Morphology (biology)


Morphology (biology)

In biology, morphology is a branch of bioscience dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

This includes aspects of the outward appearance (shape, structure, colour, pattern)[8] as well as the form and structure of the internal parts like bones and organs. This is in contrast to physiology, which deals primarily with function. Morphology is a branch of life science dealing with the study of gross structure of an organism or Taxon and its component parts.

Contents

Term

The word "morphology" is from the Greek μορφή, morphé = form and λόγος, lógos = word, study, research. The biological concept of morphology was developed by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1790) and independently by the German anatomist and physiologist Karl Friedrich Burdach (1800).

In English-speaking countries, the term "molecular morphology" has been used for some time for describing the structure of compound molecules, such as polymers [9] and RNA. The term "gross morphology" refers to the collective structures or an organism as a whole as a general description of the form and structure of an organism, taking into account all of its structures without specifying an individual structure.

Branches of morphology

  • Comparative Morphology is analysis of the patterns of the locus of structures within the body plan of an organism, and forms the basis of taxonomical catorization.
  • Functional Morphology is the study of the relationship between the structure and function of morphological features.
  • Experimental Morphology is study of the effects of external factors upon the morphology of organisms under experimental conditions, such as the effect of genetic mutation.

The field of morphology is divided into two distinct branches.

  • "Anatomy" is the study of the form and structure of internal features of an organism.
  • "Eidonomy" is the study of the form and structure of the external features of an organism.

Morphology and classification

Most taxa differ morphologically from other taxa. Typically, closely related taxa differ much less than more distantly related ones, but there are exceptions to this. Cryptic species are species which look very similar, or perhaps even outwardly identical, but are reproductively isolated. Conversely, sometimes unrelated taxa acquire a similar appearance as a result of convergent evolution or even mimicry. A further problem with relying on morphological data is that what may appear, morphologically speaking, to be two distinct species, may in fact be shown by DNA analysis to be a single species. The significance of these differences can be examined through the use of allometric engineering in which one or both species are manipulated to phenocopy the other species.

See also

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Morphology — may mean: Morphology (linguistics), the study of the structure and content of word forms Morphology (biology), the study of the form or shape of an organism or part thereof Morphology (molecular), study of how the shape and form of molecules… …   Wikipedia

  • Biology — • The science on life and living organisms Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Biology     Biology     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Morphology — Mor*phol o*gy, n. [Gr. morfh form + logy: cf. F. morphologie.] 1. (Biol.) That branch of biology which deals with the structure of animals and plants, treating of the forms of organs and describing their varieties, homologies, and metamorphoses.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • morphology — (n.) 1824 in biology (from Ger. Morphologie, 1817); 1869 in philology; from MORPHO (Cf. morpho ) + LOGY (Cf. logy). Related: Morphological; morphologist. Related: Morphologist …   Etymology dictionary

  • morphology — [môr fäl′ə jē] n. [Ger morphologie, coined (1822) by GOETHE Johann Wolfgang von < Gr morphē, form + Ger logie, LOGY] 1. the branch of biology that deals with the form and structure of animals and plants 2. a) the branch of linguistics that… …   English World dictionary

  • morphology — morphologic /mawr feuh loj ik/, morphological, adj. morphologically, adv. morphologist, n. /mawr fol euh jee/, n. 1. the branch of biology dealing with the form and structure of organisms. 2. the form and structure of an organism considered as a… …   Universalium

  • biology — /buy ol euh jee/, n. 1. the science of life or living matter in all its forms and phenomena, esp. with reference to origin, growth, reproduction, structure, and behavior. 2. the living organisms of a region: the biology of Pennsylvania. 3. the… …   Universalium

  • Biology — For other uses, see Biology (disambiguation). Biology deals with the study of the many varieties of living organisms. Cloc …   Wikipedia

  • Biology (Philosophy of) in the nineteenth century — Philosophy of biology in the nineteenth century Jagdish Hattiangadi THE PHILOSOPHY OF BIOLOGY The emergence of biology as a unified subject Students of history and of biology share a common delight: as they study the details of any subject, they… …   History of philosophy

  • morphology — noun Etymology: German Morphologie, from morph + logie logy Date: 1830 1. a. a branch of biology that deals with the form and structure of animals and plants b. the form and structure of an organism or any of its parts 2. a. a study and… …   New Collegiate Dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.