Surface Area to Volume Ratio and Thermoregulation

Kelsie Dixon, Dally Clark, Chathurika Henpita


Thermoregulation is the way organisms manage body heat. This is how animals in different climates, such as a tundra or desert, can survive. Through observation, it is discovered that animals in two very different climates are shaped differently. This idea has not necessarily been proven due to the vast different species of animals in many different climates. One common difference in the observations is that animals in cooler climates have a smaller surface area to volume ratio. While researching, we discovered other articles that have investigated similar ideas to the relationship of surface area to volume ratio affecting thermoregulation. In the research, a common idea proposed is that heat is gained and lost faster so smaller animals are made to survive in hot climates, and larger animals retain heat better, which makes them suitable for cooler climates. The question proposed is “Why are animals shaped differently in cooler climates than in warmer ones?” Our answer is surface area to volume ratio and thermoregulation.

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