There are many sciences
Physical Sciences study things that are not living:
Astronomy studies the stars and planets and space and the solar system!
Geology studies the earth.
Chemistry studies matter, the elements and compounds that make it up.
Physics studies energy.
Organic Chemistry studies the compounds of carbon.
Inorganic Chemistry studies the compounds of all the other elements.
Life Sciences study things that are alive:
Botany studies plants.
Zoology studies animals.
Microbiology studies tiny tiny living things like bacteria.
Biology studies all living things.
Ecology studies their environment and their relations with each other.
Physiology studies living functions like digestion and circulation.
Biochemistry studies the chemistry of life.
Cell Biology and Cytology study the cells that make up complex living things.
Anatomy studies the structure of living things.
Morphology studies the form of living things.
Taxonomy and Systematics study the classification of living things.
Mycology studies the fungi.
Bacteriology studies the bacteria.
Ornithology studies birds.
Entomology studies insects.
Genetics studies inheritance.
What kind of living thing is This? What sciences study what you see here?
Why do you think that this is true? What would you do if you were a scientist
making a study of what you see? What if you were to study what is going on?
What is your guess about what is happening? How could you test your ideas?
This is a picture of the Kern River in winter. Biology is the science that studies the
living things here. Botany studies the plants, grass, trees, shrubs, algae in the water.
Zoology studies the animals. Microbiology and Bacteriology study the microscopic life.
Geology studies the earth, rocks, erosion, etc.. This river is gradually washing away
the rocks and soil. Historical Geology studies these geological processes as they
take place over thousands of years. These plants are part of a biotic community, a
community of living things. These communities are usually named after the dominant
(the biggest) plant. In this case the dominant (biggest plants) are willow trees. These
willow tree communities have been living along rivers like this for more than 50 million
years. We can prove this by examining chemical changes in fossil rocks left behind in
rivers like this more than 50 million years ago. The study of fossils like this involves a
branch of Geology called Paleontology. The study of this environment and the living
things that make it up is done by a branch of Biology known as Ecology.
This Willow Tree Community is part of a natural environment that includes the river,
the sand in the river, the sunshine that falls on the river, the atmosphere above the
river. The relationship between the living things and the non-living things, the geology
and the biology, creates a system, a natural machine, that we call an "ECOSYSTEM."
Can you think of some other natural communities, biotic communities, ecosystems? Is
there an ecosystem in your backyard, at your school? If there is, what kind of a
community, an ecosystem is it? How would you go about studying it? What books
would you read before you studied it? What sciences would you study? What would
you look for? How would you look? What equipment might you need?
What science might measure the energy in this river water? What instruments would
be needed? How would you do it? For more click page two