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THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING THE RIGHT SIZE - ORGANISMS AND SIZE

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Introduction

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING THE RIGHT SIZE Different organisms are of different sizes. If I take an example of two organisms such as an amoeba, which is a single celled organism and an elephant, which is a multicellular organism I can see that they are obviously of different sizes. AMOEBA ELEPHANT Since an amoeba is small it has a large surface area compared to its volume. Since an elephant is large its surface area is small in comparison with its volume. As can be seen below if one increases the surface area of an object, the total volume increases but the surface area: volume ratio decreases. 3cm 2cm 1cm Total SA= 6 24 54 Total Vol= 1 8 27 SA:Vol= 6:1 3:1 2:1 An amoeba exchanges with the environment by occurring across the entire body surface through the cell membrane. ...read more.

Middle

Fish use gills to take the dissolved oxygen from the water. However the process is not easier, this is because the water is much heavier and thicker than air, so it takes a lot of energy to extract. Since fish are cold blooded they do not need oxygen that much. But warm-blooded animals such ourselves and whales are in demand of more oxygen so they have lungs to get oxygen from the air. There are advantages for organisms being large such as they can avoid being eaten because they are too large to be eaten. They can eat more things because they are large. They can move longer distances to new food sources or more favourable environments. They can be endothermic, which means that they can generate their own heat to maintain their body temperature, typically above the temperature of their surroundings. ...read more.

Conclusion

For large organisms they have a small surface area so they do not lose heat by radiation therefore most of their heat is kept in. Endothermy is also possible in large organisms so they are kept warm and so can survive in cold climates. This is why they are found at high latitudes because high altitudes have low temperatures. Allen's Law Within any one group of organisms, those at the highest latitudes have smaller extremities than those in the tropics. Transpiration rates Large leaves get more water needed for photosynthesis, which makes food for the plant. Large leaves are needed to catch more light to trap the chlorophyll needed for photosynthesis. Large leaves can cause more water to be lost by transpiration because surface area: volume ratio is decreased. ?? ?? ?? ?? Vaaheesan Sundaraanantham 1 Dr Dixon ...read more.

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