversity of organisms in an area?
Chris Reply
what is biology
Adam Reply
Biology is the study of living things.
Patrick
what are some of the branches of biology?
Jackson
anatomy,genetics,parasitology
Evans
what is meosis
Mabatho Reply
did you mean meiosis? meiosis this is the type of cell division where one diploid parent cell produces two daughter cells that are haploid and genetically different from the parent cell.
Patrick
thankyou
Mabatho
I'm struggling to understand genetics
Mabatho
Am also struggling as well
Patrick
nothing comes on a silver platter, you need to put effort in everything you are doing not forgetting God. study as if there is no tomorrow. "Suffer now and enjoy the future"
Patrick
true bro
Patrick
exactly brother
Odhiambo
Glory to God
Patrick
Thanks Pat🙏
Mabatho
you're welcome
Patrick
what's a nervous system
tessy Reply
what's the human brain
tessy
the structure of paramecium
Charity Reply
yes
Sarah
Ho
Nevers
what is endocytosis
Stephen Reply
what is the meaning of adrenocorticotropic
Abigail Reply
adrenocorticotropic is stimulating or acting on the adrenal cortex.
Belinda
ok thanks
Abigail
What is science of biology
Thando Reply
The study 📓 of leaving things
John
how does a parasite benefit from its mode of living?
Abuk Reply
why are the images n diagrams unable to be seen?
Abuk
where are the illustrations
Simon
a parasite gets protection, food, shelter
Anguson
human being
Jackson
what is Alimentary canal?
Princess Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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