from The Open University
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
BBC Inside Science: Peat, citizen science and the Higgs BosonThursday, 3rd September 2015 16:30 - BBC Radio 4This week on BBC Inside Science: peat restoration, CERN memoirs and citizen science. Read more: BBC Inside Science: Peat, citizen science and the Higgs Boson
BBC Inside Science: Peat, citizen science and the Higgs BosonThursday, 3rd September 2015 21:00 - BBC Radio 4
BBC Inside Science: Peat, citizen science and the Higgs BosonThursday, 3rd September 2015 21:00 -
Are our kids tough enough? Chinese school: Episode ThreeFriday, 4th September 2015 00:45 - BBC Two
Canals: The Making of a Nation: EngineeringAvailable until Friday, 2nd October 2015 01:50Episode 6 of 6 looks at the rise of civil engineering and the feats of technology behind the Leeds-Liverpool canal. Read more: Canals: The Making of a Nation: Engineering
More or Less: Chinese market crash, e-cigarettes and runnersAvailable for over a year
The world’s busiest railway 2015 – Mumbai Railway: Episode 1Available until Tuesday, 29th September 2015 19:00
Are our kids tough enough? Chinese school: Episode TwoAvailable until Monday, 28th September 2015 01:55
Fair shares? Why sharing needs a democratic revolutionThe sharing economy is in danger of becoming dominated by Silicon Valley. That needs to change,... Read more: Fair shares? Why sharing needs a democratic revolution
OpenLearn Live: 2nd September 2015The devil's music is just the start of a day of free learning. Read more: OpenLearn Live: 2nd September 2015
The Roman Empire: introducing some key termsThis free course will define basic concepts and terms that are essential for an understanding of... Try: The Roman Empire: introducing some key terms now
Forensic psychologyDiscover how psychology can help obtain evidence from eyewitnesses in police investigations and... Try: Forensic psychology now
Animals at the extremes: Polar biology
The extreme challenges of life in the polar regions require the animals who make their...
The extreme challenges of life in the polar regions require the animals who make their habitat there to make many adaptations. This unit explores the polar climate and how animals like reindeer, polar bears, penguins, sea life and even humans manage to survive there. It looks at the adaptations to physiological proceses, the environmental effects on diet, activity and fecundity, and contrasts the strategies of aquatic and land-based animals in surviving in this extreme habitat. This unit builds on and develops ideas from two other 'Animals at the extreme' units: The desert environment (S324_1) and Hibernation and torpor (S324_2).
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;
- outline the special features of the polar regions as a habitat and list some contrasts between the Arctic and the Antarctic;
- describe some effects of daylength on feeding, fat deposition and reproduction in arctic animals;
- explain why the environmental controls of appetite, activity level and fecundity are essential adaptations to living at high latitudes and describe some physiological mechanisms involved;
- describe some adaptations of fuel metabolism and bone formation to dormancy in bears;
- describe the metabolic control of prolonged fasting in breeding polar bears and penguins;
- explain the use of comparative studies to identify anatomical and physiological adaptations to thermal insulation in aquatic and terrestrial endotherms;
- describe some adaptations of the blood, respiratory system and muscles of fish to the polar environment;
- explain the role of fatty acid profiles in investigating the diet of polar vertebrates.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Polar biology
- 2 Environmental regulation of physiological processes
- 3 Natural feasting and fasting
- 4 Thermal insulation
- 5 Polar ectotherms
- 6 Conclusion
- Unit questions
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn and track your progress. Make your learning visible!
Animals at the extremes: Polar biology
This unit is the third in a series of three on Animals at the extreme. In order to get the most from it you should have previously studiedAnimals at the extreme: the desert environment (S324_1)andAnimals at the extreme: hibernation and torpor
This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Animal physiology (S324) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in.
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 courses or view the range of currently available OU Natural History courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 1st June 2011
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.