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  1. Variation in tissue-specific metabolism between species and among individuals is thought to be adaptively important; however, understanding this evolutionary relationship requires reliably measuring this trait in many individuals. In most higher organisms, tissue specificity is important because different organs (heart, brain, liver, muscle) have unique ecologically adaptive roles. Current technology and methodology for measuring tissue-specific metabolism is costly and limited by throughput capacity and efficiency. Presented here is the design for a flexible and cost-effective high-throughput micro-respirometer (HTMR) optimized to measure small biological samples. To verify precision and accuracy, substrate specific metabolism was measured in heart ventricles isolated from a small teleost, Fundulus heteroclitus, and in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). Within the system, results were reproducible between chambers and over time with both teleost hearts and yeast. Additionally, metabolic rates and allometric scaling relationships in Fundulus agree with previously published data measured with lower-throughput equipment. This design reduces cost, but still provides an accurate measure of metabolism in small biological samples. This will allow for high-throughput measurement of tissue metabolism that can enhance understanding of the adaptive importance of complex metabolic traits.