Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Surviving fasting in the cold

Date:
July 2, 2013
Source:
Society for Experimental Biology
Summary:
King penguin chicks survive harsh winters with almost no food by minimizing the cost of energy production. A new study shows that the efficiency of the mitochondria, the power house of the cell, is increased in fasted king penguin chicks.

King penguin biology is characterized by an exceptionally long breeding cycle during which the chicks exhibit a terrestrial growing phase of longer than one year. During the austral winter, king penguin chicks are infrequently fed by their parents and usually undergo severe food deprivation.
Credit: Pierre-Axel Monternier

King penguin chicks survive harsh winters with almost no food by minimising the cost of energy production. A new study, to be presented at the Society for Experimental Biology meeting in Valencia on the 3rd July, shows that the efficiency of the mitochondria, the power house of the cell, is increased in fasted king penguin chicks.

King penguin chicks are socially and morphologically well adapted to harsh environmental conditions, however, they experience a severe energy challenge during the cold sub-Antarctic winter, when food is not readily available. Research headed by Pierre-Axel Monternier and Prof Damien Roussel at the Ecology of Natural and Man-impacted Hydrosystems laboratory in France looked, for the first time, at how the king penguin chicks' mitochondria in skeletal muscle, the main heat producing tissue in birds, function during fasting in the winter.

Pierre-Axel Monternier said: "We found that the efficiency of mitochondrial functioning increased in fasted winter-acclimatized king penguin chicks. This indicates that less substrate/oxygen was consumed to produce the same amount of energy in the form of ATP, showing that mitochondria from fasted chicks adjust its functioning to minimize the cost of energy production."

This study shows how king penguins are able to produce heat to survive the cold without depleting their energy stores, an essential mechanism to survive the cold when food is scarce. Their biological adjustments increase survival of chicks, which, among birds, have an unrivalled fasting endurance (up to 5 months).

Fasting in the cold represents a bioenergetics trade-off between sparing energy for body maintenance and dissipating energy for heat production and endothermy maintenance. In this challenging context, chicks develop a whole range of energy sparing mechanisms (social huddling behaviour, reduction in muscle activity and basal metabolic rate, short period of hypothermia and high thermal insulation) that lead to reduce the energy allocated to heat production and growth.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Experimental Biology. "Surviving fasting in the cold." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702202903.htm>.
Society for Experimental Biology. (2013, July 2). Surviving fasting in the cold. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702202903.htm
Society for Experimental Biology. "Surviving fasting in the cold." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702202903.htm (accessed August 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Small Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

Raw: Small Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Icelandic authorities briefly raised the aviation warning code to red on Friday during a small eruption at the Holuhraun lava field in the Bardabunga volcano system. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) In the midst of a historic drought, Los Angeles is increasing efforts to go after people who waste water. Five water conservation "cops" drive around the city every day educating homeowners about the drought. Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins