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AP Bio



Unit 8

8.1 Responses to the Environment

2 min readmay 31, 2020


Caroline Koffke

Environmental Factors

Organisms have highly evolved mechanisms of responding to their environment. These responses may be behavioral, such as finding higher ground during a rainstorm, or physiological, such as an increase in epinephrine during a high-stress situation. A number of environmental factors, such as changing temperature, weather patterns, an increase or decrease in food or water, or a decrease in a shelter can lead to changes within an organism. Many organisms are dependent on the seasons, hibernating or migrating in winter. These mechanisms and responses help them to survive and reproduce.

🗣 Communication

Organisms can also communicate with one another. Different species have their own highly evolved mechanisms of communication. This can involve the release of hormones, behavioral patterns, mating dances, warning calls, or any other number of responses.

Image courtesy of Giphy.

These forms of communications may be spurred by a physiological response from an organism, meaning something that occurs within themselves, such as hunger, or through an environmental change, such as the approaching of a predator. As a reminder, just like humans, many species communicate using verbal and nonverbal cues. This can involve audible warning signs and visible body language shifts. Some animal species have communication patterns that are far more complex than what we have.
Organisms often communicate changes that they sense in their environment in order to protect the members of their same species. For instance, prairie dogs are known to become very visible and give a loud warning call that can be heard by their own family members if a predator is approaching. While this may make them more susceptible to the predator, their genes will still be passed on by the family members that survive.
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