Table of Contents • Desert Adaptations • Tropical Rainforest Adaptations • Grassland Adaptations • Temperate Rainforest Adaptations • Temperate Deciduous Forest Adaptations • Taiga Adaptations • Tundra Adaptations • Ocean Adaptations
What Does Adaptation Mean? • The special characteristics that enable plants and animals to be successful in a particular environment.
What are some reasons animals adapt? • Make a list on your paper and be prepared to share with the class.
Adaptations are the result of evolution • Adaptations occur because of natural genetic variations in a species or because of genetic mutations or changes! • All species have a natural variety within them. • Some of the variations and mutations can help an animal or plant to survive better than others in the species.
What are some adaptations that you know about already? • Make a list on your paper and be prepared to share with the class.
Some examples • Fish have gills. These gills allow fish to breathe underwater. Without gills fish would not be able to survive in their habitat. • Why can’t we breath under water? • Why do whales and dolphins have to come to the surface of the water?
Examples continued • Birds have strong, hollow bones. These hollow bones make birds very light. This is why they are able to fly. Respiratory air sacs also form air pockets in the birds hollow bones. • If they had bones like humans, would they be able to fly? • What are some birds you know of that can’t fly? Why can’t they fly?
Examples continued • Plants have xylem so that they can transport water and other nutrients from the root system to the rest of the organism. • What would happen if they didn’t have xylem?
Structural Adaptations • Structural adaptations are physical features of an organism like the bill on a bird or the fur on a bear.
Behavioral Adaptations • Behavioral adaptations are the behaviors organisms do to survive. For example, hibernation, bird calls, and migration are behavioral adaptations.
You will be shown several pictures of Adaptations.please indicate on your paper if these are structural or behavioral adaptations.
Animal Adaptations to Specific Biomes • Animals will adapt to their surroundings. Animals of similar species can adapt to survive in many different environments. • You will now be shown several different biomes and how the plants and animals in those biomes have adapted to survive.
Plants have many adaptations to cope with the lack of water in the desert. • The barrel cactus has an expandable stem for storing water. • Some other plants have adaptations that reduce water loss from their leaves (this is where most water is lost) • Some have a waxy coating on their leaves • Some have small leaves or no leaves at all
All plants lose water through transpiration (the process of water evaporation through specialized openings in the leaves called stomata, seen in this picture). • The stomata of some desert plants like bitterroot are smaller and there are less of them. • Many desert plants open their stomata only at night, since there is less water loss when it is cooler.
Annual Plants- annual plants on the desert survive periods where water is in short supply because their seeds germinate only after heavy rain, grow rapidly, and live their whole life-cycle in just a few days. • Perennial Plants- they endure the dry periods and make the most of the scarce water supplies. • Grasses have large and complex root systems that allow them to collect water over a wide area. • Bunchgrasses grow in isolated tufts. This reduces competition between plants and assures each tuft of grass its own territory from which to draw water. They also grow tightly together which also conserves water that would be evaporated by the wind.
Suffrutescent Shrubs- are perennial plants that use the strategies of both annuals and perennial plants. They maintain a woody base throughout the year, but grow leafy shoots in the spring to allow them to utilize water. These shoots die back when water is not available. • Example: Nuttall Saltbush
Some plants, like sagebrush, look dull gray. This is because they are covered in tiny hairs . Leaf hairs reflect the rays of the sun and protect it from being dried by the wind. • Big Sagebrush grows two sets of leaves. Large leaves in the spring that allow the plant to take in water and grow rapidly. These fall off in the summer. The smaller leaves that grow allow for less evaporation and conserve water. • Sagebrush also survives due to its three level root system. These allow the plant to obtain all available water.
Some plants, like Rabbitbrush, have very small leaves. This helps them conserve water. • Whenever there is plenty of water, the Prickly Pear Cactus collects moisture in the spongy tissue of its enlarged stems, called pads. The cactus can then draw on this stored supply when the weather turns dry.
Conserving water is important for desert mammals. Some small mammals: • Have no sweat glands • Pass no urine or very concentrated urine like the kangaroo rat. • Acquire all or most of the moisture they need from the food they eat.
Almost all animals in the desert stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. They stay deep underground in burrows where it is much cooler. • Most animals get their water from the food they eat. Green leaves contain a lot of water. Carnivores get water from the bodies of their prey, which contain liquid in the blood and tissues.
There are a few animals that can be seen during the day. These animals protect themselves from the heat by staying in the shade.
The ability to fly allows birds to cover great distances in search of food and water. Because flight generates a lot of heat, birds are naturally adapted to high body temperatures. • Flight also enables a bird to leave areas of extreme hot or cold and to move to a more temperate climate. • Feathers also help insulate birds from the heat of the sun.
Owls and nighthawks gape open-mouthed while rapidly fluttering their throat region to evaporate water from their mouth cavities. • Many birds are active primarily at dawn and within a few hours after sunset, retiring to a cool, shady spot for the remainder of the day.
Bats, most rodents and some larger mammals, like coyotes and skunks, are nocturnal. This means that they are active at night when it is cooler and sleeping during the hot daylight hours.
The mule deer and the elk are crepuscular during times of extreme temperatures, which means they are active for a few hours at dusk and dawn.
Migration is another behavioral adaptation some large mammals like elk and pronghorn rely on to survive harsh temperatures.
Several animals have evolved long appendages to dissipate body heat into their environment. • The enormous ears of the jackrabbit and mule deer release body heat when the animal is resting in a cool, shady location.
To survive extreme temperature, marmots and other small mammals may enter a state of suspended animation called estivation. During estivation the animals breathing, heartbeat, and other body processes slow down. • Large animals like elk have thick coats. This helps insulate their bodies against the heat. • Some animals have lighter colored coats which reflect more light than a dark coat.
Reptiles have thick skin that minimizes water loss. • Reptiles are “cold-blooded” (their body temperature stays about the same as the temperature of their surroundings). These animals survive by avoiding extremely high or low temperatures. • Many reptiles are only active at night. Those that are active during the day keep moving from sunny places to shady spots.
Some lizards have longer legs, so they absorb less surface heat while running. • Reptiles can also enter estivation. • When the desert cools down the reptiles lose their body heat. During the day, they will sunbathe on rocks in order to raise their body temperature. • If the desert has harsh winters, the reptiles will hibernate.
Plants in the rainforest have adaptations that enable them to shed water efficiently. • The leaves of many rainforest plants have drip tips for this purpose. • Tropical rainforest plants also have adaptations to take in what little sunlight is available on the dark forest floor.
Large leaves are common; they increase the amount of sunlight a plant can capture. • Other plants, like orchids, bromeliads and ferns, grow as epiphytes (a plant that grows on another plant upon which it depends for mechanical support but not for nutrients) high up in the canopy where there is more sunlight.
The strangler fig needs sunlight to grow and reproduce. Seeds falling to the ground quickly die in the deep shade and infertile soil of the tropical rainforest. • Its seeds are deposited on branches of host trees by birds and small animals that have eaten the fruit of the strangler fig. The seeds sprout and send a long root to the ground. • This root rapidly increases in diameter and successfully competes for the water and nutrients in the soil. • As the strangler fig matures, branches and leaves grow upwards creating a canopy that blocks sunlight from the host tree. • Additional roots are sent out and wrap around the host tree, forming a massive network of roots that strangle and eventually kill the host.