Survival Challenges & Adaptations
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No matter how abundant and widely or narrowly distributed a species is in the Biosphere, EVERY species shares in common the need to survive. Indeed, in the biosphere, the name of the game is survival – staying alive! In order for an organism to be successful at surviving, they must acquire certain resources (e.g., energy and nutrients, oxygen) and be capable of avoiding death from both organisms that can kill them, as well as environmental extremes. If the representatives of each species can successfully accomplish these challenges throughout their life, then they will be able to reproduce and help perpetuate the survival of the species. Thus, successful reproduction represents another survival challenge, but it focuses instead on the species in contrast to the individual.
This family of orangutans (Pongo borneo) has been able to reach the age to mate because they successfully dealt with a variety of daily survival challenges.
Every species has “tools” called adaptations that help them to successfully accomplish these survival challenges. Adaptations can be structures on or inside an organism’s body, functions (physiological processes) and the way they behave that enable them to stay alive. For example, a katydid uses its green coloration to camouflage itself among the leaves it feeds on. This adaptation enables it to help blend in and avoid predation by animals such as birds, frogs and snakes. Notice the difficulty in seeing the katydid in the video below until extremely close.
Credits: Orangutans (Dorling Kindersley) / Katydid (Atelopus | istock)