Surface Area to Volume Ratio: Factor of Thermoregulation or Irrelevant Trait?

Rebecca Black, Brett Carman, Cortnie Cox, Chathurika R. Henpita


We studied the effects climate on body size as stated in Bergmann’s rule (Dayan, 2003). There is still no definitive explanation as to why animals conform to this rule. Other studies like Dayan’s (2003) and Nudds (2007) confirmed that animals do conform to Bergmann’s rule; however, there is no clear explanation as to why. In order to understand this phenomenon we decided to test the effects of surface area to volume ratio on rate of cooling. We did this by measuring the rate of cooling in clay cubes of different surface area to volume ratios. Our data implies that animals conform to Bergmann’s rule because having a smaller surface are to volume ratio reduces the rate of cooling, allowing them to more efficiently conserve heat. 

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