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  • Challenge Question #3

    Joan Berger, East Hills School, Roslyn, NY (
    Mon, 03 Mar 1997 09:57:40 -0400 (EDT)

    This is Jake Kimmelman and Valerie Glibbery, the manatee team from
    Mrs. Berger's 5th grade class at the East Hills School in Roslyn, NY. In
    order to answer the challenge question, "Why do you think a large marine mammal
    like the manatee cannot tolerate cold water when another large marine mammal,
    the whale, can?" we used the Internet and did a search and found:
    This site is all about the manatee and we found the following under the
    heading of Physiology of the Manatee:

    "The manatee's metabolic rate is unusually low compared with other
    mammals, which in part may account for its susceptibility to cold and slow
    healing rate. A low metabolic rate is adaptive for a large tropical animal that
    must keep cool and that lives on a relatively poor quality diet. However, this
    adaption can be a liability for populations at the northern edge of the
    species' range where metabolic heat is needed to maintain body temperature. The
    manatee's body temperature is reported to be 36.4 deg.C, but this may vary
    seasonally or with water temperature."
    So that because it has a metabolic rate (the speed at which it burns its fuel)
    lower than other mammals, it cannot maintain a high body temperature and needs
    warm water to compensate.

    Jake and Valerie

    Joan Berger * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Internet Educational Consultant * "...for the world is hollow,*
    Roslyn Public Schools, Roslyn, NY * and I have touched the sky!"* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *