Fitness: how thermoregulation enables the alligator to stay on top
The American alligator is able to acclimatize to their environments by thermoregulating. Studies suggest that alligators’ thermal preference is between 29 and 31°C, yet they are able to function at temperatures well outside this range by changing behavioral or physiological functions (Asa et al., 1998; Seebacher and Guderley et al., 2003). Decreased temperatures, according to the laws of thermodynamics, depress animal function and can have a debilitating effect on animals’ fitness (Haynie, 2001). Yet, because alligators are able to regulate their body temperature, they can function at an optimal level when confronted with sever climatic fluctuations (Smith, 1979; Asa et al., 1998). As such, the alligator’s ability to thermoregulate is essential to their survival and enables them to maintain their position as apex predator (O'Connell et al., 2007).
For any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org