The Heat is On. Or is it? How Change In Temperature Affects the Metabolic Rate of Mealworms (Tenebrio molitor).

Molly Lacy, Jude Birkenholz, Logan Leider, Sydney Hunt, Mady Hedge


Throughout the biosphere, the use of ectothermy is the most common strategy to thermoregulate among animals, especially those that are insects. We hypothesized that if we placed mealworms in respiration chambers of varying degrees, as the temperature rises, the production of CO₂ will also increase. An increase in the respiratory rate of the organisms will also indicate if the metabolic rate increased as well. To test if the respiration rate of mealworms did indeed increase as the temperature rose, we measured the rate of CO₂ production of the worms for increments of five minutes under varying temperature conditions that range from 8° to 29° Celsius. Upon our investigations, our trials did not support our hypothesis: as we increased the temperature of the chamber the production of CO₂ dropped in both the higher temperature and the lower temperature, which indicated a decrease in metabolic rate.

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