Animal Form and Function
The animals’ shapes and sizes are constrained by the environment. The design and plan of the body are foundational in as far as function and form are concerned. They affect how an animal interacts with the surrounding environment. The plan of an animal’s body is an outcome of a development pattern which is programmed by the genome. According to evolutionary convergence, different species have come to adapt to their environment. The invention of the natural environment is constrained by physical requirement. Each cell of an animal, which is multicellular, must be within an aqueous environment. It is important to realize that the size of an animal is dependent on the number of cells present in it. The more cells an animal has, the larger is its size. Multicellularity enables organisms to experience diversity and cell specialization.
The metabolic rate of an animal is highly dependent on its size. First, the tissues and organs of an animal support the animal’s size. Due to this, larger animals tend to have larger organs and tissues, as opposed to smaller animals. The tissues and organs support the metabolic rate of the animal in question. The metabolic rate relates to the energy used by an animal in a given unit of time. The metabolic rate of an animal is mainly measured through measuring the amount of heat an animal loses. However, it may also be evaluated by the amount of oxygen an animal consumes and the carbon dioxide it produces.
The temperature is determined by two main platforms which are the endotherm and ectotherm platforms. Mammals and birds are endothermic. Their body heat is made present by metabolisms. Temperature regulation should be kept at a given level if life is to be sustained. Reptiles, amphibians, fishes, and invertebrates are exothermic. They do not have enough metabolic heat to sustain a given body temperature; this is despite that the ectotherms require less energy as compared to the endotherms.
There is an inverse relationship between the metabolic rate per gram and size of an animal’s body. Basal metabolic rate entails the energy needed to sustain the functions of the body. In relation to metabolic rates, the metabolism of a mouse, cat and elephant would differ. First, they are all mammals, hence making them endothermic. However, they are of different sizes. Since there is an inverse relationship between the metabolic rate per gram and body size, it means that the larger the animal, the lower is its metabolic rate. In other words, the elephant has the lowest metabolic rate of the three animals, followed by the cat and rat. The elephant, therefore, uses the least unit of energy at any given time, while the rat uses the most unit of energy in the same given time.
Thermoregulation entails the process where animals keep a given internal temperature in the boundaries of a tolerable range. The main relationship between the minimum metabolic rate and thermoregulation is that the energy used in a given time must be enough to regulate the temperature in the boundaries of this tolerable range.
An animal saves energy while avoiding difficult circumstances by hibernating. In this process, animals let their temperatures fall. Ectothermic animals practice this during winter. Torpor is another method that saves energy. Animals also let the temperatures drop during hot parts of the day. Through acclimatization, some animals adapt to a given harsh weather for a given period. Non-shivering thermogenesis allows animals to produce energy through muscles without shivering.
Campbell, Reece. Chapter 40: Animal Form and Function. Campbell Biology AP. 8th ed. Pearson. Print.