The Effects of Temperature on Metabolic Rate in Cross-Taxa Comparisons

Mariah Nacke, Courtney Mickle-Dittrich, Jillian Wormington


Metabolism can be defined as the biochemical reactions of a cell that produces energy in an organism (Hoefnagels, 2015). Studies of metabolism have revealed a number of findings, reflecting variability in metabolism relative to factors such as body size and surface area to volume ratio. Various measures can be used to study metabolic rate in organisms that are subjected to different conditions, such as heart rate and body temperature. Based on our knowledge of metabolism, we know that the output of CO2 and consumption of O2 also provide tremendous insight into the fluctuations in metabolic rate, which is affected by temperature variation. In our study, we measured concentrations of O2 and CO2 production and consumption in respiration chambers, while our specimens were subjected to different temperatures. In order to observe metabolic rates, we used three specimens: mouse (Mus musculus), crickets (Gryllus assimilis), and sprouted lentils (Lens culinaris). We hypothesized that metabolic rate would change relative to temperature across species. Our results demonstrated trends of change in O2 and CO2 between our control and experimental groups. Findings were consistent with our predictions for the mice and crickets, though results for the lentils were controversial, presenting results both consistent and contradictory to our predictions. 

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