All living organisms re-publishing several vital characteristics or functions: order, sensitivity or an answer to the environment, reproduction, growth and also development, regulation, homeostasis, and also energy processing. Once viewed together, these characteristics serve to define life.

You are watching: Explain how the properties of life emerge from complex organization


Figure 1. A toad to represent a extremely organized framework consisting that cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems.

Organisms are highly organized, coordinated frameworks that consists one or more cells. Even an extremely simple, single-celled organisms space remarkably complex: within each cell, atoms comprise molecules; this in turn consist of cell organelles and also other moving inclusions.

In multicellular organisms (Figure 1), similar cells form tissues. Tissues, in turn, collaborate to create organs (body structures with a distinctive function). Organs work together to form organ systems.

Sensitivity or response to Stimuli

Figure 2. The leaves of this perceptible plant (Mimosa pudica) will certainly instantly droop and also fold when touched. After ~ a couple of minutes, the tree returns to normal. (credit: Alex Lomas)

Organisms answer to varied stimuli. Because that example, plants deserve to bend towards a source of light, rise on fences and walls, or respond to touch (Figure 2). Even tiny bacteria can move toward or away from chemicals (a procedure called chemotaxis) or irradiate (phototaxis). Movement toward a economic stimulation is considered a hopeful response, while movement away native a stimulus is considered a negative response.

Watch this video clip to see how plants respond to a stimulus—from opened to light, to pack a tendril approximately a branch, to catching prey.


Single-celled biology reproduce by first duplicating your DNA, and then splitting it equally together the cell prepares to divide to form two new cells. Multicellular organisms frequently produce dedicated reproductive germline cells the will form new individuals. Once reproduction occurs, genes containing DNA space passed follow me to one organism’s offspring. These gene ensure that the offspring will certainly belong to the same varieties and will certainly have similar characteristics, such together size and also shape.


All life organisms exhibition a “fit” to their environment. Biologists describe this fit as adaptation, and also it is a repercussion of advancement by organic selection, which operates in every lineage of reproducing organisms. Examples of adaptations are diverse and unique, native heat-resistant Archaea that live in boiling warm springs come the tongue size of a nectar-feeding moth that matches the dimension of the flower indigenous which the feeds. Every adaptations enhance the reproductive potential that the people exhibiting them, consisting of their capacity to survive to reproduce. Adaptations space not constant. Together an setting changes, natural an option causes the characteristics of the people in a population to track those changes.

Growth and Development

Figure 3. Back no two look alike, these puppies have inherited genes from both parents and share plenty of of the very same characteristics.

Organisms grow and develop following certain instructions coded for by your genes. This genes provide instructions the will straight cellular growth and development, ensuring the a species’ young (Figure 3) will grow up to exhibit countless of the same qualities as that is parents.


Even the the smallest organisms are facility and need multiple regulation mechanisms come coordinate internal functions, respond to stimuli, and also cope with ecological stresses. Two instances of internal attributes regulated in an organism space nutrient transport and also blood flow. Guts (groups of tissues functioning together) perform details functions, together as moving oxygen transparent the body, remove wastes, transporting nutrients come every cell, and cooling the body.


Figure 4. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and other mammals life in ice-covered regions preserve their human body temperature by generating heat and reducing warmth loss with thick fur and also a dense layer of fat under their skin. (credit: “longhorndave”/Flickr)

In order to duty properly, cells must have suitable conditions together as appropriate temperature, pH, and also appropriate concentration of varied chemicals. These conditions may, however, adjust from one minute to the next. Organisms room able to maintain internal conditions within a narrow variety almost constantly, regardless of environmental changes, through homeostasis (literally, “steady state”)—the ability of an organism to maintain constant internal conditions. Because that example, one organism demands to regulate body temperature v a procedure known as thermoregulation. Organisms the live in cold climates, such together the polar be afflicted with (Figure 4), have actually body structures that assist them stand up to low temperatures and also conserve body heat. Structures that assist in this kind of insulation encompass fur, feathers, blubber, and also fat. In hot climates, organisms have actually methods (such as perspiration in human beings or panting in dogs) that assist them to shed excess human body heat.


Figure 5. The California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) offers chemical energy derived from food to power flight. California condors are an endangered species. This bird has actually a soup tag the helps biologists recognize the individual.

Energy Processing

All organisms use a source of power for their metabolic activities. Part organisms capture energy from the sun and also convert it right into chemical power in food (photosynthesis); others usage chemical power in molecule they take in together food (cellular respiration).

See more: Which Statement Best Describes Cellular Respiration? Cellular Respiration Flashcards


The diversity of life on planet is a result of mutations, or random alters in hereditary product over time. This mutations enable the possibility for biology to adapt to a transforming environment. An organism that evolves qualities fit for the setting will have greater reproductive success, topic to the forces of organic selection.