Dictionary > Coordination


n., plural: coordinations
Definition: ability of an organism’s body to have more than one organs or parts simultaneously functioning to complete a process

Coordination Definition

When a person hears the word coordination, they think of order, organization, or even managing things together. They also think that if someone has good coordination, that they are not clumsy or they are very good at keeping things intact.

What does coordination mean? What is coordination? To define coordination in biology, we must think of organisms that do things simultaneously. This is because coordination is the process through which two or more organs within a living thing interact and complement the functions of one another.

This biological coordination is especially in reference to the brain giving orders to the organs and other parts of the body to function together so that the body can operate efficiently.

For instance, the heart works in coordination with the brain in order for it to beat and keep the organism alive no matter what is going on. Coordination is controlled primarily by the brain and the nervous system. It works in coordination with nerves and hormones to ensure that all bodily functions occur smoothly. This is all part of maintaining homeostasis in the body.

nervous system and endocrine system for coordination
Figure 1. The nervous system and the endocrine system control coordination in the human body. Image Source: Maria Victoria Gonzaga of Biology Online.
Biology definition:
Coordination is the harmonious functioning of interrelated organs and parts and is applied especially to the process of the motor apparatus of the brain, which provides for the co-working of particular groups of muscles for the performance of definite adaptive useful responses. Etymology: from Latin “coordinationem”, from Latin “coordinate”.

Human coordination is controlled by the nervous and endocrine systems. The nervous system is made up of the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). These two systems contain the brain, spinal cord (CNS), and the nerves (PNS). The brain is the main control center, it tells the body what to do for the voluntary movements (such as typing or reading) and keeps the involuntary movements working effectively (for instance, breathing, heartbeats, and digestion).The spinal cord deals with the transmission of nerve impulses as well as movement within the skeletal system.

Nerves receive information from your surroundings as well as within the body, process them, and then tell your body how to act accordingly. Nerves are connected to the central nervous system but run throughout the rest of the body. The endocrine system is the main producer of hormones and chemicals the body needs for coordination. They are released by glands directly into the blood, where they will travel to and directly affect a particular organ.

Coordination Examples

Coordination is constantly happening throughout the body. Most notably, normally coordination is associated with the locomotion of the body. Locomotion is the ability an organism has to move from place to place. However, locomotion is not the only way the body uses coordination. Coordination occurs through the body completing more than one process at a time. Simple examples of this include:

  1. What happens within our bodies while we exercise.
  2. What happens within our bodies while we sleep.



Exercise is what humans do in order to maintain physical health and stay fit. During the activity of exercise, many things occur at once. The video below shows some of the many things that occur throughout the body while someone exercises. The body organs must work in coordination with the brain, nervous system, and other parts in order to continue to function well.

Firstly, more blood will be supplied to your skeletal muscle system and away from your digestive system since that system is not being used. The body is also being told to convert fat to glucose by hormones secreted in order for the body to obtain more energy while working out.



Lactic acid is generated as a by-product of excessive movement, and so the pH of the blood will drop as it builds up. Furthermore, because your adrenaline levels are rising, the heart will begin to pump blood more intensely. This will stimulate the capillaries to open up in order to support the increase in blood flow.

Of course, with more blood flow comes more oxygen and so the muscle of the ribcage assists the diaphragm in taking deep breaths so that most oxygen can be taken in that usual. The body also coordinates the activity of sweating during this process, allowing the person to additionally excrete the perspiration through the sweat glands while it also doubles as a cooling mechanism.

Among all these things, the body also coordinates the actual skeletal and muscle movements the person is completing while exercising such as jogging, cycling, or aerobics.

What happens within our bodies while we sleep

Quite often, people consider sleeping to be the body’s time to rest. The process where everything stops so the body can regenerate. While this is not totally wrong, the body coordinates many activities while a person is sleeping.

The brain begins to store and process the new information that happened throughout the day. The reorganization and communication among nerve cells also occur while an organism sleeps and this helps with healthy brain function.

The brain also must ensure that the body goes through the different stages of sleep and also may trigger the person to experience dreams through the subconscious during certain periods. Throughout the rest of the body, there will be different metabolic activities that don’t require many movements such as repairing cells, storing energy, and synthesizing and releasing hormones, proteins, and other molecules.

The breathing and heart rate of the organism, of course, continues while it sleeps, however, it drastically slows down as the body is not as active so it does not require the same level of energy. Watch the vid below to know what happens in our body when we sleep.



Try to answer the quiz below to check what you have learned so far about coordination.


Choose the best answer. 

1. The process wherein two or more organs interact and complement the functions of one another

2. The ability an organism has to move from place to place

3. The ability of an organism to adjust to achieve a stable internal environment

4. The main control system of coordination consisting of the brain and the spinal cord

5. The main producer of hormones and chemicals the body needs for coordination

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  • Coordination. (2019, October 7). Biology Articles, Tutorials & Dictionary Online. https://www.biologyonline.com/dictionary/coordination
  • Define coordination in living organisms why is it necessary give any one example—Biology—TopperLearning.com | ktwshdfee. (n.d.). TopperLearning.Com. Retrieved December 4, 2021, from https://www.topperlearning.com/answer/define-coordination-in-living-organisms-why-is-it-necessary-give-any-one-example/ktwshdfee
  • Frigon, A. (2017). The neural control of interlimb coordination during mammalian locomotion. Journal of Neurophysiology, 117(6), 2224–2241. https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00978.2016
  • Ivanenko, Y. P., Cappellini, G., Dominici, N., Poppele, R. E., & Lacquaniti, F. (2005). Coordination of locomotion with voluntary movements in humans. The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 25(31), 7238–7253. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1327-05.2005
  • Marinković, M., Berger, J., & Jékely, G. (2020). Neuronal coordination of motile cilia in locomotion and feeding. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 375(1792), 20190165. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0165
  • Shaalaa.com. (n.d.). Explain in Your Own Words with Suitable Example. What is Meant by Co-ordination? – Science and Technology. Retrieved December 4, 2021, from https://www.shaalaa.com/question-bank-solutions/explain-your-own-words-suitable-example-what-meant-co-ordination-control-and-co-ordination_77381
  • What happens to my body when I exercise? (n.d.). BBC Science Focus Magazine. Retrieved December 4, 2021, from https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/what-happens-to-my-body-when-i-exercise/
  • Why Do We Sleep? What Happens During Sleep? (n.d.). Retrieved December 4, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/why-do-we-sleep

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