Of Mice and Metabolism: How Thermoregulation in Mice Leads to Increases in Metabolic Rate at Varying Temperatures

Sydney Liddell, Blake Kirk, Lorna King, Michael Cobbs


In order to answer the question “why do animals eat more at certain temperatures?” we decided to run several different trials consisting of a single mouse placed into a respiration chamber at room temperature (23-26 degrees Celsius), cooled (about 20 degrees Celsius), and heated (around 30 degrees Celsius). We were testing for levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen inside the chamber during each trial, hypothesizing that the mice would use more oxygen and produce more carbon dioxide out of their thermal neutral zones because their metabolisms would be higher. We found that in the trials in which we were able to get the ambient temperatures outside of the mice’s thermal neutral zones, we found that their rates of metabolism were increased. This explains why animals tend to eat more in different temperatures. 

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