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With the aid of specific examples, describe the concept of a hierarchy of biological organization. What is meant by the phrase the whole is greater than the sum of its parts?

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BIO156 Karin Estell September 15, 2012 Question: With the aid of specific examples, describe the concept of a hierarchy of biological organization. What is meant by the phrase ?the whole is greater than the sum of its parts?? Answer: In an attempt to appreciate the world from a biological view of molecules, cells, and atoms; the study in which these properties build upon each other, called emergent properties, aid in understanding the human body and other life forms and the functions that nonliving matter contribute that assist to support life. Using the concept of biology to study life, we are able to place life into specific hierarchical levels of biological organization. Understanding how each level in this hierarchy and the outside elements work together to perform the many functions of sustaining and supporting life can sum up the phrase, ?the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? be understood. ...read more.


The remaining levels of the hierarchy are just as important for reproduction and evolving for sustaining life which helps define the phrase, ?the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.? The last levels of organization self-regulate its function for homeostasis. Homeostasis is the regulation of internal chemical processes in living organisms which maintain a constant environment. These levels of biological organization are the organism; the organ system, such as the circulatory system; organs such as kidney, brain, or heart. The organ such as the kidney plays a vital role in its job of self-regulating. The kidneys produce hormones for the function of other organs. ?The kidneys also produce hormones that affect the function of other organs? and ?Other hormones produced by the kidneys help regulate blood pressure and control calcium metabolism? (?Why Are the Kidneys So Important? n.d.). Without this type of self-regulation, living organisms will not be able to function. ...read more.


Internal organs also help sustain life and when all the systems work together through chemical process, the organism is in homeostasis. If vital organs cannot perform its specific function, then all other organs will cease to function or exist. I apply the hierarchical organization method in my daily life with regard to my job. Every department has a specific function that is performed so that the next department can perform its function like emergent properties. Ultimately, the greater whole is the service delivery to our clients every day. Each department is aware of what the other department?s specific duty and is knowledgeable with regard to how each department within the organization is interconnected to maintain a departmental homeostasis. Every day while at work, I am affected by the living organisms such as clients and co-workers; and I am affected by nonliving matter such as computers, paper, and department policies. The chain of command within my job?s organization is also a hierarchy of organization. Reference New York (NY) National Kidney Foundation 2012, Why Are the Kidneys So Important. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease/howkidneyswrk.cfm ...read more.

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