How could specific heat be potentially useful to a biological system or organism?
Feb 1, 2016
Importance of specific heat to a biological system:
- Living organism can survive and reproduce only if their temperatures are maintained within a limited range.
- For aquatic organisms the high heat capacity of water means that their environment maintains a much more stable temperature than on land.
- This is also important, as water is such a large proportion of living things.
- Thermal pollution is the discharge into a river of quantities of hot water that are large enough to increase significantly the temperature of the water body. A 2-5 degree difference is considered significant.
Thermal pollution implications for life:
- Less dissolved oxygen caused stress to organisms.
- Fish eggs do not hatch in higher temperatures or the sudden change can kill fish eggs.
- The increase in temperature can set off migration and spawning at wrong times during the year.
- Increases metabolism, which requires more oxygen. This is a problem when there is less oxygen dissolved.