A general model for effects of temperature on ectotherm ontogenetic growth and development

Proc Biol Sci. 2012 May 7;279(1734):1840-6. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2011.2000. Epub 2011 Nov 30.


The temperature size rule (TSR) is the tendency for ectotherms to develop faster but mature at smaller body sizes at higher temperatures. It can be explained by a simple model in which the rate of growth or biomass accumulation and the rate of development have different temperature dependence. The model accounts for both TSR and the less frequently observed reverse-TSR, predicts the fraction of energy allocated to maintenance and synthesis over the course of development, and also predicts that less total energy is expended when developing at warmer temperatures for TSR and vice versa for reverse-TSR. It has important implications for effects of climate change on ectothermic animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomass
  • Body Size
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Copepoda / growth & development*
  • Copepoda / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Models, Biological*
  • Temperature*