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By Tom Wassmer Assistant Professor of Biology at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan
Yuichi Chayama, Lisa Ando, Yutaka Tamura, Masayuki Miura, Yoshifumi Yamaguchi
Hibernation is an adaptive strategy for surviving during periods with little or no food availability, by profoundly reducing the metabolic rate and the core body temperature (T b). Obligate hibernators (e.g. bears, ground squirrels, etc.) hibernate every winter under the strict regulation of endogenous circannual rhythms, and they are assumed to undergo adaptive remodelling in autumn, the pre-hibernation period, prior to hibernation. However, little is known about the nature of pre-hibernation remodelling. Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) are facultative hibernators that can hibernate irrespective of seasons when exposed to prolonged short photoperiod and cold ambient temperature (SD-Cold) conditions...
April 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Carina Siutz, Claudia Franceschini, Eva Millesi
In this study, we investigated the timing and duration of hibernation as well as body temperature patterns in free-ranging common hamsters (Cricetus cricetus) with regard to sex and age differences. Body temperature was recorded using subcutaneously implanted data loggers. The results demonstrate that although immergence and vernal emergence sequences of sex and age groups resembled those of most hibernators, particularly adult females delayed hibernation onset until up to early January. Thus, in contrast to other hibernators, female common hamsters hibernated for shorter periods than males and correspondingly spent less time in torpor...
August 2016: Journal of Comparative Physiology. B, Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Øivind Tøien, John Blake, Brian M Barnes
Black bears overwintering in outdoor hibernacula in Alaska decrease metabolism to as low as 25 % basal rates, while core body temperature (T(b)) decreases from 37 to 38 °C to a mid-hibernation average of 33 °C. T b develops cycles of 1.6-7.3 days length within a 30-36 °C range, with no circadian component. We do not know the mechanism or function underlying behind the T(b) cycles, although bears avoid T(b) of <30 °C and shorter cycles are predicted from higher rates of heat loss in colder conditions...
May 2015: Journal of Comparative Physiology. B, Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Zenon J Czenze, Craig K R Willis
Phenology refers to the timing of events in the annual cycle of organisms. For temperate-zone mammals, hibernation is one such event, but little is known about its phenology. Hibernation consists of energy-saving torpor bouts interspersed with energetically expensive arousals to normothermic Tb, and hibernators should benefit from mechanisms which reduce arousal costs and help them time arousals to coincide with foraging opportunities. In a previous study, we showed that, in contrast to hibernating bats from warmer climates, little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) from central Canada abandon a circadian pattern to arousal in the middle of winter when there is no chance of feeding...
July 2015: Journal of Comparative Physiology. B, Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Michael W Sears, Michael J Angilletta
In recent years, ecologists have stepped up to address the challenges imposed by rapidly changing climates. Some researchers have developed niche-based methods to predict how species will shift their ranges. Such methods have evolved rapidly, resulting in models that incorporate physiological and behavioral mechanisms. Despite their sophistication, these models fail to account for environmental heterogeneity at the scale of an organism. We used an individual-based model to quantify the effects of operative environmental temperatures, as well as their heterogeneity and spatial structure, on the thermoregulation, movement, and energetics of ectotherms...
April 2015: American Naturalist
H C Wheeler, J D Chipperfield, C Roland, J-C Svenning
Increases in terrestrial primary productivity across the Arctic and northern alpine ecosystems are leading to altered vegetation composition and stature. Changes in vegetation stature may affect predator-prey interactions via changes in the prey's ability to detect predators, changes in predation pressure, predator identity and predator foraging strategy. Changes in productivity and vegetation composition may also affect herbivores via effects on forage availability and quality. We investigated if height-dependent effects of forage and non-forage vegetation determine burrowing extent and activity of arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii)...
July 2015: Oecologia
O Lynne Nelson, Charles T Robbins
Mammalian hibernation has intrigued scientists due to extreme variations in normal seasonal physiological homeostasis. Numerous species manifest a hibernation phenotype although the characteristics of the hypometabolic state can be quite different. Ground squirrels (e.g., Sciuridae) are often considered the prototypical hibernator as individuals in this genus transition from an active, euthermic state (37 °C) to a nonresponsive hibernating state where torpid body temperature commonly falls to 3-5 °C. However, the hibernating state is not continuous as periodic warming and arousals occur...
April 2015: Journal of Comparative Physiology. B, Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
José Luis Villanueva-Cañas, Sheena L Faherty, Anne D Yoder, M Mar Albà
In recent years, the study of the molecular processes involved in mammalian hibernation has shifted from investigating a few carefully selected candidate genes to large-scale analysis of differential gene expression. The availability of high-throughput data provides an unprecedented opportunity to ask whether phylogenetically distant species show similar mechanisms of genetic control, and how these relate to particular genes and pathways involved in the hibernation phenotype. In order to address these questions, we compare 11 datasets of differentially expressed (DE) genes from two ground squirrel species, one bat species, and the American black bear, as well as a list of genes extracted from the literature that previously have been correlated with the drastic physiological changes associated with hibernation...
September 2014: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Stefanie Monecke, Birgit Amann, Karin Lemuth, Franziska Wollnik
In contrast to photoperiodic rodent species, adult circannual European hamsters (Cricetus cricetus) do not rely on melatonin as transducer of the photoperiodic message. Instead, seasonal entrainment involves a special circadian organisation which characterizes a photoperiod-sensitive phase. When days shorten a precise activity pattern ("summer pattern") switches to a weak or arrhythmic "winter pattern". At the very same day gonadal regression is initiated and the circannual clock is reset. In contrast to this difference in photoperiodic time measurement, the broad time span in which offspring are born and the birth-season dependent timing of puberty is similar to photoperiodic rodents...
May 10, 2014: Physiology & Behavior
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