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Morphology is a branch of
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
dealing with the study of the form and structure of
organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological ...

organism
s and their specific structural features. This includes aspects of the outward appearance (
shape A shape or figure is the form of an object or its external boundary, outline, or external Surface (mathematics), surface, as opposed to other properties such as color, Surface texture, texture, or material type. A plane shape, two-dimensional s ...

shape
,
structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. ...

structure
,
colour Color (American English) or colour (Commonwealth English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property corresponding in humans to the categories called ''blue'', ''green'', ''red'', etc. Color derives from the sp ...

colour
,
pattern A pattern is a regularity in the world, in human-made design, or in abstract ideas. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner. A geometric pattern is a kind of pattern formed of geometric Geometry (from the grc, ...

pattern
,
size Size in general is the Magnitude (mathematics), magnitude or dimensions of a thing. More specifically, ''geometrical size'' (or ''spatial size'') can refer to linear dimensions (length, width, height, diameter, perimeter), area, or volume. ...

size
), i.e. external morphology (or
eidonomyEidonomy is the study of the external appearance of an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biology, properties of life. ...
), as well as the form and structure of the internal parts like
bones
bones
and
organs An organ is a group of tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's tissues can be broadly categorized as parenchyma Parenchyma () is the bulk of functional ...

organs
, i.e. internal morphology (or
anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organisms and their parts. Anatomy is a branch of natural science which deals with the structural organization of living things. It ...

anatomy
). This is in contrast to
physiology Physiology (; ) is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...
, which deals primarily with function. Morphology is a branch of
life science Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes, such as signaling In signal processing Signal processing is an electrical engineering subfield that focuses on analysing, modifying, a ...
dealing with the study of gross structure of an
organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological ...

organism
or
taxon In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechani ...
and its component parts.


History

The
etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English ''The'' () is a grammatical article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identi ...
of the word "morphology" is from the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
(), meaning "form", and (), meaning "word, study, research". While the concept of form in biology, opposed to
function Function or functionality may refer to: Computing * Function key A function key is a key on a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern comp ...
, dates back to Aristotle (see
Aristotle's biology Among Aristotle's many observations of marine biology was that the Octopus macropus, octopus can Deimatic behaviour, change colour when disturbed. Aristotle's biology is the theory of biology, grounded in systematic observation and collection of ...
), the field of morphology was developed by
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of G ...

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(1790) and independently by the German anatomist and physiologist
Karl Friedrich Burdach Karl Friedrich Burdach (12 June 1776 – 16 July 1847) was a German physiologist. He was born in Leipzig and died in Königsberg. He was the first to use the word "biology" and was a pioneer of neuroanatomy. Life Burdach came from a family o ...

Karl Friedrich Burdach
(1800). Among other important theorists of morphology are
Lorenz Oken Lorenz Oken (1 August 1779 – 11 August 1851) was a German people, German natural history, naturalist, botany, botanist, biologist, and ornithology, ornithologist. Oken was born Lorenz Okenfuss (german: Okenfuß) in Bohlsbach (now part of Offenbur ...

Lorenz Oken
,
Georges Cuvier Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric, Baron Cuvier (; 23 August 1769 – 13 May 1832), known as Georges Cuvier, was a French naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology, an organism () is any orga ...

Georges Cuvier
,
Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (15 April 177219 June 1844) was a French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, Républ ...
,
Richard Owen Sir Richard Owen (20 July 1804 – 18 December 1892) was an English biologist, comparative anatomist and paleontologist. Despite being a controversial figure, Owen is generally considered to have been an outstanding naturalist with a remark ...

Richard Owen
,
Karl Gegenbaur Karl Gegenbaur (21 August 1826 – 14 June 1903)"Karl Gegenbaur – Encyclopædia Britannica" (biography), ''Encyclopædia Britannica'', 2006, Britannica.coBritannica-KarlG was a Germany, German anatomist and professor who demonstrated that the fi ...

Karl Gegenbaur
and
Ernst Haeckel Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (; 16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919) was a German zoologist Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is typically regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that stu ...

Ernst Haeckel
. In 1830, Cuvier and E.G.Saint-Hilaire engaged in a famous debate, which is said to exemplify the two major deviations in biological thinking at the time – whether animal structure was due to function or evolution.


