The evolution of life on Earth has allowed a great variety of living beings to be distinguished today. As incredible as it may seem, each and every living thing that inhabits (and has inhabited) the planet comes from a common ancestor. This fact has allowed scientists to know the main characteristics of living beings, as well as distinguish several vital functions common to all of them. For example, both the vital functions of plants and the vital functions of animals encompass those biological processes that allow both groups of living beings to grow and survive in different ecosystems.
If you want to know in detail what are the vital functions of living beings and examples of these, continue reading this practical article on AgroCorrn.
What are the vital functions of living beings
The vital functions of living beings are those biological functional characteristics shared by each and every one of the beings considered alive. Unlike inert beings, living beings have complex functions and characteristics throughout their growth and development.
Thus, living beings being organisms of complex molecular organization, their vital functions are those that allow them to survive and remain in constant relationship with their environment, both with individuals of the same species and with other different species. Each and every one of the living beings that inhabit planet Earth, no matter how different they may seem, share vital functions. We can say that there are 6 vital functions of living beings :
- To breathe.
- Adapt to the environment.
- Grow up.
However, these are usually summarized in 3 common vital functions :
- Relationship or interaction.
In the next sections we will define each one of them and we will see examples of the vital functions of living beings to better understand them.
The first function of living beings, nutrition , allows them to grow and develop by acquiring the nutrients they need to develop their organs and tissues. To do this, they can follow an autotrophic diet , which is the nutrition of plants and other vegetables, or a heterotrophic diet . Thus, the nutritional processes carried out by all living beings allow the establishment of complex food chains or networks in ecosystems.
This important vital function also includes the respiratory processes by which living beings obtain the necessary energy to keep the enzymatic machinery of their cells in operation. For example, thanks to the processes of photosynthesis and respiration and that of nutrition, plants transform inorganic nutrients (water and light) into organic components (carbon compounds), which they transport to the different parts of their body to grow. If you want to learn more about it, we encourage you to read this post about Where plants breathe and how they do it and this one about 105 animals that breathe through the lungs .
To learn much more about this function, we recommend you read this other AgroCorrn article about the Nutrition function: what it is and processes .
The vital function of relationship
The vital function of relationship or interaction allows living beings to receive information from their environment and respondto her to survive. The relationship function in plants is based on their response to chemical stimuli that they are capable of receiving through complex chemical and physical mechanisms that they have in their roots, as well as in their stems and leaves. For example, in a situation of water stress or lack of water, plants close their stomata to avoid drying out. In contrast, the function of relationship in animals includes the participation of the sense organs and a complex nervous system, which allow them to have the surprising ability to communicate with other living beings and to be able to respond to environmental changes of different shapes.
To learn more about this vital function, we recommend entering the links to our specific articles on:
The third and last of the main vital functions is the reproduction of living beings . This allows living beings to multiply the number of existing individuals of each species and thus create new generations , while transmitting their genetic information (genetic inheritance).
There is a great variety of types of reproduction , which are mainly grouped into sexual reproduction (requiring the intervention of two individuals of different sex) and asexual reproduction (mating between individuals is not necessary). Some living beings are even capable of alternating both reproduction processes according to the environmental conditions or their stage of development. This is the case, for example, of jellyfish, which develop asexually while they are in the polyp stage and later reproduce sexually during maturity.
If you want to learn more about this vital function of living beings, here you can find information about:
- Playback function: what it is and why it matters .
- The reproduction of plants .
- The reproduction of hermaphroditic animals with examples .
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