Hibernation and Torpor OpenCourseWare: A Free Bachelor Level Animal Science Course by The Open University Studying Hibernation

Published Feb 17, 2009

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Some animals hibernate when the seasonal temperatures of their environment are low enough to make the energy demands of foraging or maintaining normal body temperature too costly for survival. 'Animals at the Extremes: Hibernation and Torpor' is a free course from The Open University that explores this topic and would be a good supplement to students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences degree.

Animals at the Extremes: Hibernation and Torpor: Course Specifics

Degree Level Free Audio Video Downloads
Undergraduate Yes No No Yes

Lectures/Notes Study Materials Tests/Quizzes
Yes Yes Yes

Animals at the Extremes: Hibernation and Torpor: Course Description

This course, which has a recommended prerequisite of the first course in the 'Animals at the Extremes' series (The Desert Environment), examines the physiological aspects of hibernation as it is achieved through adaptive hypothermia. The regulation of torpid hibernating animals is threefold, being thermal, metabolic and behavioral. The characteristics and the degree of hibernation of various warm blooded animals are studied, as are the physiological adaptations at the cellular and molecular level that make this behavior possible. In addition, other physiological adaptations concerning respiration and metabolism are also looked at. The factors that control an animal's thermoregulation, breathing, and the depression of its metabolism during hibernation are explored from the perspective of brain activity. This free course, which is part of the OpenCourseWare from The Open University and could serve as a review for students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences (or related field), has a series of readings, a quiz upon completion, and a list of references for further reading.

The course materials are all free online. If you'd like to take this course, visit the hibernation course page.

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