The Biology of Human Survival: Life and Death in Extreme Environments

By Claude A. Piantadosi | Go to book overview

3
Cross-Acclimation

A wonderful opportunity to illustrate the rich complexity of biological responses to natural environments arises when a difference is encountered between acclimation to a single stressor in an environment and overall acclimatization. This biological complexity can be conceptualized in a scientifically useful way. The key concept is based on the hypothesis that acclimation to a single stressor triggers a general pattern of responses that could augment or interfere with acclimation to a second, independent stressor. The name given to this process is cross-acclimation, which is defined as the influence of earlier adaptation to one stressor on subsequent adaptation to a new environment that may or may not contain the initial stressor.


The Complexity of Adaptation to Environment

Cross-acclimation demonstrates the importance of the interplay among different stressors that influence the integrated, or overall, response to a complex environment. To complicate the issue a little further, cross-acclimation may result in either positive or negative acclimatization to a new environment. For example, earlier adaptation to cold may help an animal survive a subsequent exposure to ionizing radiation, but it interferes with its ability to survive a lack of oxygen. In addition,

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The Biology of Human Survival: Life and Death in Extreme Environments
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • 1: The Human Environment 1
  • 2: Survival and Adaptation 10
  • 3: Cross-Acclimation 21
  • 4: Food for Thought 29
  • 5: Water and Salt 41
  • 6: Water That Makes Men Mad 54
  • 7: Tolerance to Heat 63
  • 8: Endless Oceans of Sand 78
  • 9: Hypothermia 89
  • 10: Life and Death on the Crystal Desert 99
  • 11: Survival in Cold Water 119
  • 12: Air as Good as We Deserve 129
  • 13: Bends and Rapture of the Deep 140
  • 14: Sunken Submarines 152
  • 15: Climbing Higher 164
  • 16: Into the Wild Blue Yonder 181
  • 17: G Whiz 193
  • 18: The Gravity of Microgravity 203
  • 19: Weapons of Mass Destruction 212
  • 20: Human Prospects for Colonizing Space 227
  • Bibliography and Supplemental Reading 247
  • Index 255
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