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Thermoregulation

1. Thermoregulation Mechanisms in Organisms: – Thermoregulation is the ability of an organism to maintain body temperature within certain boundaries. – Hyperthermia occurs when body […]

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1. Thermoregulation Mechanisms in Organisms:

– Thermoregulation is the ability of an organism to maintain body temperature within certain boundaries.
– Hyperthermia occurs when body temperature rises significantly above normal, while hypothermia happens when it drops below normal levels.
– Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures is a common cause of hypothermia.
– Some animals undergo dormancy to conserve energy by allowing body temperature to drop temporarily.
– Classification of animals by thermal characteristics includes endothermy (internal heat generation) and ectothermy (external heat regulation).
– Endotherms have more mitochondria per cell than ectotherms, who rely on environmental influences to maintain body temperature.

2. Ectothermic Thermoregulation Strategies:

– Ectotherms use external sources like sun-bathing to regulate body temperature.
– Cooling methods for ectotherms include vaporization, convection, conduction, lying on cool ground, and radiation.
– Heating strategies for ectotherms involve behaviors like climbing to higher ground, entering warm air currents, and insulating techniques.
– Some fish have developed natural antifreeze to resist ice crystal formation.
– Ectotherms regulate behavior based on external temperatures and environmental conditions.

3. Thermoregulation in Different Organisms:

– Birds and mammals exhibit homeothermy with constant body temperature, while most other animals display poikilothermy with variable body temperature.
– Reptiles like lizards regulate body temperature by moving to cooler or warmer areas.
– Plants like the Araceae family and cycad cones exhibit thermogenesis for protection against cold temperatures.
– Behavioral temperature regulation is observed in desert lizards, aquatic animals, and animals undergoing hibernation, estivation, or daily torpor.
– Variations in body temperature are seen in different species based on their thermoregulatory mechanisms.

4. Human Body Temperature Variations:

– Average human body temperature varies across studies, with rectal readings being higher than oral readings.
– Variations in body temperature due to circadian rhythms and cultural differences exist.
– Women experience changes in basal body temperature during different phases of the menstrual cycle, aiding in fertility tracking.
– Effects of temperature extremes on metabolism and body functions include impacts on the central nervous system, heart rate, and respiration rate.
– Studies on heat stress and critical temperatures show the relationship between heat stress, metabolic rates, and health issues.

5. Advanced Concepts and Studies in Thermoregulation:

– Innate heat and insect thermoregulation, thermal neutral zones, and recent advances in thermoregulation research are related concepts.
– Heat stress effects on the human body, thermoregulation in birds and aquatic animals, and adaptations of arthropods to extreme temperatures are areas of study.
– Studies on heat stress show variations in critical wet-bulb temperatures, tolerance levels, and metabolic rates in different environmental conditions.

Thermoregulation (Wikipedia)

Thermoregulation is the ability of an organism to keep its body temperature within certain boundaries, even when the surrounding temperature is very different. A thermoconforming organism, by contrast, simply adopts the surrounding temperature as its own body temperature, thus avoiding the need for internal thermoregulation. The internal thermoregulation process is one aspect of homeostasis: a state of dynamic stability in an organism's internal conditions, maintained far from thermal equilibrium with its environment (the study of such processes in zoology has been called physiological ecology). If the body is unable to maintain a normal temperature and it increases significantly above normal, a condition known as hyperthermia occurs. Humans may also experience lethal hyperthermia when the wet bulb temperature is sustained above 35 °C (95 °F) for six hours. Work in 2022 established by experiment that a wet-bulb temperature exceeding 30.55°C caused uncompensable heat stress in young, healthy adult humans. The opposite condition, when body temperature decreases below normal levels, is known as hypothermia. It results when the homeostatic control mechanisms of heat within the body malfunction, causing the body to lose heat faster than producing it. Normal body temperature is around 37°C(98.6°F), and hypothermia sets in when the core body temperature gets lower than 35 °C (95 °F). Usually caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, hypothermia is usually treated by methods that attempt to raise the body temperature back to a normal range. It was not until the introduction of thermometers that any exact data on the temperature of animals could be obtained. It was then found that local differences were present, since heat production and heat loss vary considerably in different parts of the body, although the circulation of the blood tends to bring about a mean temperature of the internal parts. Hence it is important to identify the parts of the body that most closely reflect the temperature of the internal organs. Also, for such results to be comparable, the measurements must be conducted under comparable conditions. The rectum has traditionally been considered to reflect most accurately the temperature of internal parts, or in some cases of sex or species, the vagina, uterus or bladder.

Some animals undergo one of various forms of dormancy where the thermoregulation process temporarily allows the body temperature to drop, thereby conserving energy. Examples include hibernating bears and torpor in bats.

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