Bergmann’s Rule in Relation to Badger (Taxidea taxus) Sizes in Different Climates

Gage Calhoon, Addy Brongo, Kaytlyn Goodwin, Rachel Beam


The tendency of badgers to have smaller surface area to volume ratios in cool climates and larger surface area to volume ratios in warm climates displays that the physiology of these animals follows the stipulations of Bergmann’s rule. Based on observations of these animals, one may hypothesize that having a lower surface area to volume ratio will aid an animal in the retention of heat and maintenance of a constant body temperature in a cool environment. Precisely measuring the rate of change in temperature of clay blocks – varying in surface area to volume ratio, yet having the same mass and volume – we tactfully display the direct effect surface area has on any object’s heat retention. We measured blocks with a constant volume but varying dimensions and surface area. As each object was heated to a constant temperature, while time was measured, we tested the idea that greater surface area will cause an item to reach a set temperature faster than an item with lesser surface area, and the objects will experience a loss of thermal energy respective to the rate in which they gained it. As a result of the investigations conducted, we found that surface area to volume ratio majorly affects the characteristic of heat retention, thus animals may vary in this proportion primarily to aid survival in differing temperatures of environments.

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