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Science. 2001 Sep 21;293(5538):2248-51.

Effects of size and temperature on metabolic rate.

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Department of Biology, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.

Erratum in

  • Science 2001 Nov 16;294(5546):1463.


We derive a general model, based on principles of biochemical kinetics and allometry, that characterizes the effects of temperature and body mass on metabolic rate. The model fits metabolic rates of microbes, ectotherms, endotherms (including those in hibernation), and plants in temperatures ranging from 0 degrees to 40 degrees C. Mass- and temperature-compensated resting metabolic rates of all organisms are similar: The lowest (for unicellular organisms and plants) is separated from the highest (for endothermic vertebrates) by a factor of about 20. Temperature and body size are primary determinants of biological time and ecological roles.

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