Heat production by an Ecuadorian palm

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When asked to think about heat production in the natural world, our thoughts first turn to mammals, birds, and other warm-blooded animals. As mammals ourselves, we are often thankful for our ability to produce heat internally to raise body temperature above ambient temperature, through a process called endothermy. This phenomenon has fascinated naturalists and biologists for centuries (Heinrich 1999) and still has the capacity to surprise modern scientists, with new discoveries concerning the occurrence and evolution of endothermy in the animal world. Last year, for example, saw the discovery of the first entirely warm-blooded fish (Wegner et al. 2015). The endothermy of this fish is a remarkable adaptation for swimming in cold waters. Endothermy also occurs in some plants. Since the first description of heat production in arum flowers by Lamarck (1778), many other flowering and seed-bearing species have been shown to produce heat. The reasons for the evolution and ecological importance of endothermy in temperate and tropical plants are still a matter of debate, and any new field observations of plant endothermy constitute potentially interesting pieces in this eco-evolutionary jigsaw.
Ecología, Endotermia, Palma