Organization of Life – The Hierarchy

It’s not a new fact that the smallest unit of living and non-living things is an atom. Along the largest is the biosphere and beyond that is the universe.

In case of the arrangement of living organisms, the organization of life starts with the cell organelle ascending upto the biosphere. Ofcourse, the cell organelles work with the help of various metabolic activities carried out by macromolecules and single molecules consisting of their respective atoms. But they are not included in the category of living things.

The hierarchy of life on the biosphere which we know – Earth is a simple diagram that shows us it’s where we fit in. The hierarchy starts with the simplest unit i.e., an atom. The next levels are put forth according to complex nature of each level.

Importance: The very basic concept of emergence reveals the principle of this organization of life. Which means that the smaller levels of this particular system combine and working together to get the higher levels. Hence, whatever property is exhibited by the smaller level is what makes the higher level.

The different fields of biology today use this concept or hierarchy of organizations of life to continue their research. Without this particular system, the study of different biotechnologies is not possible by man. Biochemical advancement is not possible with the knowledge of this concept.

For eg: If we take a basic example – the complete subject of pharmacology is impossible without understanding the hierarchy of life on earth. The medicine and medical improvement research happen to be based on knowing the diseases or issues at the very basic level which are cells and their metabolism. This has helped us in producing modern medicine.

Let us see the Organization of Life in an ascending order which makes it easier to explain.

Non-living Components

There are subatomic particles like electrons, protons, and neutrons. And we could go at micro nano levels too. But we will start with atoms to explain the hierarchy.

  1. Atoms: it’s the smallest unit of any substance in the entire world. Atom is made of neutrons, protons, and electrons. The number of electrons and protons in an atom decides what kind it is starting with Hydrogen in the periodic table which has only 1 electron and 1 proton
  2. Molecules: it’s a group of atoms which are attracted together to bind together in strong or weak bonds.
  3. Biomolecules: there are specific molecules which are required for living organisms called biomolecules. These help in different metabolic activities happening in a living body. Biomolecules are naturally found in the environment or are synthesized in the body.

Living components

  1. Organelle: these are a specific section in the where biomolecules are used or synthesized. Several biochemical reactions happen in this particular space. Each organelle has its own lipid layered membranes to enclose all the reaction in them.
  2. Cell: cells are the basic unit of life in which each has its own set of organelles in it. All the organelles have their own function and collaborate with each other taking care of the requirements of the cells.
  3. Tissue: Cluster of the same group of cells functioning at its own. Cell to cell interaction can be seen in a tissue.
  4. Organ: Group of tissue which cluster up to become functional and work with specific goal.
  5. Organ systems: the organs connect together to work for a specific goal creating an organ system.
  6. Organism: it’s an independent living system which comprises at least one cell or more.
  7. Population: it’s a cluster of organisms of the same species associated together.
  8. Biocoenosis or Community: 2 or more species assemble in a particular geographical area interacting each other.
  9. Ecosystem: According to a particular environment, a group of organisms collaborate and survive as an ecosystem. This depends on the nonliving environment surrounding the organism.
  10. Biome: it’s a community of ecosystem which survives in common environment. There are 2 major subdivisions for a biome. They are Terrestrial and Marine. But again there are a number of subdivisions for these 2 which include types like Tropical, Tundra, desert, Pelecypod, Coral etc.
  11. Biosphere: biosphere is the collection of all ecosystem. Earth is one biosphere where you can find all the living ecosystem that we know exist.

All the living organisms we find are a small part of this hierarchy. It took a ton of research, which meant a lot of time and work to put forth this organization from a single atom to a biosphere which is the most complicated one. The hierarchy of organizations of life, help us to understand that we humans are not the dominant beings present in this world. This world belongs to much more than we can think of. Also, we need a mutual relationship with each segment of the hierarchical levels.