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Encyclopedia > Systematics

Biological systematics is the study of the diversity of life on the planet earth, both past and present, and the relationships among living things through time. Systematics, in other words, is used to understand the evolutionary history of life on earth. For other uses, see Life (disambiguation), Lives (disambiguation) or Living (disambiguation), Living Things (disambiguation). ...

The term "systematics" is sometimes used synonymously with "taxonomy" and may be confused with "scientific classification." However, taxonomy is properly the describing, identifying, classifying, and naming of organisms, while "classification" is focused on placing organisms within groups that show their relationships to other organisms. All of these biological disciplines can be involved with extinct and extant organisms. However, systematics alone deals specifically with relationships through time, requiring recognition of the fossil record when dealing with the systematics of organisms. Look up taxonomy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Scientific classification or biological classification is a method by which biologists group and categorize species of organisms. ...

Systematics uses taxonomy as a primary tool in understanding organisms, as nothing about an organism's relationships with other living things can be understood without it first being properly studied and described in sufficient detail to identify and classify it correctly. Scientific classifications are aids in recording and reporting information to other scientists and to laymen. The systematist, a scientist who specializes in systematics, must, therefore, be able to use existing classification systems, or at least know them well enough to skillfully justify not using them.

Phenetic systematics involves clarifying the biodiversity of earth through time by using the morphology and physiology of the organisms, while phylogenetic systematics, also called cladistics, uses apomorphies, or evolutionarily novel characteristics, to group earth's various organisms and their relationships through time. Today systematists generally make extensive use of molecular genetics and computer programs to study organisms. Rainforests are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on earth Biodiversity or biological diversity is the variation of taxonomic life forms within a given ecosystem, biome or for the entire Earth. ... Comparative anatomy is the study of similarities and differences in organisms. ... Leonardo da Vincis Vitruvian Man, an important early achievement in the study of physiology. ... It has been suggested that Clade be merged into this article or section. ... This cladogram shows the relationship among various insect groups. ... Molecular genetics is the field of biology which studies the structure and function of genes at a molecular level. ... A computer program (often simply called a program) is an example of computer software that prescribes the actions (computations) that are to be carried out by a computer. ...

Systematics is fundamental to biology because it is the foundation for all studies of organisms, by showing how any organism relates to other living things.

Systematics is also of major importance in understanding conservation issues because it attempts to explain the earth's biodiversity and could be used to assist in allocating limited means to preserve and protect endangered species, by looking at, for example, the genetic diversity among various taxa of plants or animals and deciding how much of that it is necessary to preserve.

See also

It has been suggested that Clade be merged into this article or section. ... This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims. ... In biology, phylogenetics (Greek: phylon = tribe, race and genetikos = relative to birth, from genesis = birth) is the study of evolutionary relatedness among various groups of organisms (e. ... Scientific classification or biological classification is a method by which biologists group and categorize species of organisms. ... Look up taxonomy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

External link

  • Tree of Life


  • Society of Australian Systematic Biologists
  • Simpson, Michael G. 2005. Plant Systematics, 0126444609.

  Results from FactBites:
Molecular systematics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1552 words)
Molecular systematics is a phrase that might be used to indicate that branch of the traditional field of systematics that utilizes data obtained by "molecular techniques".
Molecular systematics is an essentially cladistic approach: it assumes that classification must correspond to phylogenetic descent, and that all valid taxa must be at least paraphyletic and preferably monophyletic.
Molecular systematics often uses the molecular clock assumption that quantitative similarity of genotype is a sufficient measure of the recency of genetic divergence.
Systematics - definition of Systematics in Encyclopedia (107 words)
Systematics is the study of the diversity of organism characteristics.
In biology, systematists are the scientists who classify species and other taxa, which they do with the aim of defining how they relate evolutionarily.
Subfields: population genetics - ecological genetics - molecular evolution - phylogenetics - systematics - evo-devo
  More results at FactBites »



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