Stability and Change

A bee is a hierarchical array of subsystems regulated by a web of control systems. The control systems together adjust the flow of energy and materials through the body maintaining a constant internal environment despite changes in the external environment (homeostasis). How is control maintained?

For a bee to live she must adapt to stress (trauma, infection, drying, increased temperature) and continue to function. Analysis of where the weak links are in her web of control systems suggests that her life depends on a few key control systems. We limit discussion to control of the hemocoel that entails coordinating many interrelated functions. As the volume of hemolymph fluctuates, a bee must alter the chemical content of her fluids including the proportions of cells, metabolites, ions, water and nitrogenous wastes, as well monitor uptake and discharge by her cells from and to the hemolymph.

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