Tuesday, May 16, 2006

THE ADAPTATION REQUIRED TO MAKE THE TRANSITION FROM AQUQTIC TO TERRESTRIAL LIFE USING AMPHIBIANS AS EXAMPLE

Amphibians belong to the phylum chordate. Amphibians are organisms which live double life, both aquatic and terrestrial. In the aquatic environment, amphibians use gills to breath as opposed to the terrestrial environment where they lungs to breath. Even though amphibians can live on terrestrial environment but they do not have the ability to adapt on land. Their inability to adapt to the terrestrial environment can be attributed to some of the limiting factors such as population growth and diseases.

In the water algae are thought to be the producers. This means that algae can be able to produce their own food. Therefore animals in the aquatic environment will feed on algae. These also apply to the amphibians in the water, because they feed on the algae. Algae also help the amphibians during the laying of their eggs; the eggs are laid and remain hanging around the algae until hatching. The young tadpoles hatched will feed on the algae until their development into adult frog and move out of the water into the terrestrial environment.

Another example of the amphibian which has the double life is the crocodile. Crocodile also spend much of their time in water, where they find it easier to catch their preys such as goats and antelopes when they coming to drink water. In a sunny day they move out of the water to bask for the sun, but when their enemy comes the crocodiles run back into the water for hiding. They are able to live on both environments, aquatic and terrestrial because as like in frogs they possess both the gills and the lungs.

In almost all amphibians, an adaptation in the terrestrial environment is not easy. Their failure to adapt to the terrestrial environment can be attributed to many limiting factors such as population growth, climate change, urbanization and the drying out of the coal swamps. As the population continues to grow, this means that more land is occupied by the people and the buildings. The more the population grows, the higher would be the demand for the fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gases. The more the fossil fuels are burnt, the higher would be the temperature. The high temperature will affect the life of the amphibians in the terrestrial environment, because of the high rate of evaporation which will occur.

The adaptations in the terrestrial environment by the amphibians will continue to deteriorate as long as human beings continue to pollute the environment through their anthropogenic factors. As amphibians are surpassed by the reptiles in the terrestrial environment, in the aquatic environment such as the rivers amphibians were multiplying in numbers in the late Permian. Even today the most suitable environment for the amphibians is aquatic environment.

In concluding paragraph, it can be easily said that amphibians have not fully adapt to the terrestrial environment. Their failure to adapt to the terrestrial environment can be attributed to the many limiting factors such as climate and the drying out of the swamps. Lastly, the aquatic environment favours amphibians.

References

Wikipedia contributors. Amphibian [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2006 May 09, 00:20 UTC [cited 2006 May 09]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org.wiki/Amphibian
Wikipedia contributors. Chordata [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2006 May 08, 12: 15 UTC [cited 2006 May 09]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org.wiki.Chordata

Masiya Kedibone
CSIR Pretoria
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Fax: 012 842 3676
E-mail:kmasiya@csir.co.za
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