Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

5. Lines of descent and organisational levels

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

Biodiversity is the outcome of evolution. In turn, evolution is the consequence of the repetition of two processes: diversification and selection. Diversification and selection cause two significant patterns in biodiversity. The first pattern is the division into different species, reflected in what is known as the 'tree of life'. The second pattern is the appearance of the same levels of complexity independently of each other in separate branches of the tree. Examples of these levels are eukaryotic cells and multicellular organisms. This chapter seeks to answer the following questions: what is the reason for all this variety in nature; how do the same transitions in complexity occur in different branches of the tree; what do the levels of complexity mean for classifying and evaluating biodiversity; and how can organisms maintain stable functioning despite their highly variable genetic material.

Keywords: biodiversity; eukaryotic cells; evolution ofendosymbiosis; multicellular organisms; organisational levels; tree of life



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    The Pursuit of Complexity — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation