Project proposal details

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Project title
A new tool for quantifying the the response of metabolic traits to climate change
Contact name
Samraat Pawar
Project based at
Silwood Park (Imperial)
Imperial contact email
Project description
This project will develop a new python package for fitting the temperature responses of metabolic traits (e.g., respiration, photosynthesis, growth rate) to alternative mathematical models. The project will use a global database on thermal responses of metabolic traits (BioTraits; Along with developing a valuable new software tool, the project will address some key questions about the variation in the thermal physiology of ectotherms from different climatic regimes.

Relevant references:
1. Dell, A. I., Pawar, S., & Savage, V. M. (2011). Systematic variation in the temperature dependence of physiological and ecological traits. PNAS, 108(26), 10591–10596.
2. Pawar, S., Dell, A. I., Savage, V. M. & Knies, J. L. Real versus Artificial Variation in the Thermal Sensitivity of Biological Traits. Am. Nat. 187, E41–E52 (2016).
3. Kontopoulos, D, B García-Carreras, S Sal, T P. Smith, and S Pawar. 2018. Use and Misuse of Temperature Normalisation in Meta-Analyses of Thermal Responses of Biological Traits. PeerJ 6 (February). PeerJ Inc.: e4363. doi:10.7717/peerj.4363.
4. DeLong, J. P., J. P. Gibert, T. M. Luhring, G. Bachman, B. Reed, A. Neyer, and K. L. Montooth. 2017. The Combined Effects of Reactant Kinetics and Enzyme Stability Explain the Temperature Dependence of Metabolic Rates.” Ecology and Evolution 7 (11): 3940–50. doi:10.1002/ece3.2955.
5. DeLong, J P, G Bachman, J P Gibert, T M Luhring, K L Montooth, A Neyer, and B Reed. 2018. Habitat, Latitude and Body Mass Influence the Temperature Dependence of Metabolic Rate. Biology Letters 14 (8). The Royal Society: 20180442. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2018.0442.
6. Ritchie, Mark E. 2018. Reaction and Diffusion Thermodynamics Explain Optimal Temperatures of Biochemical Reactions. Scientific Reports 8 (1). Nature Publishing Group: 11105. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-28833-9.
Additional requirements
Programming in Python
Available support
Computer, Desk space
Date uploaded

Project proposal limitations

The project proposer has indicated that there are some limitations to the availability of this project. It may only be available at certain times of year or suit a specific project length. It may also need skills taught to students on a particular course or courses.

Research project proposals are usually part of an active research programme. If supervisors have stated limitations to a proposal, then they are unlikely to have any flexibility. If you are very interested in the topic but have problems with the stated limitations, the supervisor may still be happy to talk to you about other options around the proposal, but you should not expect that any alternative arrangements can be made.

Project length limitations
5 months, 9 months
Available date limitations
Winter (January)
Suitable for
Ecology Evolution and Conservation, Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution (MSc), Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution (MRes), Ecological Applications, Ecosystem and Environmental Change MRes