acclimatisation



acclimatisation defined in 1939 year

acclimatisation - Acclimatisation (Fr. fi, to; climat, climate);
acclimatisation - Term for the adaptation of people, animals, plants, or trees to a new environment, particularly with reference to climate. Applied to an individual or a race, it has special significance with reference to disease. In the case of an individual it means that a person has acquired the power of absolutely or partially resisting agencies which otherwise would be injurious to his existence. This power may result from recovery from a particular infectious disease. It may also mean that as the result of subtle change in his whole body he has gradually adapted himself to the general conditions of life in a new environment.

Applied to an entire race, acclimatisation is a form of protective evolution, and implies that the race has acquired an increased power of resisting infectious diseases, or else has acquired a greater capacity for recovering from them. The greater acclimatisation of a race to new surroundings or new agencies is a question of evolution, principally by means of the factor of the survival of the fittest. Both individuals and races must undergo acclimatisation in new environments if they are to survive. Thus, a person born in Great Britain is apt to find the climate of the West Coast of Africa unhealthy, and he must become used to it, that is, acclimatised, either by gradual absorption of protecting toxins into his system, or by recovery from the disease peculiar to the country. In the same way, the West African negro requires to be acclimatised to the climate of Great Britain. In the absence of such a protecting process survival is impossible where the agencies aro at all deadly. All races which have dwelt long in one environment exhibit great resisting power to its dangers.

In animals and plants acclimatisation depends in general on two factors, food and enemies. Some races of animals, including types of the horse, have survived because they have been able to accommodate their digestive apparatus to the food found in their environment. Other animals are presumed to have died out because the food they could find was unsuitable or because they were starved out in the struggle for food by competing races. Among the ranks of enemies the most potent appear to be parasites and microorganisms, which, by causing diseases, may sweep a species out of a country or even a continent. It is supposed that the disappearance of the primitive horse from North America was thus brought about in the carboniferous period. Other factors are climatic temperature and habit. The yak cannot be acclimatised away from its mountains; reptiles, especially snakes, are extremely susceptible to low temperatures; and many insects, including the malarial mosquito and the plague flea, are killed by unsuitable temperatures. The rabbit, the fox, the sparrow, thrushes and starlings, and even English earthworms, introduced into Australia, found plenty of food there and an absence of their natural enemies, and have acclimatised themselves so completely as to evict native species by beating them in the competition for sustenance. In general birds acclimatise themselves better than mammals.

killed by unsuitable temperatures. The rabbit, the fox, the sparrow, thrushes and starlings, and even English earthworms, introduced into Australia, found plenty of food there and an absence of their natural enemies, and have acclimatised themselves so completely as to evict native species by beating them in the competition for sustenance. In general birds acclimatise themselves better than mammals.

In the acclimatisation of plants somewhat similar considerations apply, though plants, having no temperature of their own, are more susceptible to environment. But the prickly pear, a solitary specimen of which was introduced into Australia, has acclimatised itself so thoroughly, in the absence of its plant enemies, that it spreads over millions of acres. The English brier rose is spreading nearly as fast. The lantana, known as the "curse of Mauritius," is a weed that has prospered with disastrous results in Africa, Australia, Asia, and America. ' On the other hand, such climatically indigenous plants as rice, cotton, tea, tapioca, cannot be acclimatised beyond distinct geographical limits; but probably a great number of plants, of which the eucalyptus is a typical example, accommodate themselves to the climatic variations by selection and adaptation of their own characteristics.

near acclimatisation in Knolik


acclimation, acclimatizationhome
letter "A"
start from "AC"
accolade

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