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Title: Marsupials don't adjust their thermal energetics for life in an alpine environment
Contributor(s): Cooper, Christine E (author); Withers, Philip (author); Hardie, Andrew (author); Geiser, Fritz  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2016
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1080/23328940.2016.1171280Open Access Link
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Abstract: Marsupials have relatively low body temperatures and metabolic rates, and are therefore considered to be maladapted for life in cold habitats such as alpine environments. We compared body temperature, energetics and water loss as a function of ambient temperature for 4 'Antechinus' species, 2 from alpine habitats and 2 from low altitude habitats. Our results show that body temperature, metabolic rate, evaporative water loss, thermal conductance and relative water economy are markedly influenced by ambient temperature for each species, as expected for endothermic mammals. However, despite some species and individual differences, habitat (alpine vs non-alpine) does not affect any of these physiological variables, which are consistent with those for other marsupials. Our study suggests that at least under the environmental conditions experienced on the Australian continent, life in an alpine habitat does not require major physiological adjustments by small marsupials and that they are physiologically equipped to deal with sub-zero temperatures and winter snow cover.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Temperature, 3(3), p. 484-498
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 2332-8959
Field of Research (FOR): 060806 Animal Physiological Ecology
060899 Zoology not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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