By J. Scott Turner

Can the constructions that animals build--from the standard burrows of earthworms to towering termite mounds to the good Barrier Reef--be acknowledged to reside? despite the fact that counterintuitive the belief could first appear, physiological ecologist Scott Turner demonstrates during this publication that many animals build and use constructions to harness and regulate the stream of strength from their setting to their very own virtue. construction on Richard Dawkins's vintage, The prolonged Phenotype , Turner exhibits why drawing the boundary of an organism's body structure on the epidermis of the animal is bigoted. because the constructions animals construct certainly do physiological paintings, shooting and channeling chemical and actual strength, Turner argues that such constructions are extra appropriately appeared now not as frozen behaviors yet as exterior organs of body structure or even extensions of the animal's phenotype. via difficult dearly held assumptions, a desirable new view of the residing international is opened to us, with implications for our knowing of body structure, the surroundings, and the outstanding constructions animals construct.


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Extra resources for The Extended Organism: The Physiology of Animal-Built Structures

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In the calciloblast antiport, for every calcium ion moved out of the cell, two hydrogen ions are transported into the cell. Both transport processes work against their respective concentration gradients; that is, they are creating order, and so they require energy from ATP. In general, one ATP molecule is sufficient to turn the crank once, moving one calcium ion and two hydrogen ions in opposite directions across the calciloblast’s membrane. 4 The calcium-proton antiport in the calciloblast of a hermatypic coral.

Conventional physiology encompasses an organism using metabolic energy to do work on its internal environment. A putative external physiology extends the reach of this work to the environment outside the animal. In the last chapter, I asserted that the laws of thermodynamics put no constraints, save one, on the extent of this outward reach. It so happens that this one constraint is a serious one, so it must be dealt with straightaway. The supposed constraint is imposed by the Second Law, which states that any transformation of energy into useful work must be accompanied by the loss of a portion of that energy as heat: energy in → useful work + heat The problem is that physiological functions are powered only by energy being made to do useful work— with a few exceptions, heat is pretty much useless to an organism’s physiology.

How Structures Can Live Making energy do work means capturing and channeling it so that it flows in a controlled way down a potential energy gradient. Usually a structure of some sort—whether it be an imperfection in a silicon crystal, an enzyme molecule, or a crankshaft—directs the flow of energy. If physiological work is to be powered by the physical energy stream, there must be a structure of some sort that can capture and channel the energy. Most engineering done by humans is devoted to figuring out clever ways of manipulating energy.

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