In biology, biological specificity is the tendency of a characteristic such as a behavior or a biochemical variation to occur in a particular species.
Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their physical structure, chemical processes, molecular interactions, physiological mechanisms, development and evolution. Despite the complexity of the science, there are certain unifying concepts that consolidate it into a single, coherent field. Biology recognizes the cell as the basic unit of life, genes as the basic unit of heredity, and evolution as the engine that propels the creation and extinction of species. Living organisms are open systems that survive by transforming energy and decreasing their local entropy to maintain a stable and vital condition defined as homeostasis.
Behavior or behaviour is the range of actions and mannerisms made by individuals, organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with themselves or their environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the (inanimate) physical environment. It is the computed response of the system or organism to various stimuli or inputs, whether internal or external, conscious or subconscious, overt or covert, and voluntary or involuntary.
In biology, a species ( ) is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate sexes or mating types can produce fertile offspring, typically by sexual reproduction. Other ways of defining species include their karyotype, DNA sequence, morphology, behaviour or ecological niche. In addition, paleontologists use the concept of the chronospecies since fossil reproduction cannot be examined. While these definitions may seem adequate, when looked at more closely they represent problematic species concepts. For example, the boundaries between closely related species become unclear with hybridisation, in a species complex of hundreds of similar microspecies, and in a ring species. Also, among organisms that reproduce only asexually, the concept of a reproductive species breaks down, and each clone is potentially a microspecies.
Biochemist Linus Pauling stated that "Biological specificity is the set of characteristics of living organisms or constituents of living organisms of being special or doing something special. Each animal or plant species is special. It differs in some way from all other species... biological specificity is the major problem about understanding life."
Linus Carl Pauling was an American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author, educator, and husband of American human rights activist Ava Helen Pauling. He published more than 1,200 papers and books, of which about 850 dealt with scientific topics. New Scientist called him one of the 20 greatest scientists of all time, and as of 2000, he was rated the 16th most important scientist in history.
Characteristics may further be described as being interspecific, intraspecific, and conspecific.
Interspecificity (literally between/among species), or being interspecific, describes issues between individuals of separate species. These may include:
Interspecies communication is communication between different species of animals, plants, or microorganisms.
Interspecific competition, in ecology, is a form of competition in which individuals of different species compete for the same resources in an ecosystem. This can be contrasted with interspecific cooperation, a type of symbiosis. Competition between members of the same species is called intraspecific competition.
Interspecific feeding refers to behaviour reported in wild animals, particularly birds where adults of one species feed the young of another species. This usually excludes the case of birds feeding brood parasites. The behaviour has been of theoretical interest since it appears to be provide little evolutionary benefit to the feeding bird. Some researchers have suggested that it is mainly male birds that are lured into feeding a fledgling that begs
Intraspecificity (literally within species), or being intraspecific, describes behaviors, biochemical variations and other issues within individuals of a single species. These may include:
Intraspecific antagonism means a disharmonious or antagonistic interaction between two individuals of the same species. As such, it could be a sociological term, but was actually coined by Alan Rayner and Norman Todd working at Exeter University in the late 1970s, to characterise a particular kind of zone line formed between wood-rotting fungal mycelia. Intraspecific antagonism is one of the expressions of a phenomenon known as vegetative or somatic incompatibility.
Intraspecific competition is an interaction in population ecology, whereby members of the same species compete for limited resources. This leads to a reduction in fitness for both individuals. By contrast, interspecific competition occurs when members of different species compete for a shared resource. Members of the same species have very similar resources requirements whereas different species have a smaller contested resource overlap, resulting in intraspecific competition generally being a stronger force than interspecific competition.
Two or more individual organisms, populations, or taxa are conspecific if they belong to the same species.Where different species can interbreed and their gametes compete, the conspecific gametes take precedence over heterospecific gametes. This is known as conspecific sperm precedence, or conspecific pollen precedence in plants.
The antonym of conspecificity is the term heterospecificity: two individuals are heterospecific if they are considered to belong to different biological species.
Congeners are organisms within the same genus.
|Look up interspecific or intraspecific in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
Mendelian inheritance is a type of biological inheritance that follows the laws originally proposed by Gregor Mendel in 1865 and 1866 and re-discovered in 1900. These laws were initially controversial. When Mendel's theories were integrated with the Boveri–Sutton chromosome theory of inheritance by Thomas Hunt Morgan in 1915, they became the core of classical genetics. Ronald Fisher combined these ideas with the theory of natural selection in his 1930 book The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, putting evolution onto a mathematical footing and forming the basis for population genetics within the modern evolutionary synthesis.
Ploidy is the number of complete sets of chromosomes in a cell, and hence the number of possible alleles for autosomal and pseudoautosomal genes.
Reproduction is the biological process by which new individual organisms – "offspring" – are produced from their "parents". Reproduction is a fundamental feature of all known life; each individual organism exists as the result of reproduction. There are two forms of reproduction: asexual and sexual.
