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If I asked you to describe the biological levels of organization, could you do it? What
would those levels be? Actually, what would be the point about caring about it in the
first place? Biological systems are composed of many levels. We care about them because
when these levels are analyzed, it’s possible to relate the levels not only to each other,
but the whole system. All of our videos tend to focus on one or more of these levels which
is why we have chosen to make this our first video in our biology playlist.
The first level that we are going to start with is the most basic, living level that
makes up all of life. It is…the cell. Can something be smaller than a cell? Sure. For
the cells that contain organelles, the organelles are obviously smaller than the cell they are
contained in. Biomolecules are smaller than cells. We learn about biomolecules as they
are major, nonliving components within cells. Atoms are smaller than a cell. You can even
get smaller than atoms when considering subatomic particles. But for this video, we’re going
to start at the cellular level, a basic living unit. It doesn’t matter whether you’re
a bacterium, arcaheon, fungus, protist, plant, or animal---if you’re alive, you are made
up of cells.
When you have a lot of cells that work together for a combined function, you end up with the
next level: tissues. An example of tissue includes cardiac muscle tissue, which would
be made up many cardiac muscle cells.
Tissues make up organs, which is our third level. You have a lot of organs in your body.
An example of an organ would include your heart.
When you have multiple organs working together in a body, you end up with an organ system.
Consider the digestive system. It includes your stomach, the small intestine, the large
intestine, liver, etc…these particular organs work together to help you digest your food
and use food for the energy you need for all kinds of cell processes. The digestive system
is just one example of an organ system.
But tie in all of the organ systems and what do you get? An individual. An organism. Like
you! Or, this platypus. He’s got organ systems too.
Put many platypus together…what’s the plural of platypus…according to dictionary.com,
you can say platypi which sounds especially fancy…and you have a population. This population
of platypi can breed with each other. They’re all the same species. It’s a platypi population.
That’s a great YouTube channel name right there.
But include other populations such as fish, algae, and plants along with the platypi and
now you have a community. A community includes many populations, but it does not include
abiotic features. Abiotic features are features that are nonliving. Like rocks. Abiotic factors
are NOT considered in the community level, just biotic factors. Biotic factors, on the
other hand, are living.
When abiotic factors are considered, such as the rocks, the temperature of this environment,
the water, and the biotic factors such as all the organisms we mentioned before, now
we have an ecosystem.
Well it turns out that many ecosystems can be found in different regions on the globe.
If talking about this collectively, you are at the level of biome. An example is a desert
biome or a rainforest biome. You will find desert ecosystems or rainforest ecosystems
in multiple places on the globe. When talking about a desert biome or rainforest biome,
you are considering these ecosystems.
What happens when you put all the biomes together? You are now considering our planet, the Earth---which
talking about the level of biosphere. The biosphere is the sum of all of these biomes---all
the areas where organisms live.
We’re finished with our tour of the biological levels of organization, but this is just an
overview. The more biology you learn, the more you will discover how these levels relate
to each other…and the whole system. That’s it for the Amoeba Sisters and we remind you
to stay curious!