Animal metabolism consists of the utilization of nutrients absorbed from the digestive tract and their catabolism as fuel for energy or their conversion into substances of the body. Metabolism is a continuous process because the molecules and even most cells of the body have brief lifetimes and are constantly replaced, while tissue as a whole maintains its characteristic structure. This constant rebuilding process without a net change in the amount of a cell constituent is known as dynamic equilibrium (Grolier1996). In the combustion of food, oxygen is used and carbon dioxide is given off. The rate of oxygen consumption indicates the energy expenditure of an organism, or its metabolic rate (Grolier1996).
Metabolic rate is directly linked to the core temperature in an animal. An ectotherm, or cold blooded animal, warms its body mainly by absorbing heat from its surroundings. The amount of heat it derives from its metabolism is negligible. In contrast, endotherms derive most or all of its body heat from its own metabolism (Campbells,p899). Because ectotherms do not produce their own heat, they cannot actively ensure their ideal temperature for an ideal metabolic rate (aquacult.htp).
In the following experiment, we will attempt to examine the relationship between metabolic rate and environmental temperature in both an ectoderm and an endotherm. I predict that for the ectotherm, the metabolic rate will increase as the outside environment temperature will increase. I also predict that the metabolic rate in the endotherm will remain relatively the same as the outside environment temperature changes. I also make the prediction that the ectotherm will have much lower metabolic rates than the endotherm.
The procedures for this experiment are those that are referred to in Duncan and Townsend, 1996 p9-7. In our experiment however, each student group chose a temperature of either 5 C, 10 C, 15 C, or 20 C. Each group selected a crayfish, and placed it in an erlenmeyer...
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