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Comparative Animal Physiology

by Greg Crowther


Lyrics

Structure and function reflect one another;
If you know one, you can guess the other.
With the lungs, the surface area is deluxe,
So the function may involve a diffusive flux.

It's comparative animal physiology.
(Comparative animal physiology.)
Structure and function are complimentary
In comparative animal physiology.

Evolution yields adaptation,
And short-term change is acclimatization.
If it's cold one day, you can't evolve,
But you shiver a lot, and the problem is solved.

It's comparative animal physiology.
(Comparative animal physiology.)
Change is induced environmentally
In comparative animal physiology.

Does my environment have the same traits as me?
There's regulation and conformity.
Marine invertebrates osmoconform,
But in freshwater, osmoregulation is the norm.

It's comparative animal physiology.
(Comparative animal physiology.)
Conform or regulate -- what's it gonna be?
It's comparative animal physiology.

In negative feedback, an error is sensed;
Then the body makes the error signal less intense.
If blood sugar's high, an alarm will sound,
And the insulin response will bring it back down.

It's comparative animal physiology.
(Comparative animal physiology.)
Feedback prevents catastrophe
In comparative animal physiology.


Comments

This rap is an overview of four major themes of comparative animal physiology: structure vs. function, adaptation vs. acclimatization, conformity vs. regulation, and feedback control. It was written and performed for Biology 334B at the University of Puget Sound in the fall of 2002.

Questions: (1) This rap says of the lungs, "The function may involve a diffusive flux." What does that mean? (2) The rap says, "In freshwater, osmoregulation is the norm." Is it physiologically realistic to have exceptions to this rule? Why or why not? (3) What organ is responsible for the insulin response to high blood glucose levels? Answers: (1) The main function of the lungs is exchange of the gases oxygen and carbon dioxide, which happens by diffusion (hence "diffusive flux"). Since diffusion rate is directly proportional to surface area, the lungs' high surface area enable high diffusion rates. (2) The concentration of solutes in freshwater is very, very low -- far below the solute concentration of any animal's body fluids. Thus, all freshwater dwellers except some degree of osmoregulation. (3) The pancreas.