from The Open University
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Waiting in Line: The Business of QueuingSaturday, 28th February 2015 17:30 - BBC Radio 4Evan and his guests look at the stereotypically British art of queuing and how it affects businesses. Read more: The Bottom Line - The business of queuing
Inside the Commons - Episode 4Saturday, 28th February 2015 21:15 - BBC Two Scotland only
Thinking Allowed: Migration to London and South AfricaMonday, 2nd March 2015 00:15 - BBC Radio 4
Inside the Commons - Episode 3Available until Friday, 13th March 2015 15:00This week's Inside the Commons asks whether the three-party system is falling apart at the seams. Read more: OU on the BBC: Inside the Commons - Episode 3
Blackhat, dark night: Could hackers really cause a power outage?Although the nuclear meltdown depicted in Blackhat is fiction, Mike Richards warns there are... Read more: Blackhat, dark night: Could hackers really cause a power outage?
OU on the BBC: Inside the CommonsThis major four-part series from inside the House Of Commons gives viewers unparalleled access to... Read more: OU on the BBC: Inside the Commons
Succeed with maths – Part 1 [TEST]DO NOT ATTEMPT TO COMPLETE THIS COURSE. IT IS ENTIRELY FOR OPENLEARN TESTING PURPOSES. Try: Succeed with maths – Part 1 [TEST] now
Succeed with maths – Part 1[BETA] If you feel that maths is a mystery that you want to unravel then this short 8-week course... Try: Succeed with maths – Part 1 now
Animals at the extremes: Hibernation and torpor
Hibernation is an ingenious adaptation that some animals employ to survive difficult...
Hibernation is an ingenious adaptation that some animals employ to survive difficult conditions in winter. This unit examines the differences between hibernation and torpor, and discusses the characteristic signs of hibernation behaviour. It explores the triggers that bring on hibernation, and whether internal signals or external season cues are predominant. It also examines the physiological adaptations that occur in hibernating animals. This unit builds on and develops ideas introduced in the OpenLearn unit Animals at the extremes: The desert environment (S324_1).
By the end of this unit you should be able to:
- define and use, or recognize definitions and applications of, each of the bold terms;
- give definitions of the terms ‘hibernation’, ‘torpor’ and ‘adaptive hypothermia’, and the three physiological processes that underlie them;
- give examples of the diversity of the major groups of mammals and birds that contain hibernating species;
- describe the physiological changes occurring during entry to hibernation and at least three of the cues that may trigger entry;
- present evidence to show that hibernating mammals and birds retain physiological control of their T
- explain the role of brown adipose tissue and mitochondrial uncoupling of respiration from metabolic energy release in heat generation in mammals;
- describe the analytical and targeted experimental approaches to the identification of genes and proteins implicated in hibernation and arousal, and give examples of them;
- explain the importance of the selection of appropriate metabolic fuel sources in hibernators;
- describe the changes needed to maintain hibernation and survival at cellular level;
- critically describe experiments designed to evaluate the energy cost of hibernation as compared with euthermia, and discuss the importance of three factors that influence whether animals use hibernation as an energy-conserving strategy;
- suggest why periodic arousals occur and offer a mechanism for them;
- present experimental evidence for the view that control of T
b depends upon temperature-sensitive neurons and suggest where they may be located;
- give examples of systems of chemical control for the onset and maintenance of hibernation that operate in the brain and blood circulation;
- describe the relationship between circadian controls of sleep–waking cycles and the maintenance of torpor;
- use diagrams and flow-charts to illustrate physiological and biochemical principles.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Hibernation and torpor: An introduction
- 2 The nature and extent of hibernation and torpor in endotherms
- 3 Characteristics of hibernation behaviour
- 4 Physiological adaptations – molecules and cells
- 5 Physiological adaptations – respiration and energy provision
- 6 Control systems
- 6.1 Introduction
- 6.2 The hypothalamus as central regulator
- 6.3 Metabolic regulation and the midbrain
- 6.4 Rapid-response genes and rhythmic neuronal activity
- 6.5 The neurotransmitters histamine and serotonin: a role for chemical signalling between neurons of the hypothalamus
- 6.6 Hormones and hibernation
- 6.7 Sleep, the brain and hibernation
- 6.8 Summary
- Unit Questions
Animals at the extremes: Hibernation and torpor
This is the second in a series of three units on Animals at the extremes. In order to get the most from it, you should have previously studied Animals at the extremes: Polar biology (S324_3).. After completing this unit you might like to complete the series by studying
This unit is from our archive and it is an adapted extract from Animal physiology (S324), which is no longer in presentation. If you wish to study formally at The Open University, you may wish to explore the courses we offer in this curriculum area.
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Natural History course units or view the range of currently available OU Natural History courses.