When looking at physiological ecology, it is important to analyze how single species respond to environmental conditions like temperature or light. We seek to study biochemical, biophysical and physiological processes animals use to deal with the elements in their physical environment, or those used during ecological interactions with other organisms.
The way we do this is by focusing on the entire function of the animal as well as the way they adjust to their environments which are constantly in flux, in both the field and the laboratory. What happens is that short-term behavioral adjustments, along with long-term physiological adjustments, maximize animal fitness – i.e., their ability to survive and reproduce.
To do this, we study: energetics; energy metabolism; nutrition; temperature regulation; gas exchange; water and osmotic balance and more. We apply our knowledge to the animals and the environment in which they are living.