Adaptation vs Acclimation – Difference and Comparison

What is Adaptation?

Adaptation is a type of dynamic evolutionary process. It helps the organism to fit in an environment that gradually enhances its fitness. It doesn’t occur in individuals, it occurs in species. Adaptation produces a new phenotypic trait.

 It increases the biological fitness of the population by altering their genetic content. Therefore the proportion is measured through the change in the gene frequency. It occurs in several generations. During evolution, adaption contributes to the environment. Only an adapted organism will survive and reproduce according to nature’s rule of survival of the fittest. Adaptations are permanent and cannot be reversed.

For example-

  1. Polar bears adapted to their environment by taking: Thick hair to keep warm, white fur to cover up against the snow when chasing for prey, and Dense, piercing claws and teeth to help them catch their prey.
  2. Camels can survive with very little water in deserts for long periods.

Adaptation helps the creature to get their foodstuff, reproduce, protect themselves from hunters, deal with geographic features, and survive in weather.

What is Acclimation?

Acclimation is how a creature adjusts its characteristics according to its environment. It is a reversible and slow change to the body, which allows an organism to handle a new or different environment, involving psychological and anatomical adjustment within a single organism.

During acclimation events, an organism gets the use of a new environment through the changes in the climate in its habitat. It occurs in the individual organism and does not bring any genetic changes to the microorganisms. Acclimation can occur within hours or a week, and it happens to not contribute to evolution.

For example-

When they are preserved under controlled conditions in laboratories, such as rats and mice, they are offsetting variations that take place in an animal.

The set-up of an aquarium for fish is an example. Of how an organism must acclimate. Many types of sea creatures are susceptible. Therefore, it is recommended that fish be acclimated by being placed in the aquarium water in the bag of its transport water until the temperatures of both sets of water even out.

 Difference Between Adaptation and Acclimation

  1. Adaptation is a part of the evolution process whereas Acclimation does not disturb the evolutionary process.
  2. Adaptation changes both the chemical and physical change of an organism brought by changes in habitat while acclimation is a physical reaction made to adjust the changes.
  3. Adaptation takes a longer time to appear however acclimation takes a short time to appear.
  4. Adaptation is a gradual process whereas acclimation is a rapid process.
  5. Adaptation occurs for every type of organism it ensures continuity and survival of the species however acclimation may or might not occur in habitat and if it occurs, it takes a short time for animals and plants to adjust.
  6. Due to adaptation, there is a change in chemical and physical composition while in acclimation only the physical change occurs.

Comparison Between Adaptation and Acclimation

Parameters of
DefinitionAdaptation is an eternal and long term alteration shown by living organism.Acclimatization is a temporary and short term alteration shown by living organism to the varying environment.
Time takenAdaptation takes a longer time to settle.Acclimation takes a short time to seem
Temporary or permanentPermanent.Temporary
OccurrenceTakes place over many generations.It takes part within the lifetime of an organism.
ChangeIn both physical and chemical configuration of an organism.Only a physical change stirring in the organism.