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Environmental Physiology of Animals

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2006


    Are you working in the area physiological functioning and the comparative adaptations of animals? If you are, this book is for you. Authors Pat Willmer, Graham Stone and Ian A. Johnston, have written an outstanding book that integrates animal physiology into a more holistic approach. Willmer, Stone and Johnston, begin by considering adaptation in relation to selection on phenotypes, as determined by genes and their constituent DNA. Then, they cover the process of adaptation in a suitable molecular context, so that new information on the molecular interactions and genomic changes underlying ecophysiological modification can be easily assimilated as it becomes available. The authors continue by discussing the problems of size and scale. In addition, they also present the mechanisms for keeping volumes and concentrations of biological solutions under control--thus, keeping animal tissues operative, in the face of this fundamental challenge. The authors also examine the problem of animal water balance in terms of the actions , and control, of particular effector organs. Then, the authors discuss metabolism and energy supply. Next, they look at the fundamental design of respiratory systems whereby aerobically respiring animals take up the oxygen they require. Then, the authors review the effects of temperature on animals, and the kinds of adaptation they show to withstand or to counter temperature change. Next, they examine the basic functioning of excitable tissues, and how they permit detection of environmental change, response to it, and indeed learning about it. The authors continue by examining the properties and roles of hormones, especially in relation to the bigger issues of coping with environmental challenges, dealing first with the endocrine systems and component glands in different kinds of animals, then with the various functions that are regulated by specific hormones. In addition, they also examine marine life in general. The authors also discuss seashores and estuaries. Then, the authors discuss the nature and occurrence of fresh water. Next, they cover a range of 'aquatic' habitats that are in various ways not strictly within the definitions of marine, littoral, estuarine, or freshwater habitats. Then, the authors cover the essential strategies of the broad range of animals that live in the majority of terrestrial habitats particularly, in the temperate zones and the humid tropics, where thermal extremes are rarely encountered, and where water balance, though difficult to achieve, is not pushed to the limits for survival. Next, they deal with some special cases of terrestrial life: hot and arid deserts, where the hygrothermal endurance limits of animal residents may be severely tested polar regions, tundra, and northern coniferous forests, where extreme cold is superimposed on the generality of terrestrial problems and, montane habitats, where altitude effects may parallel the latitudinal effects at the poles. Finally, the authors survey the departures from a free-living physiology that are associated with a range of types of parasitism. This excellent book also includes both an ecological setting and an appreciation of the range of behavioral responses open to individual animals before specific physiological responses need to come into play. Furthermore, the book has clearly met a need and found a very receptive audience.

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