Linfield faculty lecture to address the science of size

Mike RobertsMichael Roberts, Linfield College professor of biology, will explain how animal size affects the way we think about biology during an upcoming faculty lecture Oct. 13 at Linfield.

“Why Are Animals So Small? And Other Interesting Questions About Size in Biology” will be presented Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in 201 Riley Hall at Linfield.

Roberts is a physiologist who conducts research focusing on how body size determines physiology. The lecture will discuss the theme of size within books such as Gulliver’s Travels and The Little Prince, as well as in films which incorporate over-grown spiders. He will explain the problem with these books and films from a biological standpoint. According to Roberts, animals come in a huge range of sizes, from less than a millimeter to over 100 feet in length, and body weights range from a millionth of a gram to 200 tons.

“Very small animals are unaffected by gravity, but very much affected by light air movements and the surface tension of water. Large animals are profoundly affected by gravity,” said Roberts. “Thus, we can’t generalize about animal biology without knowing what size animal we are talking about.”

A Linfield faculty member since 1981, Roberts earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California-Berkeley and his master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also did post-doctorial research at Yale University.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The Linfield College faculty lecture series offers one presentation each month by a member of the Linfield faculty. For more information, call 503-883-2409.