Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Survival in extreme hot and dry environment

Dr Abe V Rotor

Bamboo flowers if threatened by severe drought.

"Take heed of the flowering bamboo," old folks warn.  It foretells El Niño, a cyclical climatic phenomenon every seven to ten years characterized by extreme hot and dry climate. The biblical story of Joseph interpreting the pharaoh's dream of "seven years of plenty followed by seven years of want," is most likely based on this phenomenon. (Note: The inflorescence of bamboo does not develop in open, thus certain species are threatened, so with the animals depending on them such as the Panda in China.)   

Porcupine enconsed itself in a log to beat summer heat 

Organisms become dormant (aestivate to many animals), their metabolism slows down, they stop reproducing temporarily, and they become less visible.  These are part of survival mechanism until normal environmental conditions are restored. Organisms are attuned to the march of seasons as well as the vagaries of weather and harsh effect of force majeure. These are tests of evolution and the basis of Darwin's "survival of the fittest."  

Dwarf frangipani (kalachuchi) stores water in its bulbous stem. 

Many plants, especially cacti, store water for the dry season. Water and nutrients are stored in special cells  that swell when filled up and shrink as the supply gets low. The principle involved is even more complex in the camel, whose humps are the storage organ.     Before embarking for journey, travelers make certain that the humps of this "ship in the desert" is solid and firm.  

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