*Levels of Organization*



Within a multicellular organism there is a division of labor.  Division of labor means that the work of keeping the organism alive is divided among the different parts of the body.  Each part has a specific job to do.  And as each part does its special job, it works in harmony with all the other parts.

The arrangement of specialized parts within a living thing is sometimes referred to as levels of organization.  Cells, of course, are the first level of organization.



In any multicellular organism, cells rarely work alone.  Cells that are similar in structure  and function are usually joined together to form tissues.  Tissues are the second level of organization.

Bone cells in your body from bone tissue, a strong sokid tissue that gives you shape and support.  Blood cells in your body are part of blood tissue, a liquid tissue responsible for transporting food and oxygen throughout the body.



Tissues are further organized in organs, the third level of organization in living things.  Organs are groups of different tissues that work together.  Your heart, for example, is an organ made up of muscle tissue, blood tissue, and nerve tissue.  You are probably familiar with the names of many of the body organs.  The brain, stomach, kidneys, and skin are some examples.



Like cells and tissues, organs seldom work alone.  They "cooperate" with one another and form specific organ systems.  Organ systems are the fourth level of organization in living things.  An organ system is a group of organs working together to perform a specific function for the organism.



You are an organism.  Dogs, trees, and butter cups are also organisms.  Even a unicellular bacterium is an organism.  An organism is an entire living thing that carries our all the basic life fuctions.  The organism is the fifth level of organization.

Cells, tissues, organs, organ systems organisms--each level of organization interacts with every other level.  The smooth fuctioning of a complex organism is the result of all it various parts working together.

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