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Ecological and Environmental Physiology of Mammals$
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Philip C. Withers, Christine E. Cooper, Shane K. Maloney, Francisco Bozinovic, and Ariovaldo P. Cruz Neto

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199642717

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199642717.001.0001

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Physiological Adaptations to Extreme Environments

Physiological Adaptations to Extreme Environments

Chapter:
(p.290) 4 Physiological Adaptations to Extreme Environments
Source:
Ecological and Environmental Physiology of Mammals
Author(s):

Philip C. Withers

Christine E. Cooper

Shane K. Maloney

Francisco Bozinovic

Ariovaldo P. Cruz-Neto

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199642717.003.0004

Chapter 4 describes how the plastic and flexible bauplan of mammals is adapted for extreme environments and extreme activities. It first examines how mammals survive in extreme cold environments, including polar regions, and then hot and dry environments, including the harshest deserts. Adaptations are described for mammals that live underground in often hypoxic, hypercapnic, and humid environments; at high altitudes in a hypoxic and cold environment; and underwater, where they must cope with extended apnoea and limited oxygen stores as well as high pressures in very deep ocean environments. How various mammals are adapted for specialized cursorial or brachiating locomotion, migration, and have occupied the aerial environment as gliders—and bats as powered fliers—is then described. Finally, the chapter explores how various mammals are able to exploit food sources that are generally difficult to digest (i.e. diets including keratin, bone, waxes, chitin, and plant cells containing cellulose, hemicellulose, and plant secondary metabolites).

Keywords:   insulation, heterothermy, evaporation, hypoxia, hypercapnia, diving, hyperbaria, locomotion, flight, digestion

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