I want to say something like:

This has implications up and down the biological hierarchy.

But "up and down" isn't very satisfying. "Across the hierarchy" is the right feel, but the wrong orientation.

The biological hierarchy I'm referring to here goes something like cell -> organism -> group -> population -> species.

Edit: I should have said before that, ideally, I would like it to suggest that the implications are being pushed up or down from somewhere in the middle of the hierarchy, if that makes sense. For example, some organism-level experiment or observation affects what we know about the cells within (down the hierarchy), and the species of the organism (up the hierarchy). Suggestions like 'spanning' and 'at all levels of', then, are definitely helpful, but not perfect. (Thanks!)

  • What about 'throughout the hierarchy'. Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 15:22
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    or spanning (tree spanning algorithms are a thing, for example).
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 15:28
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    This is a fantastic question, but in your case, I'd be tempted to just cop out and say "at all levels."
    – SAH
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 6:02

1 Answer 1


The phrase at all levels of the hierarchy seems to be fairly common in scientific texts. Searching for the phrase on Google yields hits in a several textbooks, abstracts and science/engineering documentation.

Here are a couple of examples of its use (the emphasis in the quotes is mine):

The challenge in neuroscience is to understand the contributions of different factors to specific behavioral and emotional functions. When combined, these techniques provide information at all levels of the vertical hierarchy.

(Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234389/)

and also:

This engineering perspective may be applied at all levels of the hierarchy of biological structures – from individual molecules to whole cells, tissues and organisms.

(Source: https://ec.europa.eu/research/biotechnology/eu-us-task-force/pdf/19th-meeting/economidis_synthetic_biology_en.pdf)

  • Why not simply "all throughout the hierarchy"? Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 5:38
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    @SridharRatnakumar - because it's less specific than saying it applies to all levels, at least to my ear. "All throughout," rather than implying affects on genera as well as species, might imply affects on all species and all genera.
    – stevesliva
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 6:34

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