7.1 Preface

This module describes heat transfer processes involved in the exchange of heat between an organism and its environment. Emphasis is placed on conduction, convection, and evaporation, three of the physical processes that affect the physiological, behavioral, and ecological activities of all organisms. Radiation transfer is described in a separate module. Four examples taken from the ecological literature are used to emphasize the biological effects of temperature and energy budgets. Three systems are used to illustrate heat transfer principles and their biological importance. These include heat flow in soil, a leaf, and a lizard. Ecological examples are used throughout the text and problem set. The way in which an organism exchanges heat with its environment explains several characteristics of its behavior and its preferred habitat. This module presents a thorough introduction to heat transfer processes and assumes the reader has a background in calculus and first-year physics.