Adaptations – Variation and Biodiversity Ep 5

In the last article we looked at natural selection, a process which leads to evolution. We saw that if an organism has advantageous alleles, it is better adapted to its environment and is more likely to survive and reproduce. In today’s article we will look at the different types of adaptions that organisms can have to increase their survival chances.

Organisms must be adapted to both the biotic conditions (living factors such as predators) and abiotic conditions (non-living factors such as temperature) of their environment. Remember that the best adapted organisms will be most likely to pass on their alleles to their offspring, so the adaptations will become more common over time.

Behavioural adaptations

A behavioural adaptation is an action an organism takes to increase its chances of survival and reproduction. Examples include birds migrating south in the winter to avoid cold weather, mating rituals, and hunting at night to avoid being spotted by predators. Check out the amazing mating ritual of puffer fish here.

Anatomical adaptations

An anatomical adaption is a structural feature of an organism which increases its chances of survival and reproduction. Examples include a thick coat of fur to keep warm, thorns to deter predators, or a long snout to reach insects in crevices.

An arctic hare has a thick white fur coat for warmth and camouflage.

Physiological adaptations

An physiological adaption is a metabolic process within an organism which increases its chances of survival and reproduction. Examples include having a haemoglobin protein with a high affinity of oxygen at low partial pressures of oxygen, producing antifreeze proteins in cold environments, and the ability to change colour as camouflage.

A chameleon is able to change colour for camouflage.


  • Adaptions increase an organisms chances of surviving to reproduce and pass on alleles to offspring.
  • Physiological, anatomical, and behavioural adaptations are all important for enabling an organism to be adapted to both the biotic and abiotic conditions of its environment.

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