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Title: Effects of temperature acclimation on maximum heat production, thermal tolerance, and torpor in a marsupial
Contributor(s): Geiser, Fritz  (author)orcid ; Drury, Rebecca L (author); McAllan, Bronwyn Marie (author); Wang, D.H. (author)
Publication Date: 2003
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Abstract: Marsupials, unlike placental mammals, are believed to be unable to increase heat production and thermal performance after cold-acclimation. It has been suggested that this may be because marsupials lack functional brown fat, a thermogenic tissue, which proliferates during cold-acclimation in many placentals. However, arid zone marsupials have to cope with unpredictable, short-term and occasionally extreme changes in environmental conditions, and thus they benefit from an appropriate physiological response. We therefore investigated whether a sequential two to four week acclimation in 'Sminthopsis macroura' (body mass approx. 25 g) to both cold (16°C) and warm (26°C) ambient temperatures affects the thermal physiology of the species. Cold-acclimated 'S. macroura' were able to significantly increase maximum heat production (by 27%) and could maintain a constant body temperature at significantly lower effective ambient temperatures (about 9°C lower) than when warm-acclimated. Moreover, metabolic rates during torpor were increased following cold-acclimation in comparison to warm-acclimation. Our study shows that, despite the lack of functional brown fat, short-term acclimation can have significant effects on thermoenergetics of marsupials. It is likely that the rapid response in 'S. macroura' reflects an adaptation to the unpredictability of the climate in their habitat.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology, 173(5), p. 437-442
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Place of Publication: New York, United States of America
ISSN: 0174-1578
Field of Research (FOR): 060604 Comparative Physiology
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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School of Environmental and Rural Science

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