Thermoregulation in Animals

Michael J. Angilletta

in Ecology

ISBN: 9780199830060
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:
Thermoregulation in Animals

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  • Applied Ecology (Environmental Science)
  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Plant Ecology
  • Zoology and Animal Sciences


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Thermoregulation includes all phenomena in which an organism maintains a mean or variance of body temperature that deviates from a null expectation, defined by random use of thermal microclimates and passive exchange of heat with the environment. Early studies of thermoregulation focused on certain taxa that exhibit striking physiological or behavioral strategies, such as endothermic vertebrates and desert lizards. Subsequent research has shown that most organisms thermoregulate to some degree, although thermoregulatory strategies vary greatly among taxa. In the late 1970s and the 1980s, researchers not only continued to study patterns and mechanisms of thermoregulation, they also began to study the evolutionary factors that influence capacities for and strategies of thermoregulation. This period coincided with the appearance of a new discipline, evolutionary physiology, which was a natural outgrowth of ecological physiology (or physiological ecology). From this period to the present day, studies of thermoregulation have driven much of the conceptual development within ecological and evolutionary physiology, thereby strengthening our general understanding of regulatory behavior.

Article.  8276 words. 

Subjects: Applied Ecology (Environmental Science) ; Ecology and Conservation ; Plant Ecology ; Zoology and Animal Sciences

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