Mammals that lead a strictly subterranean existence encounter very different physiological problems to those living above the ground. While an underground habitat effectively shields the inhabitants from extreme climatic stresses and predation, it also provides a dark and poorly ventilated environment. Specialized physiological features in this milieu include altered sensory perception, vitamin D status and concomitant mineral metabolism, relaxed thermoregulation and specialised gut function. These are just some examples of the many ecophysiological mechanisms employed in adaptive evolution to life underground.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology