Animal Physiology 4: Temperature, heat and water balance
What you'll learn
- Understand how temperature affects animals' metabolism
- Understand how enzymes are engineered to function well at a particular temperature
- Understand how to calculate the energy cost of homeostasis
- Understand the concept of the operative temperature and how it relates to the thermal niche
- Understand the energetic foundation of biogenetic rules such as Bergmann's rule
- Understand the concept of the thermal energy budget and how it shapes the nature of adaptation to environmental temperature
- Understand the role of evaporation from the skin and lungs in adaptation of animals to hot environments
- Understand some of the mechanism for reducing or recovering water lost by evaporation from the skin or lungs
- Understand how heat capacity of the body can be used as an adaptive mechanism for reducing evaporation losses in hot climates
- Understand the nature of adaptive challenges of cold environments
- Understand how animals manage freezing of body water, including antifreeze mechanisms and controlled freezing
- Understand the effect of cold on cell membrane fluidity and how membrane fluidity is managed in cold conditions
- Understand the fundamental energetic constraints that promote hibernation and torpor among animals
- Understand the concept of the water budget and how this ties in to adaptation to different hydric environments
- Understand the different types of hydric environments and the water balance challenges each poses
- Understand the basic mechanism of kidney function and the roles of filtration, reabsorption and secretion
- Understand how nephron function is managed and the relationship of salt recovery from water recovery
- Understand the basic hormonal control systems for kidney function, including the renin-angiotensin system and anti-diuretic hormone
- Understand how nephron morphology relates to kidney function and the changes in nephron morphology that have accompanied the transition to terrestrial life
- Understand the adaptive conflict between salt recovery and water recovery in terrestrial environments and some of the ways animals manage it, including salt glands
- Understand how the nitrogenous waste products of amino acid metabolism tie into the water budget of animals
- Understand how the kidneys of mammals and birds produces urine that is more concentrated than the blood and why the nephrons of the lower vertebrates cannot
- Understand the Malphighian tubule system of insects and how these illustrate the different ways animals meet the same adaptive challenges
- The coursework typical for an upper division or beginning graduate student in the life sciences
- General biology
- Some biochemistry
Animal physiology is, to use a common phrase, how animals work.
Animals are, in one sense, machines, and the aim of the science of physiology is to understand how these machines function—what drives them, how they operate, the interaction of the various systems they comprise, and the physical and chemical constraints on how they work.
Animals are also organisms, and this course is intended to help you understand how animals work as integrated units, i.e. as organisms. We will be concerned with how organisms’ various components work to keep an animal alive, with how these are coordinated, and how the various types of animals, despite their disparate evolutionary histories, solve common physiological problems, sometimes in remarkably innovative ways.
This course is the fourth in a series of courses that, together, would be the equivalent of a one-semester course in animal physiology. I strongly recommend that you take the first two courses in the series, Animal Physiology 1. Respiration and gas exchange, Animal Physiology 2. Blood and circulation,and Animal Physiology 3: Digestion and metabolism before you take this course. .
This course is intended for the upper-division biology student. It is also a good course for graduate students and practicing professionals looking for a brush-up course in animal physiology. I presume that you come into this course with the background in chemistry, physics, mathematics and biology that can be reasonably expected of a senior biology student.
The course consists of about six hours of video clips, parceled into seven lectures.
Who this course is for:
- This course is aimed at the upper-division and graduate student in the life sciences.
- Practicing professionals in the life sciences looking for a brush-up course in animal physiology
- Anyone interested in the nature and workings of biological adaptation
I am a Professor of Biology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York.
I am a physiologist by training but with a deep interest in the interface of physiology, ecology, adaptation and evolution. You can read some of my thoughts in two books I have published: The Extended Organism: The Physiology of Animal-Built Structures (2000) and The Tinkerer's Accomplice: How Design Emerges from Life Itself (2007), both published by Harvard University Press. I have completed a third book, Purpose and Desire: What Makes Something Alive and Why Modern Darwinisms Fails to Explain It, which was published in September 2017 by HarperOne. You can find out more about me at my web site (link above).
My current research focuses on the problem of emergent physiology in social insect colonies. specifically the mound building termites of southern Africa.