Biology B1 - Adaptations for survival

Key information relating to how animals and plants adapt to the environment. Feel free to message me if you have any questions!

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What is adaptation

Planet Earth consists of many different conditions and surroundings. In order for life to survive In these, sometimes unpleasant conditions, life has to adapt for survival. Its like when you plug a certain device into a computer you have to find a adapted lead ending so that it may fit with the computer. From smoking hot dry deserts to wastelands of snow and ice animals have adapted features with there body to help them survive.

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Animals and plants in cold climates

To survive in cold climates you have to able to keep heat in. Animals: Arctic animals have a small surface area compared to their   volume. This stops more heat from escaping. Most animals in the cold have a layer of blubber to keep them warm. This is also called brown fat, and they can feed them selves off this fat during winter when food is scarce Another important aspect to survive is camouflage. This allows the animals to hide from deadly predators. For example a arctic fox is white so it can hide easy or young seals are white too.  

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Plants are small and low-growing because being close to the ground helps keep the plants from freezing.  Plants are also dark in colour—some are even red—this helps them absorb solar heat.  Some plants are covered with hair which helps keep them warm. Others grow in clumps to protect one another from the wind and cold.


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Animals and Plants in hot conditions

Mammals keep their body temperature the same all the time so that they don’t get cold at night. Animals in the desert are most active in the early morning and late evening. During the day and night they rest in burrows where the temperature doesn't change much to avoid sweating. Most desert animals are quite small compared to their surface area so that they can use heat much more effectively.      


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Animals and Plants in hot conditions

Plants take in water through the roots and remove it in small opening called the stomata. This releases oxygen and water to create a vacuum sucking in new juicy mineral water and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. But when water is scarce in deserts this is life threatening for a plant. So plants in deserts have adaptations to lower the exchange rate. Plants: Curled leaves so that a moist microenvironment is trapped within the leave lowering evaporation.   Plants store water after a rain period to allow them to survive when there is no water. Plants that store water are called succulents. Also plants need to stop predators eating them so they have evolved to have a variety of vicious thorns and spiky spines.      


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Animals and plants live along side the same or other species. This can cause problem when there is a limited amount of food, water, space and mates. The best adapted animals or plants will most likely be the winners in the competition of resources. So let the race begin! 

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Competition in animals

 Animals compete for 3 things :

  • Food/Water
  • Territory
  • Mates

Competition in food is the most common. Herbivores that eat only a certain type of food are I for it as habitats change and many other species might be looking for that plant causing conflicts. But animals that are adapted to other foods as well are more likely to survive. For example the panda is a lazy creature feeding of bamboo. But bamboo is eaten by other herbivores and is also cleared away to make space for towns and now the panda is almost extinct.   


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Competition in animals

Carnivores have a similar problem as they might all be going for the same prey. If however, one animal proves stronger than its competitors then it is most likely to survive. For the other animals, they might die and become extinct.  Small animals like mice are eaten by animals like foxes, owls, hawks  and domestic cats. All of the predators compete for the food. Animals from different species often avoid direct contact but with the same species that’s when the tension rises.Also Animals compete for territory as a animal with a lot of territory around them has; more access to food; will find a beautiful female or a handsome male and territory is a signal of power and animals like power just like us. Another factor of competition between animals is mates. As living objects we have all got the ability to reproduce, that’s why from nature we will strive under all odds to have  a mate. Some animals will fight for their loved ones like the deer or lion. Though some prefer to let their own beauty win the prize.  


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Competition in Plants

Plants compete with each other for:   For light, for Water and for nutrients. Plants need energy from the sun, water and nutrients from soil in order to photosynthesise. Plants compete because else where bigger trees in the area with win all the light and **** up all the water leaving the other plants to die a horrible death.Some plants that have adapted to competition will actually bloom and live in the winter when there is plenty of humus on the ground from the leaves off the trees and the dormant tress will barely **** up any water. As all of living things have the seven life processes the plants are sensitive to the light meaning that the smaller shaded plants will grow or move rapidly to get light. As reproduction is a issue with plants as well some plants have developed new ingenious ways of spreading seeds so that their species will bloom.

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