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Biology research - how animals area adapted to cold environments.

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Introduction

Khadeja Wodud 10Q Surviving the cold If an animal or plant is to survive it must be able to fit in with the environmental conditions which occur in its habitat. This fitting in is called adaptation. Every living thing is adapted to enable it to cope with a particular habitat?s environmental factors such as the air, water, soil, light and temperature. Polar bears and penguins never bump into each other. This because polar bears live only in the Arctic (the North Pole) and many species of penguins is found only in the Antarctic (the South Pole). Both animals are highly adapted for living in the coldest places in the world. It is vital for a mammal, being a ?warm-blooded? vertebrate, to keep warm in order to maintain its body at a constant temperature. If it cannot do this it will die. The Arctic is the coldest place inhabited by land mammals and these have very thick fur, which insulates the body by trapping air. ...read more.

Middle

An increase in exposed portions of the body (increasing surface area) also has several natural concomitants. Keeping mass constant, surface area is increased by assuming a more linear form--taller, with long, slender arms and legs. This is especially important for humans since heat loss from evaporation of sweat is greater than in any other animal, and evaporative loss is directly proportional to the amount of exposed surface area http://www.as.ua.edu/ant/bindon/ant475/heatcold/thermo.htm Polar bears are well adapted for survival in the Arctic. They have: 1. A white appearance, as camouflage from prey on the snow and ice 2. thick layers of fat and fur, for insulation against the cold 3. a small surface area to volume ratio, to minimise heat loss 4. a greasy coat, which sheds water after swimming http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/edexcel_pre_2011/environment/evolutionrev2.shtml Small animals have a large surface area to volume ratio. I.e. they have a large body surface compared to their body size so small animals lose heat easily. ...read more.

Conclusion

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_the_surface_area_to_volume_ratio_affects_heat_loss A small organism, like an amoeba, has a large surface area: volume ratio, and so it can accomplish all the exchange it needs by simple diffusion across its body surface. However, a large organism, like a mammal, has a much smaller surface area: volume ratio, so it can not accomplish all the exchange it needs in this way. (A large surface area: volume ratio is preferable for carrying out exchange of substances). Such large organisms need special respiratory organs such as lungs for taking in oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. Fick's Law shows how the factors which affect the rate of exchange interact Rate of Diffusion: For Example Calculating the ratio of surface area: volume for organisms Look at surface area and volume values Check they are in the same units Divide the surface area value by the volume value. This gives you a figure which = answer The answer: 1 is the ratio of surface area to volume. e.g. Surface area = 54 cm2 Volume = 27 cm3 Surface area to volume = 54/27 = 2 http://www.examstutor.com/biology/resources/studyroom/organs_and_systems/gas_exchange/ ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

***This essay started well but spent rather too long discussing surface area to volume ratio in the second half. It appears to have been well researched with good listing of the references used.
To improve
All discussions or essays really need some kind of summary paragraph
Surface area to volume ratio is very important but discussing how this is important at the cellular level is not really relevant to the title.
Add some information on behavioural adaptations to the cold such as migration, hibernation and huddling.
Do not forget that a large number of Arctic/ Antarctic creatures are marine and 'cold blooded'. How are they adapted to life in very cold water? There also plants in the cold regions. How are these adapted? Since the title is 'Surviving the cold' these could be included.

Marked by teacher Stevie Fleming 03/01/2013

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