Relationship Between the Surface Area to Volume Ratio and Temperature across Geologic Time in Ostracods

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Christopher Jackson1, Samuel Zaroff2, Noel A. Heim1 and Jonathan Payne2, (1)Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States, (2)Stanford University, Los Altos Hills, CA, United States
In 1877 Joseph Allen proposed that endothermic terrestrial organisms would have lower surface area to volume ratios (SAVR) in colder climates and higher SAVRs in warmer climates. With a smaller surface area compared to volume, organisms can retain more heat in cold climates. We tested to see if this principle applied to ostracods, a type of ectothermic marine invertebrate. We hypothesised that Allen’s rule applies to ostracods, as Allen’s rule has been demonstrated in frogs (Alho 2011), which are also ectotherms . We used the linear dimensions of the three major carapace axes of ostracod holotypes to estimate the SAVR. We compared ostracod SAVRs with paleotemperatures from Royer et al. (2004). We found that there was a correlation between surface area and temperature; it is a small, but statistically significant correlation (adj. R2=0.0167). This means that as temperature increased, the SAVR also increased. We also found a negative correlation between ostracod SAVR to geologic time(adj. R2=0.0114), which shows us that as time has gone on, ostracod SAVR has decreased. We then plotted the correlation coefficient of SAVR to temperature over geologic time to explore trends in the strength of Allen’s rule. For most of time there was no relationship but during the Devonian, Allen’s Rule did explain the trend. In short, temperature does explain some of the correlation between the SAVR and temperature, but it is likely there were other environmental factors affecting this relationship.