Thompson Rivers University

Cancelled—Environmental Science Seminar Series: Dr. Francois Haman

Survival in the cold: Not one size fits all

Abstract: Humans are particularly well adapted to lose heat in warm, dry conditions, but in contrast, they are extremely vulnerable to cold conditions. Without proper training, equipment and shelter, life is limited from minutes up to a few days. However, even when perfectly prepared to face the cold, individuals respond to cold in diverse ways based on differences in morphology and physiology. If fact, recent findings clearly show that each individual produces heat using different methods (e.g. shivering, brown fat), uses muscles in different ways during shivering and uses different metabolic fuels to produce heat. Clearly, these varieties in cold response could greatly influence cold tolerance and survival strategies especially during rescue operations at sea and during military operations in the Arctic.