In these days of global warming it is important to realize how important temperature is in regulation of a variety of biological processes. Here is today's sampler of examples:
Reproduction involves a critical decision: Should an organism invest energy in a few large offspring or many small ones? In a new study from the American Naturalist, biologists used a new statistical approach that can test multiple theories at the same time, an approach they hope will shed light on many evolutionary problems. They used data from many populations of Eastern Fence Lizards (Sceloporus undulatus), which revealed that the lizards in colder environments produce larger offspring than lizards in warmer environments.
The larvae of Antarctic midges never stop producing special proteins that minimize environmental stress, allowing them to withstand a range of intense environmental conditions in one of the world's harshest environments. Scientists found that adult midges (Belgica antarctica) lose their ability to continually express these protective heat-shock proteins.
Organisms have been able to adapt to environments ranging from cold polar oceans to hot thermal vents. However, University of Washington researchers have discovered a limit to the powerful forces of natural selection, at least when it comes to the adaptation of insects to cold temperatures.