The Open Door Web Site
Part XVIII: Energy and Activity : Activity in a Changing Climate Index
The High Andes
ENERGY AND ACTIVITY
Activity in a Changing Climate
The environment around an animal or a plant is constantly changing. The temperature of the air or water that a living organism lives in is especially important. During the day it may be warm but at night the temperature falls. The temperature of the environment also changes with the seasons; winter is colder than summer.
The temperature also depends upon the altitude and the latitude. As you climb up a mountain the air becomes colder. The temperature falls by about 6°C for every 1000 metres that you climb. Also, at the North and South Poles it is so cold that there is snow and ice all year round.
Even though the air temperature can be as low as -70°C in the Antarctic or as high as +50°C in desert regions, we can find living organisms all over the Earth and all through the year. How can living organisms survive in these conditions?
How animals control their body temperature
Animals can be divided into two types: 'warm-blooded' animals and 'cold-blooded' animals.
'Cold-blooded' animals include all the invertebrates, such as insects, worms and molluscs. Amongst the vertebrates fish, amphibians and reptiles are also 'cold-blooded'. The 'warm-blooded' animals include all the birds and mammals.
You probably already know that the temperature of your body is nearly always 37°C. Like all warm-blooded animals we can keep our body temperature constant. This does not mean that all warm-blooded animals have a body temperature of 37°C. The table below shows the body temperatures of some different animals:
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