Tag Archives: animals

Physiological Adaptations for Survival

salt tolerant plants at Port Fairy

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Over the semester break, please read through Chapter 10 carefully and start to answer the Chapter review questions. Leave a comment below or email me if you have any trouble with those questions. Physiological adaptations are ways that organisms are able to survive due to the way that they function. So succulent plants, such as those pictured above in Port Fairy, and mangroves are able to tolerate salty environments due to physiological features such as a thick cuticle that reduces water loss and salt glands that excrete excess salt.

Koalas have physiological adaptations that enable them to survive on a high fibre, low protein diet. As well as the obvious behavioural adaptations (usually slow moving and sleepy), koalas have reduced metabolic requirements and a slow metabolism, that enables them to survive on a diet of Eucalyptus leaves. Living organisms have evolved a great variety of strategies that enable them to survive extreme conditions in almost every place on the planet – temperature (hot and cold); moisture (wet and dry); chemical (high salinity for example); oxygen availability and fire tolerance. Some great examples at BBC Wildlife Finder – Adaptations.

Trip to Melbourne Zoo

emerald tree boa
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Year 11 Biology students are looking forward to their excursion to Melbourne Zoo in a couple of weeks. As part of our study of Adaptations of organisms – including structural, functional and behavioural adaptations and reproductive strategies of organisms, we will be spending the day in Melbourne.

Zoos Victoria have produced a range of learning resources for VCE classes, including Reproduction, Survival Behaviour and Hot, Wet and Wild. We will use these in our self-guided tour of the Zoo.

Survival behaviours

Yabby at Sydney Aquarium

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The yabbies in our school aquarium make suitable subjects for a study of animal behaviour. Can you classify yabby behaviour according the following:

  • feeding
  • maintenance
  • territorial
  • agressive
  • defensive
  • co-operative
  • reproductive
  • parenting

Which are learned behaviours and which are innate? How are each of these behaviours important to the survival of the yabby as a species? How do you think the behaviour of the yabby is modified by being confined to an aquarium? Can you observe yabbies communicating with each other?

 Department of Primary Industries Aquaculture fact sheet:  “Biology of Yabbies (Cherax destructor)”

Animal behaviour experiment with yabbies: “Agonistic behaviour in Crayfish”