Branches of biology: what they are and what they study - Meanings

Branches of biology: what they are and what they study - Meanings
Posted on 10-02-2022

Biology areas

What are the branches of biology?

The branches of biology are the different fields into which biology is divided to facilitate its study.

Biology is the science that studies all living beings, their characteristics, their vital functions, their relationship with other living organisms, and how their presence affects the environment.

These are the main branches that makeup biology:


Try to understand the functioning of living organisms, differentiating the parts and systems that compose them and the role that each one plays. Physiology can reveal the presence of abnormalities or diseases due to a malfunction in biological systems, which is why it is very present in the medicine.


It studies the organization, internal and external, of a living being, analyzing its shape, its characteristics, and the variations it may undergo over time. Knowledge of morphology contributes to the classification of living beings and the discovery of new species.

human biology

Its object of study is the alterations that the human being has suffered either through time or as a result of the climate, in its morphology and its genetics. It is closely linked to health biology, which focuses on the health of the human body and disease prevention.


It examines the development of embryos, from fertilization to birth. Thanks to this branch it is possible to identify malformations and genetic defects. It allows us to know the different changes that occur at each stage of development.


It is the part of biology that analyzes the functioning of the nervous system and its cells to understand the biological processes related to the mind, such as behavior and intelligence.


It is the discipline that studies the structure of living beings, the different parts that form them, their functions, and the connection between all these elements to understand their functioning. Categories such as histology, which studies tissues, belong to this branch.

Cell biology or cytology

It is the part of biology that has as its object of study the cell as the basic unit of life, its parts, functions, and behavior.


Molecular biology

He bases his studies on the molecules involved in the functioning of cells, such as nucleic acids (DNA) and proteins. He studies possible genetic modifications in order to improve or alter processes. He is very present in fields such as pharmacology, nutrition, and the food industry.


Study the transmission of genes between generations. These genes contain information about the characteristics that the individual has inherited and about the diseases that they may suffer in the future. This information is encoded in the DNA present in the cell nucleus.


Part of biology studies the chemical elements that make up living beings and the chemical reactions that take place in their organism. In this case, biology uses chemistry as an auxiliary science to explain functions such as respiration or metabolism. It is closely linked to molecular biology.


It interprets the biological functions of living beings through methods of physics, which acts as an auxiliary science. We can take as an example the movement of the skeleton or the reproduction of a cell.

It systematizes biological processes to better understand their functioning. This provides measurement systems for the diagnosis of diseases, such as visual acuity tests to detect vision problems.


This branch is dedicated to studying microorganisms and their activity. Try to identify the beneficial ones, such as the microorganisms contained in yogurt, and the harmful ones, such as salmonella. Disciplines such as virology, which studies viruses, or bacteriology, which deals with bacteria, depend on this area.


This branch studies the mechanisms that living beings have to defend themselves against external attacks such as viruses, bacteria and other disease-causing agents. This defense identifies and combats the agents that generate the ailment. Immunology also investigates disorders that affect the immune system and possible treatments.


It studies the relationship between a parasite and its host, that is, an organism that lives in another living being and is sustained by it. It also covers possible damage and diseases that can be generated as a result, as is the case with toxoplasmosis, a disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma sp.

Developmental biology or ontogeny

It focuses its study on the development of the living being as an individual, from formation or fertilization to old age, analyzing its structure in each phase of the process.

evolutionary biology

It studies the transformations that living beings undergo over time and generations. It uses disciplines such as phylogeny, which analyzes changes at the group level, by species, and uses tools such as cladistics and taxonomy to classify them.



It addresses the biological cycles of living beings, closely associated with natural cycles, and their effects on organic functions in certain contexts. An example would be the relationship between the lunar cycle and the menstrual cycle or the relationship between the sleep cycle and circadian rhythms. Provides an explanation for certain ailments caused by the alteration of these cycles.


Submit living organisms to low temperatures to observe their behavior. Cryobiology and its studies have allowed the development of techniques for the preservation of organic matter for different purposes, such as long-term food preservation or organ transplantation.


Biology and psychology join forces to analyze the behavior of animals in their environment, whether in nature or in captivity. Try to map behavior in various circumstances. Their instincts, their relationships, their interaction with the environment, or their evolution are the object of study in this branch.


This branch is responsible for the relationships between living beings with the environment. Areas such as edaphology, which studies the soil, or bioclimatology, which investigates the relationship between climate and living beings, make up this branch. Its objective is to protect biodiversity and the environment.

Environmental biology

It deals with the relationship of living organisms with the ecosystem and analyzes the impact caused by human beings on the environment and the possible solutions to reduce it.


A branch that interprets the effects of climate on biological cycles. We can point out the migration of some species at a certain time of the year, the flowering of the trees, or the coloration of their leaves with the change of season. This discipline provides a great service to the agricultural industry.

aquatic biology

The object of his study is the living beings that inhabit the bodies of water. It encompasses categories such as marine biology, which focuses on the organisms present in the seas and oceans, or limnology, which studies the beings that inhabit continental water masses such as lakes and marshes.


It is responsible for the study and classification of plants. It is one of the fundamental branches of biology due to the importance of plant life in nature. It is also essential for the agricultural and pharmaceutical sectors.


It is in charge of studying the structure of fungi and classifying them. It studies their morphology, their mode of reproduction, their location, the role they play in the environment, their medicinal properties, or the negative effects they may have on other organisms. Mushrooms are extremely important in medicine and gastronomy.


It is the branch of biology devoted to animals. It describes the characteristics that define the animal, its behavior, its relationships with other animals, and its environment. Within zoology, we can find subcategories that study animals by species, such as ichthyology, which is dedicated to the study of fish, or mammalogy, which focuses on mammals.


It is the science that studies fossils, remains of organisms that existed in past times, and that was petrified, that is, preserved in rocks. This discipline facilitates the recreation of already extinct species, their way of life, their evolutionary changes and allows knowing the reasons for extinction.


This is the name given to the use of living systems to produce other types of products. Fermented products such as grapes to produce wine, drugs such as antibiotics, or fuels such as biodiesel are some examples.

Its field of study is broad, so it is divided into categories named with colors, such as green biotechnology, which is the one used in the agricultural sector.


It is responsible for examining the cosmos and the circumstances that led to the appearance of life on our planet. Investigate if there are similar circumstances in the rest of the universe that could be conducive to the emergence of life.


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