Cold acclimation caused the following changes in the brown adipose tissue (BAT) of the hamster: the relative weight of the tissue increased, its color darkened, the multilocular structure predominated, and tissue protein content increased while fat content decreased. There was also an increase in the mitochondrial protein content. Heat acclimation had the opposite effects, i.e., the color became lighter, total and mitochondrial protein decreased, fat content increased, and tissue structure was mostly unilocular. Accordingly, cold acclimation was accompanied by increased tissue respiration in the presence of α glycerophosphate (α GP) and succinate, whereas heat acclimation reduced the respiratory activity of the tissue with these substrates. Isolated BAT mitochondria from cold acclimated animals increased activities of α GP and NADH oxidase, whereas the activities of succinic and cytochrome oxidases and the amount of mitochondrial cytochromes were unchanged. The effects of heat acclimation were more pronounced: there was a decrease in the activities of α GP, succinic, NADH, and cytochrome oxidases, as well as in the cytochrome a and a3 content. When respiration of tissue slices on succinate was compared to the maximal potential respiration, as measured with mitochondria disrupted by freezing and thawing, it was found that the relative activity (slices vs. disrupted mitochondria) was highest in cold acclimated animals and decreased progressively with increasing acclimation temperatures. It is suggested that the differences in the apparent activity of the mitochondria were due to changes in the conformation of the mitochondria as a result of acclimation.