Biology is the study of living things. It encompasses the cellular basis of living things, the energy metabolism that underlies the activities of life, and the genetic basis for inheritance in organisms. Biology also includes the study of evolutionary relationships among organisms and the diversity of life on Earth. It considers the biology of microorganisms, plants, and animals, for example, and it brings together the structural and functional relationships that underlie their day-to-day activities. Biology draws on the sciences of chemistry and physics for its foundations and applies the laws of these disciplines to living things.
Many subdisciplines and special areas of biology exist, which can be conveniently divided into practical and theoretical categories. Types of practical biology include plant breeding, wildlife management, medical science, and crop production. Theoretical biology encompasses such disciplines as physiology (the study of the function of living things), biochemistry (the study of the chemistry of organisms), taxonomy (classification), ecology (the study of populations and their interactions with each other and their environments), and microbiology (the study of microscopic organisms).