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The affect of temperature as an environmental pressure that affects mammalian life - Research Paper Example

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The Effect of Temperature on Mammalian Life Name:  Institution:       The Effect of Temperature on Mammalian Life Introduction Mammalian animals are members of the vertebrate group characterized by endothermy, mammary glands, hair, sweat glands and middle ear bones…
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The affect of temperature as an environmental pressure that affects mammalian life
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"The affect of temperature as an environmental pressure that affects mammalian life"

As such, it is one of the abiotic factors, which influence ecosystems and their flora and fauna. All plant and animal life is adapted to survive within a certain range of temperature. The earth has various regions zoned according to temperature, and these zones are inhabited by different types of animals and plants depending on how well they are able to tolerate the temperature in these zones. Mammals are homeothermal in nature and they are able to control their temperature so as to retain it within their natural range. If the regulatory system fails due to excessive increase of decrease, then, these animals often die. In essence, temperature acts as a significant factor that influences many aspects of mammalian life. Its pressure on mammalian ecosystems and physiology has been a significant shaping force of mammalian evolution, geographic distribution and overall survival. This paper highlights various research studies that have helped in supporting this thesis by proving the effect of temperature on mammalian microevolution, habitat distribution and overall physiologic processes such as growth. Perhaps the first and most significant influence of temperature on mammalian life is growth rate. A research by Kaufmann et al (2000), found that mammalian cell proliferation can be controlled by changing cell cultivation temperatures. The research revealed that the shifts in temperature affects protein formation, especially; at the translation stage of protein expression. A decline in culture temperature from 37°C to 30°C in the research caused arrested growth of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO). Additionally, observed proteome changes showed that mammalian cell response to cold temperature also entails changes in protein modifications at the post-translational stage. The findings of this study are supported by other similar study by Watanabe and Okada (1967), which showed that temperature significantly, influences the rate of growth of mammalian cells. These studies show that temperature influences the rate of growth among mammals. The above studies are further supported by the duo of Maria and Slade (1999), who proved that seasonal weather changes, which include temperature significantly affected the growth rates and weight of mammalian Cotton Rats (Sigmodon hispidus). These studies prove that temperature is a significant physiologic influence in mammalian growth and development. The fact that temperature has such an effect on mammalian life implies that it must have also been a significant influence the mammalian evolutionary process. Interestingly, studies on microevolution have revealed that the DNA of mammals living in warmer climatic zones changes at a rate that is faster than that of mammals residing in cooler climates (Weir & Dolph, 2011; Husby et al, 2011). These studies have partially explained why the tropics are species-rich, and also proven the fact that temperature has influence on mammalian microevolution. The microevolution processes create beneficial changes such as resistance to diseases and heat, but never lead to the development of new species. A study by Weir and Dolph (2011), affirms that mammalian molecular evolution is influenced by temperature, but it disputes the rate at which this occurs by assessing a previous study by Gillman and others. The reveals that there is some acceleration of molecular evolution among mammals, which is attributable to warmer environments. A similar study by Husby et al. (2011) showed that microevolution among wild birds is Read More
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