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In this free course, Surviving the winter, we study one aspect of the fluctuating nature of an organisms environment. We consider how organisms living in a temperate climate, such as that in Britain, are adapted to cope with winter. You will see that there is much diversity of adaptations among organisms, with different species coping with the demands of a fluctuating environment in quite different ways. As cyclic variations are a widespread feature of environments, the range of adaptations to them is an important source of biological diversity.
After studying this unit, you will be able to:
- define and use, or recognise definitions and applications of, each of the terms printed in bold in the text;
- identify the four main strategies shown by organisms for coping with winter;
- appreciate and give examples of the levels and types of explanation used for understanding these strategies;
- describe ways in which the strategies can be subjected to experimental manipulation;
- provide examples of how plants, birds and mammals can remain active through winter;
- give examples of organisms that survive the winter as juveniles.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Surviving the winter
- 1.1 Living in a fluctuating environment
- 1.2 Response to winter: understanding at different levels
- 1.3 Strategy 1: Remaining active through the winter (‘tough it out’)
- 1.4 Strategy 2: dormancy in winter (‘opt out’)
- 1.5 Strategies 3 and 4: juvenile survival and migration
- 1.6 Conclusion
- 2 SAQs
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
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Surviving the winter
In this unit, we study one aspect of the fluctuating nature of an organism's environment. We consider how organisms living in a temperate climate, such as that in Britain, are adapted to cope with winter. You will see that there is much diversity of adaptations among organisms, with different species coping with the demands of a fluctuating environment in quite different ways. As cyclic variations are a widespread feature of environments, the range of adaptations to them is an important source of biological diversity.
This unit is an adapted extract from the course
This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Biology, uniformity and diversity (S204) 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 subject area.
This free course includes adapted extracts 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: Friday, 3rd June 2011
Last updated on: Thursday, 11th October 2012
- 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 and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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