Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Power-napping helps late-born dormice prepare for winter

Date:
July 4, 2014
Source:
Society for Experimental Biology
Summary:
For hibernating mammals, the pre-winter months are a race against time to accumulate enough energy reserves to last until spring. Offspring born late in the year have much less time to achieve this. Scientists have discovered that power-napping can help late-born dormice overcome these unfavourable odds.

For hibernating mammals, the pre-winter months are a race against time to accumulate enough energy reserves to last until spring. Offspring born late in the year have much less time to achieve this. Austrian scientists have discovered that power-napping can help late-born dormice overcome these unfavourable odds.

Related Articles


During hibernation, dormice enter into 'torpor' to save energy and water. In this state, the dormice become inactive and show a marked decrease in their metabolic rate, causing their body temperature to reduce. However, late-born dormice use bouts of torpor during the summer to "catch up" with their earlier-born counterparts. "The longer an animal stays in torpor, the more energy it saves," says Dr Sylvain Giroud (Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, Austria), who led the study.

Torpor use was measured using temperature loggers placed in the nests of the animals which detected the sharp drop in body temperature which occurs in dormancy. Late-born juveniles entered into torpor more frequently and for longer periods, allowing them to achieve higher growth rates. As a result, the late-born juveniles reached a similar size to the early-born dormice at the onset of winter.

Torpor was also found to be a strategy used when food availability was limited. The researchers compared two groups of juveniles -- one able to feed freely and the other intermittently fasted on alternate days. The fasted dormice showed considerably greater use of torpor, enabling them to maintain high growth rates and accumulate sufficient fat reserves.

"Torpor was only viewed as a means to save energy and water, but during the last decade other functions have emerged. These include slowing ageing processes, promoting growth during early life and fattening prior to hibernation" added Dr Giroud. "Juveniles have to reach a threshold of fatness in order to survive winter by hibernating. The more fat deposited, the more likely individuals will survive." Besides increasing the chances of survival over winter, reaching an optimal body size is also thought to favour reproductive success when the dormice emerge from hibernation during the spring.


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. "Power-napping helps late-born dormice prepare for winter." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140704134814.htm>.
Society for Experimental Biology. (2014, July 4). Power-napping helps late-born dormice prepare for winter. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140704134814.htm
Society for Experimental Biology. "Power-napping helps late-born dormice prepare for winter." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140704134814.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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