Organisms of many species are specialized into male and female varieties, each known as a sex. Sexual reproduction involves the combining and mixing of genetic traits: specialized cells known as gametes combine to form offspring that inherit traits from each parent. The gametes produced by an organism define its sex: males produce small gametes while females produce large gametes. Individual organisms which produce both male and female gametes are termed hermaphroditic. Gametes can be identical in form and function, but, in many cases, an asymmetry has evolved such that two different types of gametes (heterogametes) exist.
Biological systematics is the study of the diversification of living forms, both past and present, and the relationships among living things through time. Relationships are visualized as evolutionary trees. Phylogenies have two components: branching order and branch length. Phylogenetic trees of species and higher taxa are used to study the evolution of traits and the distribution of organisms (biogeography). Systematics, in other words, is used to understand the evolutionary history of life on Earth.
In biology, a hybrid is the offspring resulting from combining the qualities of two organisms of different breeds, varieties, species or genera through sexual reproduction. Hybrids are not always intermediates between their parents, but can show hybrid vigour, sometimes growing larger or taller than either parent. The concept of a hybrid is interpreted differently in animal and plant breeding, where there is interest in the individual parentage. In genetics, attention is focused on the numbers of chromosomes. In taxonomy, a key question is how closely related the parent species are.
In ecology, a biological interaction is the effect that a pair of organisms living together in a community have on each other. They can be either of the same species, or of different species. These effects may be short-term, like pollination and predation, or long-term; both often strongly influence the evolution of the species involved. A long-term interaction is called a symbiosis. Symbioses range from mutualism, beneficial to both partners, to competition, harmful to both partners. Interactions can be indirect, through intermediaries such as shared resources or common enemies.
This glossary of ecology is a list of definitions of terms and topics in ecology and related fields. For more specific definitions from other glossaries related to ecology, see Glossary of biology and Glossary of environmental science.
Anisogamy is the form of sexual reproduction that involves the union or fusion of two gametes, which differ in size and/or form.. The smaller gamete is considered to be male, whereas the larger gamete is regarded as female.
The philosophy of biology is a subfield of philosophy of science, which deals with epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical issues in the biological and biomedical sciences. Although philosophers of science and philosophers generally have long been interested in biology, philosophy of biology only emerged as an independent field of philosophy in the 1960s and 1970s. Philosophers of science then began paying increasing attention to biology, from the rise of Neodarwinism in the 1930s and 1940s to the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953 to more recent advances in genetic engineering. Other key ideas include the reduction of all life processes to biochemical reactions, and the incorporation of psychology into a broader neuroscience.
Conservation genetics is an interdisciplinary subfield of Population Genetics that aims to understand the dynamics of genes in populations principally to avoid extinction. Therefore, it applies genetic methods to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. Researchers involved in conservation genetics come from a variety of fields including population genetics, molecular ecology, biology, evolutionary biology, and systematics. Genetic diversity is one of the three fundamental levels of biodiversity, so it is directly important in conservation. Genetic variability influences both the health and long-term survival of populations because decreased genetic diversity has been associated with reduced fitness, such as high juvenile mortality, diminished population growth, reduced immunity, and ultimately, higher extinction risk.
Émile Zuckerkandl was an Austrian-born French biologist considered one of the founders of the field of molecular evolution. He is best known for introducing, with Linus Pauling, the concept of the "molecular clock", which enabled the neutral theory of molecular evolution.
Competition is an interaction between organisms or species in which both the organisms or species are harmed. Limited supply of at least one resource used by both can be a factor. Competition both within and between species is an important topic in ecology, especially community ecology. Competition is one of many interacting biotic and abiotic factors that affect community structure. Competition among members of the same species is known as intraspecific competition, while competition between individuals of different species is known as interspecific competition. Competition is not always straightforward, and can occur in both a direct and indirect fashion.
Species use restricted ecological niches, and the niches of all species are segregated, often with much overlap, by the use of different habitats, different geographic areas and seasons, and different food resources, to mention only a few of the many niche dimensions. The causes of niche restriction and segregation are important problems in evolutionary ecology.
The mechanisms of reproductive isolation are a collection of evolutionary mechanisms, behaviors and physiological processes critical for speciation. They prevent members of different species from producing offspring, or ensure that any offspring are sterile. These barriers maintain the integrity of a species by reducing gene flow between related species.
Bacteriophages (phages), potentially the most numerous "organisms" on Earth, are the viruses of bacteria. Phage ecology is the study of the interaction of bacteriophages with their environments.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to ecology:
In the study of the biological sciences, biocommunication is any specific type of communication within (intraspecific) or between (interspecific) species of plants, animals, fungi, protozoa and microorganisms. Communication basically means sign-mediated interactions following three levels of rules. Signs in most cases are chemical molecules (semiochemicals), but also tactile, or as in animals also visual and auditive. Biocommunication of animals may include vocalizations, or pheromone production, chemical signals between plants and animals, and chemically mediated communication between plants and within plants.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to evolution:
|Look up conspecific or confamilial in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|This evolution-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|