Introduction to ecosystems
Introduction to ecosystems

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Introduction to ecosystems

Week 3: Animals and ecosystems at the extremes


Figure 1

Studying ecosystems in the most inhospitable places reveals a range of adaptations to survival. Desert or polar ecosystems seem remote, but their links with other ecosystems are very important.

Conditions in deserts and around the poles are harsh and the organisms that live in these habitats have a range of adaptations that enable them to live there, though often on the margins of survival. So, understanding how organisms survive is part of our understanding of the ecosystems as a whole. Studying how the organisms fit into an ecosystem involves considering a number of features. You will look at the integration of behaviour anatomy, physiology and biochemistry in diverse vertebrates that live in extreme conditions.

Figure 2

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