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Adaptations to cold conditions in Mammals

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Adaptations to cold conditions in Mammals Planning In this investigation I will depict adaptations/features, which mammals in cold places have, to reduce heat that they lose. Bigger animals have greater volume to carry out cellular respiration to produce heat. Cellular respiration is food (glucose) + Oxygen --> Carbon Dioxide + Water +Energy (heat). More cells = Big volume, the greater the volume, the more amount of heat loss is reduced. Smaller animals have larger surface area for them to lose heat to acclimatize to their hot climate. Large mammals have small surface area to volume ratio whereas smaller mammals have a large surface area to volume ratio. This table shows my observation is accurate. Cube size Surface area(cm2) Volume(cm3) Ratio(surface area/volume) 1 6 1 6 2 24 8 3 3 54 27 2 4 96 64 1.5 5 150 125 1.2 6 216 216 1 7 294 343 0.9 8 384 572 0.75 9 486 729 0.7 10 600 1000 0.6 150 135,000 3,375,000 0.04 150 is the cube size of a polar bear! If the cube size is 1 the ratio of surface area to volume is 6. If the cube size is 10 the ratio of surface area to volume is 0.6. Judging by this evidence, you can tell that as the cube size is augmenting the ratio of surface area to volume is declining. ...read more.


In this case the beaker will be hot and therefore send out more infrared radiation, which will result in losing heat. The factors that I will keep the same to make this a fair test are the start temperature, size of beaker and time, the volume of water in beaker should stay constant, the beaker should be the same material, and the position of the thermometer should stay the same. We will do the experiment at least twice to get an average and the accuracy will increase. We will not take the temperature every 10 seconds because it will be difficult and we only have one thermometer. I will measure the temperature every minute for 20-30 minutes. The reason that I will not measure the temperature every 5 minutes is because that is too long of an interval. The calculation I will use for the surface area and volume of the apparatus is: Surface area of beaker / 3.142 (pi) x radius squared + 2 x radius x 3.142 (pi) x height. The calculation I will use for the surface area/volume ratios is: Volume divided by 3.142 (pi) x radius squared x height. Method First of all I will start by collecting any equipment and apparatus that is required for this experiment to proceed. I will need a thermometer, three different sized beakers (250 ml, 100 ml, and 25 ml), boiling water and finally a stopwatch. ...read more.


The 25 ml beaker showed the greatest loss in temperature, 79?C - 41?C, which is 38?C heat loss. The 250 ml beaker showed the least heat loss, 84?C - 53?C, which is 31?C heat loss. The drop in temperature was fastest during the first 5 minutes. The temperature fell because heat was lost by conduction. I predicted that the larger the surface area the more heat could be lost by conduction, convection, and radiation. These results were as I predicted. This supports my knowledge of special adaptations of mammals to cold conditions because the largest surface area/volume ratio will lose heat the quickest as its surface area allows more heat to be lost through conduction, mammals in cold climate gain heat due to their large volumes and the increased number of cells available for cellular respiration which makes heat for the mammals. Evaluation The method was appropriate because real life-sized animals cannot be used for this experiment. It was reliable because it was according to plan and it was accurate. There were some sources of error such as movement of thermometer, wrong timing. We could have paid more attention the clock because it was only 10 seconds interval. We should have held the thermometer in the middle of the beaker without moving it. I did not have any unexpected results. I have sufficient results to draw valid conclusions for this experiment, and this experiment only. To increase the reliability of my results I could have done the same experiment using computer-aided temperature sensors. David Isaac Biology Coursework ...read more.

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