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This study examines the difference in metabolic rates between an endotherm and ectotherms, and between different ectotherms. Endotherms are animals that maintain a constant body temperature even when the temperature of their environment fluctuates. In contrast, ectotherms are animals whose temperature is regulated by their environment. It was hypothesized that an endothermic rat would have a higher metabolic rate than ectothermic crickets, worms, and a snake since it has to work harder to maintain its temperature. In addition, large ectotherms have a disproportionate increase in skeletal and other tissue, compared with overall size, which is metabolically inactive (Gould and Keeton 1996). Therefore, it was also hypothesized that the smaller ectothermic crickets would have the highest metabolic rate of the ectotherms, followed by the worms and then the snake.
To measure the metabolic rate of the rat, an open system was used to determine the difference in CO2 levels between the air taken out of the container and the air pumped into the container. For the ectotherms a CO2 sensor and Logger Pro software were used to determine the change in CO2 levels in a closed container over time. The change in CO2 was divided by the animalsí mass in grams to get the respiration rates (CO2ppm/min/g). For all of the animals, three five-minute trials were tested and a control was used, in which no animals were in the systems.
The results showed that the rat had the highest average metabolic...