• The process by which an organism becomes better able to live in its environment; is called adaptations.

  • Plants generally compete with each other for light and space, and for water and nutrients from the soil.

  • Different animals and plants are adapted to live in different habitats.

  • Animals usually compete for more specific requirements like mates, food, and territory.

  • Some organisms live in environments that are very extreme like under high pressure and temperature.

  • Some microorganisms can survive in very alkaline water.

  • Adaptations can be classified in a number of different ways: structural, behavioural and functional.

Animals - Structural adaptations

  • Structural adaptations of animals are the physical features e.g. colour, shape, nature of outer body layers etc. which allow them to compete.

  • Animals have a wide range of structural adaptations including sharp claws, Sharp Teeth, to catch prey, dig burrows.

  • Animals living in cold climates have thick layers of fur to insulate the body..

  • Animals like whales , seals and penguins in polar oceans, stay warm largely because of their blubber(fat).

  • Blubber acts as a form of insulation to keep body temperatures warm.

  • Animals that live in very hot climates have a thin layer of fur so too much heat is not retained.

Animals - Behavioural adaptations

  • Behavioral adaptations are the things organisms do to survive.

  • Many animals migrate from colder to warmer climates e.g. birds like ducks and swallows.

  • Many desert animals live in burrows, during the hot days.

Animals - Functional adaptations

  • Functional adaptations involve internal systems that affect an organism’s physiology or biochemistry.

  • Desert animals may conserve water by having a highly efficient kidneys, that produce and excrete a small amount of concentrated urine.

  • Animals like penguins can survive in extremely cold weather by producing antifreeze proteins in their tissue fluids..


  • Extremophile is an organisms that live in extreme environments under high pressure and temperature.

  • Examples of extreme environments include the volcanic vents, polar regions, deserts and deep ocean.

  • Animals like polar bears, at the North Pole are adapted to suit these harsh Arctic environment.

  • Polar bears have thick white fur for insulation. They also have a layer of fat under its skin which helps it stay warm

  • Animals like polar bears have a very large paws, it help a polar bear to walk in the snow.

  • Some microorganisms can survive in highly acid conditions and very high temperatures.