When its Cold Outside is Bigger Better? A Study of Thermoregulation and Core Body Temperature.

Tiffany Vang, Trevor Wilson, Joseph Schumacher


Thermoregulation is the process or processes that regulate the core body temperature of endothermic and ectothermic animals (Hoefnagels, 2015). Endotherms are animals that are able to regulate their core body temperatures. Ectotherms on the other hand cannot regulate their core temperature and are therefore affected by the environment. They use conduction and convection to maintain their internal temperatures (Hoefnagels, 2015). Endothermic metabolic rates tend to be higher than those of ectotherms and the environment triggers these metabolic responses to maintain their core temperature (Boyles et al., 2011). Badgers are carnivorous endotherms found all around the world, but they have different physical characteristics. Scientists have wondered why these badgers are shaped differently depending on their environments. We decided to test this out. We used clay instead of animals to be more humane and test our hypothesis. To test this hypothesis we will use clay to model different SA/V ratios representing different sizes of animals. We will heat and cool these different spheres by heating them on a hot pad and by putting them in ice. Temperature probes will be used to constantly monitor the temperature during testing. We conclude that animals with smaller surface area to volume ratio are more likely to survive in colder climates compared to those with a larger surface area to volume ratio due to thermoregulation.

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