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Living Organisms Viewed at Different Structures of Organization

The concept of organization is so fundamental to biology that the term organism can be applied to all living things.

Organisms in Order



An atom is the smallest component of an element that has the chemical properties of the element. All matter is composed of atoms.

Molecules & Macromolecules

Atoms bond with each other to form molecules. When many molecules bond together to form a polymer, this is called a macromolecule. Carbohydrates, proteins, and nucleic acids (for example DNA & RNA) are important macromolecules found in living organisms.


Molecules and macromolecules associate with each other to form larger structures such as membranes. A cell is formed from the association of these larger structures.


Multicellular organisms such as plants and animals, many cells of the same type associate with each other to form tissues. An example is a muscle tissue


An organ is composed of two or more types of tissue. For example, the heart of a parrot is composed of several types of tissues, including muscle, nervous, and connective tissue.


All living things can be called organisms. A single organism possesses the set of characteristics that define life. Biologists classify organisms as belonging to a particular species, which is a related group of organisms that share a distinctive form and set of attributes in nature.


A group of organisms of the same species that occupy the same environment is called a population.


A biological community is an assemblage of populations of different species. The types of species that are found in a community are determined by the environment and by the interactions of species with each other.


Ecologists analyze ecosystems, which are formed by interactions of a community of organisms with their physical environment.


The biosphere includes all of the places on the Earth where living organisms exist, encompassing the air, water, and land.


The hierarchy of biological classification's eight major taxonomic ranks. Intermediate minor rankings are not shown.
The hierarchy of biological classification’s eight major taxonomic ranks. Intermediate minor rankings are not shown.

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