- Biology & Biomedicine
- Comparative physiology and general physiology
- Temperature adaptation in animals
Temperature adaptation in animals
Hazel, Jeffrey R. Department of Zoology, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.
Last reviewed:May 2019
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The ability of animals to survive and function at widely different temperatures as the result of specific physiological adaptations. Temperature adaptation (Fig. 1) is one of the key characteristics necessary to ensure that an animal can live and exist in its environment over a potential range of temperatures. Temperature is an all-pervasive attribute of the environment that limits the activity, distribution, and survival of animals. Typically, ocean temperatures range from −2 to 30°C (28 to 86°F), and air temperatures range from −70°C (−94°F) in polar regions to 80°C (176°F) at the desert surface. In general, life processes in animals are restricted to temperatures between 0 and 45°C (32 and 113°F), and most animals live within an even narrower range. Limits for reproduction and development are generally narrower than those for survival of adults. See also: Adaptation (biology); Adaptive responses in animals to climate change; Physiological ecology (animal); Temperature
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