Animals and Their Environment
The principles discussed thus far become more meaningful as they are applied to problems in nature. The first of these problems we will consider is that of describing the fitness of the physical environment for survival of some animal whose requirements we will specify. Survival of the animal can depend on many factors; we will consider only those related to maintaining body temperature within acceptable limits and those related to maintaining proper body water status. Even these aspects will only be discussed to a limited extent. For example, maintenance of body temperature in homeotherms involves production of metabolic heat. Stored chemical energy from the animal’s food is used to produce the heat, so availability of food in the environment could be construed to be part of the animal’s physical environment. Food availability will not enter into our discussions in this way, but we will ask how much food a homeotherm needs in order to maintain constant body temperature. Such questions are of interest to those modeling ecosystems as well as those managing range lands for wild or domestic animals, because in many cases it is the only way an estimate of the food requirements for certain animals can be made.
KeywordsThermal Resistance Climate Space Desert Tortoise Solar Beam Latent Heat Loss
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