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Reporting of thermography parameters in biology: a systematic review of thermal imaging literature

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      Infrared (IR) thermography, where temperature measurements are made with IR cameras, has proven to be a very useful and widely used tool in biological science. Several thermography parameters are critical to the proper operation of thermal cameras and the accuracy of measurements, and these must usually be provided to the camera. Failure to account for these parameters may lead to less accurate measurements. Furthermore, the failure to provide information of parameter choices in reports may compromise appraisal of accuracy and replicate studies. In this review, we investigate how well biologists report thermography parameters. This is done through a systematic review of biological thermography literature that included articles published between years 2007 and 2017. We found that in primary biological thermography papers, which make some kind of quantitative temperature measurement, 48% fail to report values used for emissivity (an object's capacity to emit thermal radiation relative to a black body radiator), which is the minimum level of reporting that should take place. This finding highlights the need for life scientists to take into account and report key parameter information when carrying out thermography, in the future.

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      Most cited references 104

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      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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          Hibernating arctic ground squirrels, Spermophilus parryii, were able to adopt and spontaneously arouse from core body temperatures as low as -2.9 degrees C without freezing. Abdominal body temperatures of ground squirrels hibernating in outdoor burrows were recorded with temperature-sensitive radiotransmitter implants. Body temperatures and soil temperatures at hibernaculum depth reached average minima during February of -1.9 degrees and -6 degrees C, respectively. Laboratory-housed ground squirrels hibernating in ambient temperatures of -4.3 degrees C maintained above 0 degree C thoracic temperatures but decreased colonic temperatures to as low as -1.3 degrees C. Plasma sampled from animals with below 0 degree C body temperatures had normal solute concentrations and showed no evidence of containing antifreeze molecules.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol , Bristol BS8 1TQ, UK
            [2 ]Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, School of Psychology, University of Exeter , Exeter EX4 4QG, UK
            Author notes
            Author for correspondence: Michael J. M. Harrap e-mail: mh14884@

            Electronic supplementary material is available online at

            R Soc Open Sci
            R Soc Open Sci
            Royal Society Open Science
            The Royal Society
            December 2018
            5 December 2018
            5 December 2018
            : 5
            : 12
            6304129 10.1098/rsos.181281 rsos181281
            © 2018 The Authors.

            Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

            Funded by: Natural Environment Research Council,;
            Award ID: NE/L002434
            Biology (Whole Organism)
            Review Article
            Custom metadata
            December, 2018


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