It is important for organisms to maintain homeostasis in order to survive. An integral component of homeostasis is thermal regulation. Two ways organisms deal with thermoregulation is through behavioral and morphological adaptations. This experiment explores the behavioral adaptation of burrowing and the morphological adaptation of adding feathers in a model organism. It is predicted that burrowing and the addition of feathers will both help maintain homeostasis through thermoregulation. This study showed that the morphological change of adding feathers aided in thermoregulation, where as burrowing did not. Burrowing might not have proved advantageous in this experiment because of flaws in experimental design.
Organisms attempt to keep their selves in homeostasis in order to maintain their livelihood. A major factor to homeostasis is loss of heat or heat exhaustion. The thermal environment in which an organism lives has a tremendous impact on maintaining its homeostasis. There are numerous things that an organism can do to adjust to its thermal environment. For example, an organism can move to a different microenvironment that would keep it warmer or colder. Another adaptation is that an organism can use coating such as fur or feathers to help insulate. The purpose of this experiment is to explore a behavioral and morphological change that an organism can make in order to adapt to their thermal environment. It is proposed that if an organism burrows or is covered with leaves then it will retain heat more efficiently. It is also proposed that if an organism is covered with feathers, it will retain heat more efficiently than a naked organism. This is thought because insulators, whether leaves or fur, will retain heat better and therefore will have a slower rate of loss of heat. An organism can make a behavioral change such as burrowing itself in the ground or under leaves in order to take advantage of these insulators. For an organism to take advantage of the morphological adaptation, the adaptation must show a competitive advantage and be rendered through evolution.
In order to test the hypothesis concerning adaptations to a thermal environment the rate of loss of temperature was measured for each adaptation. Peeps were used as a model organism to mimic the consistency and conductivity of tissue. Metal thermometers were heated and then placed in the Peeps. The Peeps were taken to Peach Tree Nature preserve, a local hardwood forest, and placed in the environment. The Peeps were partitioned into four separate groups with five in each group. There was one experimental group that was covered with bird feathers and then placed outside for 15 min...