Form & Function
Upon completion of this unit, you should be able to:
is meant by a surface-to-volume ratio
Be able to
calculate the surface area, volume and s/v ratio for a square or rectangle
biological significance of s/v ratios.
relationship of form and function
physical laws constrain animal form.
Explain how the
size and shape of an animal's and plant's body affect its interactions with
- parts of Chapter 40
online form and function notes
- Surface/volume homework in Moodle
- Presidential Notes - provided in
- Bonner (2006) article - available
in public folder; supplemental
you use the following terms conversationally?
- surface area
- surface/volume ratio
- Reynold's number
(not on exam)
- generation time
(not on exam)
- life span (not
- be able to answer questions such as
those in the homework assignment.
- list the hierarchy of biological
organization. Can you give an example of each level
- identify two major themes that will
run through our course this year.
- define physiology, morphology,
- what does it mean that form and
function is an evolutionary compromise or trade-off?
- be able to calculate the surface
area, volume and surface/volume ratio of a cube
- explain what it means that the
surface area increases by the square of the linear dimension and volume
increases by the cube.
- why are surface/volume ratios
important. Provide some examples.
- How does motility relate to
- what are some form changes that
accompany getting larger?
- What is the relationship between
body size and basal metabolic rate. Explain why it exists.
- What determines the upper size
limit for an animal?
- What determines the lower size
Explain why leaves are broad and flat.
According the Guinness Book of World Records the tallest living human
female is 7 feet 7 ¼ inches tall. Using our assumption that a 5 foot woman
weighs 110 pounds, how much do you predict this woman weighs? __________.
(note: her actual weight = 462 pounds) Show your work.
Why do elephants have large, flat ears?
Explain why roots have "hairs."
Explain why the shape of animals is basically "spherical", whereas plants
and fungi are "filamentous".
Explain why small animals have a higher metabolic rate than large animals.
Explain why shrews are voracious feeders.
Explain why cats can fall off tall buildings and survive. Why do people
Explain the advantages/disadvantages of block vs. cube ice.
Describe the scientific inaccuracy in the episode of Goldilocks and the
Explain why lungs, gills and intestines have the shape they do.
Medieval churches were often built in the shape of a crucifix. Explain why.
The earth is geologically active (has a molten core) but the moon is
apparently no longer geologically active. Explain why using S/V ratios.
Why are there few small animals in the arctic?
Explain how S/V ratios relate to the form of plants that have evolved in
mesic, xeric and hydric environments.
Explain why the cells of the spongy layer of a plant leaf are irregularly
Last updated: January 12, 2009
© Copyright by SG Saupe