What Is Thermoregulation?

Thermoregulation is an organism's control or maintenance of normal body temperature continually adjusting to fit the enviornment which surrounds the organism.

This process is vital to the survival of ourselves as well as our animal friends which share our earth.

I'm Sweating!!

The body's ability to perspire is among the many everyday, visible processess our body goes through to regulate our heat. Skin is only one of the bodies mechanism's for body temperature regulation. Some animals, such as reptiles, lack the ability to regulate their own body temperature through internal processes. This leads science to distinguish between mammals and reptiles in with two distinct terms, endotherm and ectotherm.

Endotherms v.s. Ectotherms

This blue jay is an example of an endotherm. The blue jay, like many other birds use their feathers as a method of thermoregulation to retain heat during cold periods.

The advantages of endothermic regulation are:

1. Ability to reproduce whenever opportunity presents itself

2. Ability to span different enviornments

The disadvantages are:

1. High energy use of the body to maintain heat

2. Need to acquire resources (eat food) often due to high metabolic rates.




Lizards, such as the one to the right, are perfect examples of ectotherms and the process of this heat regulation process. Reptiles must use the external enviornment to regulate their body heat.

If you have ever owned an iguana, you know about purchasing heat lamps for day and heat lamps for night.

Reptiles have no form of internal body heat regulation, reptiles must lay in the sun all day to stay warm. They use stored heat from the day to warm them through the night. Lizards cannot cool themselves through sweating, they must find shade to lower their body temperature.

Advantages of Ectothermic regulation:

1. Decreased maintanence needed by the body

2. Need for resources (food) very low due to low metabolic rates. Lizards for example, could go 2 weeks without a meal.

Disadvantages of Ectothermic regulation

1. Only a small window for reproduction to occur

2. Food acquistion also hard to accomplish.


Created By: Joseph Chiaro

November 14, 2006

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