MadSci Network: Evolution

Re: What are the factors that govern survival in a physical environment?

Date: Fri Jul 20 11:18:28 2001
Posted By: Aydin Orstan, Staff, Office of Food Additive Safety, Food and Drug Administration
Area of science: Evolution
ID: 991551272.Ev

Dear Daniel,

An organism can survive in its specific environment because it is adapted 
to those physical conditions. Plants from temperate zones may not survive 
in the tropics because the soil there may be too wet or the temperatures 
may be too high for them. Conversely, plants from the tropics may not 
survive the winter temperatures in the temperate zones. Likewise, the 
plants that normally grow in areas where there is never a dry season would 
be unlikely to survive in deserts or even in the Mediterranean climates 
where the summers are hot and dry. On the other hand, the plants that live 
in deserts have adaptations that enable them to cope with the scarcity of 
water and the intensity of solar radiation.

But some organisms can tolerate a broad range of physical conditions. For 
example, humans live in all sorts of climates.

It is also possible by selective breeding to increase the tolerance of a 
plant or an animal species to the physical conditions different from those 
in its natural habitat. If you search the Internet for plant 
domestication, you will find many relevant sites.

Aydin Orstan

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