Does Size Really Matter? : In Reference to an Organism’s Surface Area to Volume Ratio and the Temperature of Their Environments

Zachery Thomas Tunin, Paige Nicole Wilhite, Hannah Alette Wolf, Ryan Sherman


In concurrence with Bergmann’s Rule, there is a direct relationship between an organism’s body size and the climate they live in. Animals with a larger surface area to volume ratio tend to live in warmer climates than animals with a smaller surface area to volume ratio. The relationship of surface area to volume ratio and the climate are important because an animal that has a smaller SA/V ratio is able to retain a more constant heat with its environmental factors. It is found that mammals of the same species, living in both northern and southern hemispheres, have different characteristics concerning their body size distribution (Allen 1877). In our experiment, we mimicked this by taking the objects, different sized clay spheres, and placed them into a heated environment and recorded their temperature at two minute intervals for fourteen minutes. Our experiment supported our hypothesis, smaller animals with a larger SA/V ratio gain heat at a faster rate than larger animals. Due to our results, the data indicated that a larger SA/V ratio gained heat at a faster rate. In this study we emphasized the importance of an organism’s environment on its relative size. 

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