The Effect of the Temperature

Temperature has an important effect on almost all the physiological processes that occur in animals, which rely on external sources of heat (Warburg 1931).  Such animals are also known as ectotherms, and Porcellio scaber is an excellent example. In an attempt to ascertain the interaction between the response of ectoderms and temperature, a study was conducted on the isopod Porcellio scaber. It aimed at ascertaining the distance that was burrowed by the organism in relation to different temperatures. Several studies conducted have indicated that these species normally have lower lethal temperatures of about minus 4.6 degrees Celsius, and thus can be able to survive for about one week at -2 degrees Celsius, as long as they have access to food (Harding, et al 1985). The major purpose of this experiment was to ascertain whether isopods, and, in this case, Porcellio scaber would show a significant response towards various conditions of temperature and the movement of this species. Dependant on the habitat and the location of the organism (Porcellio scaber), it was predicted that Porcellio scaber would migrate from extremely low or high temperatures towards places having more moderate and ideal temperatures. From the experiment that was conducted, it was ascertained that various factors like for instance ecological, physiological and biological were known to affect the way isopods and in particular reference Porcellio Scaber responded towards various degrees of temperature. It was further ascertained that indeed, temperature had a great effect on the movement of the isopod and as a result, it reflected various movements when subjected towards different temperature levels. However, the results of the experiment were affected due to some sources of variation or error and like for instance, there were scarcity of the species to be used in the experiment and we also lacked enough time to conduct the experiment and come up with conclusive results (Warburg 1931, p. 78). 

The experiment elucidated the interaction between temperature and the response of Porcellio scaber, in terms of its movements. Two experiments were carried out in a period of two days in an effort to observer the movements of Porcellio scaber when exposed to different levels of temperature. This was done through the provision of various soils, which had been incubated at different temperatures.  The aim of the study was to enhance the understanding of the effects of temperature on Porcellio scaber and how temperature affects their movements. The distance burrowed in the soils by the organisms (Porcellio scaber) was measured in relation to different levels of temperature with a view of ascertaining how temperature had an effect on the movement of the organisms.              

As a result of the global warming, which has led to an increase in temperature, some of the basic ecological roles that are played by burrowing organisms might be affected; for example, the decomposition of matter (Edney 1954). Therefore, this experiment aimed to ascertain, whether the temperature of soil affected Porcellio scaber’s burrowing behavior and movement.

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The subjection of detritivores on Gough like, for example, the lumbricid worms, millipede, and the Porcellio. Scaber can have long term effects or impacts on the cycles of nutrients, that lack such species and which have been created in the lack of rapid organic breakdown. From the investigations conducted, it was determined that Porcellio scaber tended to move from extremely low or high temperatures to moderate temperatures that can enable their survival. This was evident from the distance that was covered by the organisms when subjected to various levels of temperatures in different soils (Van 1986, p. 253). 

As mentioned earlier, Porcellio scaber plays an important role in its ecosystems through activities like the decomposition of organic matter through its movements in soil (Sokal, et al 1995). This is important since soil is a habitat for thousands of species, In order to understand the ecological consequences of the activity of P. scaber, practical experiments like this one very are essential.

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The results, which were obtained from the other experiments, have showed that effects of temperature on their movements and on the internal temperature of woodlice and, in particular, Porcellio scaber, remained within 0.5 Degrees Celsius (Taylor 1981). There were significant impacts on the rate of growth for both temperature and the interaction between temperature and movement was also significant. The average movement of Porcellio scaber was observed for two days and it was ascertained to increase with temperature, but the results showed that the presence of higher or lower temperatures affected the movement of the organisms (Edney 1954, p. 200).   

The experiment revealed another observation that there was a tendency for the movement of Porcellio scaber to vary significantly with temperature. In order to describe how the temperature relates to the rate of movement, different soil temperatures were obtained and the organisms were placed in containers with the different soils. The movements of Porcellio scaber were then measured. We conducted 4 replicates that were 5 minutes in length. We conducted two trials on two separate days. We found that the movement of the isopods was related to the levels of temperature.  The significant increase in the movement of Porcellio scaber with temperature is a clear indication that temperature has an effect on the movement of the organisms. The availability of such results made it clearly evident that indeed, temperature had a great impact on the movement of isopods and in specific reference to Porcellio scaber.

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Temperature is one of the most important environmental factors, which ascertain the life cycle events in various organisms, such as ectotherms, because of its direct influence on the process of metabolism (Van, et al1986). Many studies that have been carried out with a view of studying the response of ectotherms like Porcellio scaber to temperature have indeed indicated that temperature affected the movement of such organisms. The exposure of ectotherms, according to studies, towards toxic pollutants alters the rate both of both uptake and elimination; making this to be an effect of the environmental factors, like for example, the food supply and temperature (Van, et al1986).

The data, which was obtained from this experiment, provide clear interaction evidence between the movement of Porcellio scaber and temperature. This experiment gives a clear proof that the temperature can influence the movement of such organisms; this is also articulated in the ecotoxicological literature. However, no general trend has been formulated, due to the limited data availability about temperature effects on the different movements of organisms and in different species. The results obtained form the experiment indeed indicated that temperature had an effect on the movement of organisms and in particular Porcellio scaber. This was reflected in the various distances that were burrowed by the organisms in various soils having different temperatures. The results that were obtained from the experiment are a clear indicator that temperature had an effect on Porcellio scaber due to the different distances that they burrowed under different soil temperatures.


Isopods, in their activity patterns, were known to show a strong relationship towards climatic factors, such as temperature. As a result, such isopods respond towards humidity and temperature and moisture conditions that are prevalent in the soil. Most of the behavioral studies were carried out under various laboratory conditions, and thus, there was a strong need for such studies to be supplemented by additional field studies. However, through the results that obtained from the experiment, it can be ascertained that the results rejected our hypothesis in that the graphs portrayed an overlap meaning that indeed, we failed in supporting our hypothesis.

Some of the most common patterns or observations that seemed prevalent in the experiments carried out were that soil invertebrates and Porcellio Scaber, in particular reference, were more prone towards both low and high temperatures.  This can best be described through the relatively flat response reflected towards temperature in the current experiment, where activation energies were low as compared to those prevalent in Donker et al (1991). This observation was an implication that the organisms were sampled in winter. The experiments had also ascertained that a change in temperature could lead to reduced faunal contributions towards the process of composition, which would eventually result in decreased microbial degradation of nutrient cycling and detritus. It is, therefore, through such experiments that it can be truly ascertained that extremely low and extremely high temperatures and climatic conditions, indeed, have a substantial effect on isopods, in particular, Porcellio scaber.

Some of the possible errors and limitations during the experiment was that there was lack of enough time and we lacked many species which we could use in carrying out as many experiments as possible. It was indeed ascertained that temperature did have an effect on the movement of Porcellio scaber. In order to obtain more accurate results, it is important to get as many species as possible and also allocate enough time and resources to carry out the experiments in future. This will make sure that the results obtained from such experiments are minimized or reduced and thus make the results obtained to be more accurate.


I could like to thank all stakeholders who contributed towards the success of this experiment. Most specifically, I could like to acknowledge my group members and the lab faculty for the support that they provided during the experiment. The team work and assistance that was provided by the laboratory staff and my group members cannot go unnoticed.

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