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How do huddling groups affect the survival of warm-blooded animals in the arctic?

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Introduction

How do huddling groups affect the survival of warm-blooded animals in the arctic? Aim The aim of this investigation is to find out how the size of huddling groups affects the survival of warm-blooded animals in arctic conditions. Background Information I know that there are many different factors, which affect the survival of warm-blooded animals in the arctic, examples of these are: * Surface area:Volume ratio * Huddling groups * Thickness of fur/feathers I know that as the total surface area increases, the Surface area:Volume ratio decreases. If you think of a cube, this theory is demonstrated below: Area of one side Total surface area Volume Surface area:Volume ratio 1cm� 6cm� 1cm� 6:1 2cm� 12cm� 8cm� 3:2 3cm� 18cm� 27cm� 2:3 A huddled group will lose less heat than an isolated animal. This is because the exposed surface area of a group of animals is less for each animal than an isolated animal (as shown below). This can be demonstrated in the diagram below. There are three separate huddles, each in a symmetrical pattern and each separate square represents an animal, visualizing it as a cube again helps. I have used Total surface area of 60cm� purely as an example. Animal/s Total surface area exposed when ungrouped Total surface area exposed when grouped 1 60cm� 40cm� 4 240cm� 200cm� 9 540cm� 240cm� This shows that the exposed surface area is much smaller when the animals are grouped, and when there is less surface area exposed, there will be less heat loss through those surfaces. ...read more.

Middle

To conduct this test I will have to simulate arctic conditions, and to do that I will need the following equipment: * Large 2-litre water beaker * Ice * Water (cold and hot) * Test tubes * A ruler * Stopwatch * Rubber bands * Thermometer Using the large 2-litre water beaker, I will fill it with a 2.5 inch depth of ice. I find it hard to be more accurate then that, as each piece of ice varies greatly in size, I will make sure that I get as close to the 2.5 inch depth as possible. I will then fill the beaker with cold water, up to the 1 litre mark. I will then allow the water to cool down for one minute, and then take the temperature, and note it. I will then fill the test tubes up with 80ml of hot water, and record the temperature. I will then place the test tubes in the centre of the large beaker and start the stopwatch. The test tubes will be bound together using rubber bands. I will conduct the experiment using 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 test tubes. I will check the temperature every minute, and record it. I will do this for 10 minutes. With these results, I will be able to plot them onto a graph, and I should be able to work out a gradient. ...read more.

Conclusion

Evaluation In my opinion, this experiment has worked fully. I believe there were no faults in my plan or method, however during the experiment, there were improvements, which could have been made, but were too late to implement, and I have discussed these further in the evaluation. I believe that the results give a reliable, accurate, and valid conclusion. They agree with my hypothesis, and the theories such as conduction and convection, which I explained in greater deal in the background information section of this investigation. To make this experiment a fair test, I had to control certain things. These were: * Depth of ice * Amount of water * Temperature of cold and hot water To control these things, I will make sure that all the quantities are the same, and where required, the temperatures. The only thing I varied was the size of the huddles. In addition, when recording the temperatures I made sure I took the reading from the test tube in the middle of the huddle. Luckily, I obtained no anomalies, or "odd" results. In the future, if I was to conduct improve the experiment again, I think there are certain changes, which I could make. One of these changes would be using a stand, boss, and clamp to place the test tubes into the ice-cold water, because whilst conducting the experiment, I found sometimes the huddles of test tubes would move position, because they were not fixed in place. A boss, clamp, and stand would resolve this issue. Vinesh Patel 1 ...read more.

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