Free course

Animals at the extremes: The desert environment

Free statement of participation on completion

Animal life has adapted to survive in the most unlikely and inhospitable habitats. This free course, Animals at the extremes: The desert environment, looks at the surprisingly diverse desert climates throughout the world and mammals, birds, lizards and amphibians that survive there. It splits these animals into three groups according to their strategy for survival: evaders, evaporators and endurers, then discusses how these strategies work on a biochemical and physiological level.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • define and use, or recognise definitions and applications of, each of the bold terms
  • provide examples that show there is a continuum of desert climates and environments that link to diversity of flora and fauna
  • explain, with examples, the thermoregulatory strategies of evaders, evaporators and endurers, and interpret relevant data
  • describe the importance of integration of behaviour, anatomy, physiology and biochemistry in the study of animals that live in deserts
  • explain physiological mechanisms of water conservation and cooling in named evaders, evaporators and endurers, and interpret relevant data.