Divisions of morphology

*
Comparative morphology Comparative anatomy is the study of similarities and differences in the anatomy of different species. It is closely related to evolutionary biology and phylogeny (the evolution of species). The science began in the classical era, continuing in Ea ...
is analysis of the patterns of the locus of structures within the body plan of an organism, and forms the basis of taxonomical categorization. *
Functional morphology Functional may refer to: * Movements in architecture: ** Functionalism (architecture) In architecture File:Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted).jpg, upright=1.45, alt=Pl ...
is the study of the relationship between the structure and function of morphological features. * Experimental morphology is the study of the effects of external factors upon the morphology of organisms under experimental conditions, such as the effect of genetic mutation. *
Anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organisms and their parts. Anatomy is a branch of natural science which deals with the structural organization of living things. It ...

Anatomy
is a "branch of morphology that deals with the structure of
organisms In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological me ...

organisms
". * Molecular morphology is a rarely used term, usually referring to the superstructure of polymers such as fiber formation or to larger composite assemblies. The term is commonly not applied to the spatial structure of individual
molecules A molecule is an electrically Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon ...

molecules
. * Gross morphology refers to the collective structures of 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.


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 In biology, a species complex is a group of closely related organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biology, properties ...
are
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

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 Convergent evolution is the independent evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; eit ...
or even
mimicry In evolutionary biology, mimicry is an evolved resemblance between an organism and another object, often an organism of another species. Mimicry may evolve between different species, or between individuals of the same species. Often, mimicry f ...

mimicry
. In addition, there can be morphological differences within a species, such as in ''
Apoica flavissima ''Apoica flavissima'' is a paper wasp found primarily in South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It ...
'' where queens are significantly smaller than workers. 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 Genetic testing, also known as DNA testing, is used to identify changes in DNA The structure of part of a DNA double helix Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy i ...
to be a single species. The significance of these differences can be examined through the use of
allometric engineering Allometric engineering is the process of experimentally shifting the scaling relationships, for body size or shape, in a population of organisms. More specifically, the process of experimentally breaking the tight covariance In probability theor ...
in which one or both species are manipulated to phenocopy the other species. A step relevant to the evaluation of morphology between traits/features within species, includes an assessment of the terms: homology an
homoplasy
Homology between features indicate that those features have been derived from a common ancestor. Alternatively, homoplasy between features describes those that can resemble each other, but derive independently via
parallel Parallel may refer to: Computing * Parallel algorithm In computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their a ...
or
convergent evolution Convergent evolution is the independent evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; eit ...
.


3D cell morphology: classification

Invention and development of microscopy enable the observation of 3-D cell morphology with both high spatial and temporal resolution. The dynamic processes of these cell morphology which are controlled by a
complex system A complex system is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by it ...
play an important role in varied important biological process, such as immune and invasive responses.A. D. Doyle, R. J. Petrie, M. L. Kutys, and K. M. Yamada,
Dimensions in cell migration
” Curr. Opin. Cell Biol., vol. 25, no. 5, pp. 642–649, 2013.
A. C. Dufour, T. Y. Liu, D. Christel, T. Robin, C. Beryl, T. Roman, G. Nancy, O.H. Alfred, and J. C. Olivo-Marin.
Signal Processing Challenges in Quantitative 3-D Cell Morphology: More than meets the eye
" IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 30-40, 2015.


See also

*
Comparative anatomy Comparative anatomy is the study of similarities and differences in the anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organism In biology, an organism (from Anc ...
*
Computational anatomy Computational anatomy is an interdisciplinary field of biology focused on quantitative investigation and modelling of anatomical shapes variability. It involves the development and application of mathematical, statistical and data-analytical metho ...
*
Insect morphology Insect morphology is the study and description of the physical form of insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was origina ...
*
Morphometrics Morphometrics (from Greek μορϕή ''morphe'', "shape, form", and -μετρία ''metria'', "measurement") or morphometry refers to the quantitative analysis of ''form'', a concept that encompasses size and shape. Morphometric analyses are comm ...
*
NeuromorphologyNeuromorphology (from Greek νεῦρον, neuron, "nerve"; μορφή, morphé, "form"; -λογία, -logia, “study of”) is the study of nervous system In Biology, biology, the nervous system is a Complex system, highly complex part of an ...
*
Phenetics In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanis ...
*
Phenotype In genetics Genetics is a branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular inter ...

Phenotype
*
Phenotypic plasticity Phenotypic plasticity refers to some of the changes in an organism's behavior, morphology and physiology in response to a unique environment. Fundamental to the way in which organisms cope with environmental variation, phenotypic plasticity encompas ...
*
Plant morphology Phytomorphology is the study of the physical form and external structure of plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy ...

Plant morphology


References


External links

* {{Authority control Branches of biology Comparative anatomy