Taxonomy is the naming system by which all organisms are classified. As there are millions of species on earth, this naming system allows scientists to give each species a unique name. Binomial nomenclature, or naming using two names, was developed by Carolus Linnaeus in 1735. This consists of the genus followed by the species (Homo sapiens is human, for example).
Complete classification of an organism involves seven names, proceeding in this order:
There are five kingdoms: Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia. All organisms are classified into one of these five kingdoms, except for viruses.
Monera consists of organisms composed of prokaryotic cells. This kingdom contains only two phyla:
- Schizophyta - bacteria
- Cyanophyta - blue-green algae
Protista consists of the eukaryotic cellular organisms that cannot be classified into any of the other eukaryotic kingdoms. There are animal-like protists (Protazoa), plant-like protists (Algae), and fungi-like protists.
Fungi consists of multicellular eukaryotes that absorb their energy and reproduce asexually through spores. There are two phyla in the Fungi kingdom: Myxomycophyta (slime molds) and Eumycophyta (true fungi: molds, yeast, mushrooms, etc.).
Plantae consists of multicellular plants. Major phyla of this kingdom are:
- Chlorophyta - green algae
- Bryophyta - mosses, liverworts, hornworts
- Pterophyta - ferns
- Coniferophyta - conifers
- Anthophyta - flowering plants
Animalia consists of multicellular animals. Major phyla of this kingdom are:
- Porifera - sponges
- Chordata - vertebrates