B2- Adaptations

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Adaptions are special features or behaviours that make and organisms particularly well suited to its environment. As plants and animals become better adapted to their environment, they become better able to compete for limited resources, which enables their population size and distribution to increase. If climate changes, those organisms can successful adapt to the new conditions will survive.

Adaptations to cold environments

Adaptations to very cold environments help organisms to survive. Examples include:

  • being well insulated to reduce heat loss
  • having a small surface area to volume ratio to prevent heat loss
  • behavioural adaptations to help animals survive cold tempertures e.g. hedghogs and groundhogs hibernate in winter and birds migrate to warmer climates.

The polar bear has several adaptations to survive the cold weather:

  • large amount of insulating blubber beneath the skin
  • thick white fur for insulation and camouflage
  • large feet to spread its weight on snow and ice
  • fur on the sole of its paw to help insulation and grip
  • small ears and large bulk reduces surface area to volume ratio to reduce heatloss.
  • powerful legs for running and swimming

Counter-current heat exchange systems

Penguins have a heat exchange blood flow to the colder regions. Warm blood entering the feet and flippers flows past cold blood leaving the feet and flippers and warms it up. The warmed up blood re-enters the rest of the body and doesnt effect the penguins core temperature. 

Adaptations to hot and dry environments.

Animals in hot environments have behavioural methods of coping with the heat e.g. finding somewhere cool to go, only going out at night and shedding fur, which will all reduce heat gain. Behaviours like taking…




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