A comparison of survival strategies in the extreme environment.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Species living on the Antarctic continent and its surrounding oceans have had to adapt to live in the extreme environment. These adaptations are specialised strategies that species have evolved to aid survival by increasing reproductive success and lifespan of the individual and have occurred over geological time frame. These survival strategies fall into three main categories, which are biochemical changes, physiological changes and behavioural changes. Biochemical changes are those that occur at a cellular or protein level, or chemical processes. An example of this is the polypeptides of antifreeze glycoproteins and antifreeze peptides of notothenioid fish such as Pagothenia borchgrevinki. Physiological changes are changes to the structure of a species to help the species function more efficiently. These are generally larger in scale and can be measured or observed, such as the Antarctic krill Euphausia superba retaining the ability to moult into adulthood in response to food supply. Behavioural changes such as the migration of Adélie penguins Pygoscelis adeliae in the winter months show conscious movement to a northern location where the chances of survival are increased. There are many survival strategies in Antarctica and most species have a combination of the different types. The aim of this review was to choose one adaptation within different groups of organisms to demonstrate the range of survival strategies, using one species as an example of each. Scientific journal articles, Antarctic organisation websites and published books were used.
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