There are many trillions of microbial organisms, including fungi, bacteria and viruses, living in and on our bodies, outnumbering our own cells 3 to 1. We have battled them for years, with antibiotics and disinfectants. But as we get to know them better, a lot turn out to be our allies, while others remain our constant enemies.
A microbiome is the community of micro-organisms living together in a particular habitat. Humans, animals and plants have their own unique microbiomes, but so do soils, oceans and even everyday objects.
Cells are the basic building blocks of all living things. The human body is composed of trillions of cells. They provide structure for the body, take in nutrients from food, convert those nutrients into energy, and carry out specialised functions. Cells also contain the body’s hereditary material and can make copies of themselves.
Cancer is a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs.
Plants are one of six big groups (kingdoms) of living things.
Plants include familiar types such as trees, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae, such as diatoms and coccolithophores.
Most plants grow in the ground, with stems in the air and roots below the surface.
Protozoa are single celled organisms that are very diverse groups. Of the existing protozoa, there are about 21,000 species that occur as free-living in a variety of habitats while another 11,000 species occur as parasitic microbes in both vertebrate and invertebrates hosts.
Invertebrates are multi-cellular animals without a backbone or bony skeleton. This is by far the largest group in the animal kingdom: 97% of all animals are invertebrates. Worldwide in distribution, they include animals as diverse as sea stars, sea urchins, earthworms, sponges, jellyfish, lobsters, crabs, insects, spiders, snails, clams, and squid. Invertebrates are especially important as agricultural pests, parasites, or agents for the transmission of parasitic infections to humans and other vertebrates. Invertebrates serve as food for humans and are key elements in food chains that support birds, fish, and many other vertebrate species.
Cells are organised into organs and tissues within the body.
This collection of images from vertebrate, shows a range of these structures often fractured open to show the internal arrangement of the cells within.
These micrographs illustrate both normal and abnormal tissues and organs.