Project title: Environmental patterns of body shape and its role in physiological functions
Summary: The body size of organisms and its variation with biogeography and environmental conditions, has long fascinated scientists. Indeed, body size is considered a ‘master trait’, as it affects most vital rates such as growth and metabolism. By contrast, body shape has attracted much less attention, yet shape importantly dictates the ratio of surface to volume of an organism, and hence potentially the ability to exchange essential materials and energy across the body surface, and the distances these material must be transported internally. We aim to investigate within and between species, whether systematic difference in body shape occur across a range of environmental conditions, and for taxa with varying transport mechanisms. We will further explore if body shape can also explain variation in biological and metabolic rates of organisms. While temperature has a profound impact upon body size intra-specifically, there is little information on whether it alters the shape, we will examine this, and explore the implications to physiological rates organisms sustain.
- Dr Andrew Hirst