Keicher, Lara


Suchergebnisse Publikationen

Gerade angezeigt 1 - 2 von 2

Metabolic rate in common shrews is unaffected by temperature, leading to lower energetic costs through seasonal size reduction

2020-04, Schaeffer, Paul J., O'Mara, Michael Teague, Breiholz, Japhet, Keicher, Lara, Lazaro, Javier, Muturi, Marion, Dechmann, Dina K. N.

Small endothermic mammals have high metabolisms, particularly at cold temperatures. In the light of this, some species have evolved a seemingly illogical strategy: they reduce the size of the brain and several organs to become even smaller in winter. To test how this morphological strategy affects energy consumption across seasonally shifting ambient temperatures, we measured oxygen consumption and behaviour in the three seasonal phenotypes of the common shrew (Sorex araneus), which differ in size by about 20%. Body mass was the main driver of oxygen consumption, not the reduction of metabolically expensive brain mass. Against our expectations, we found no change in relative oxygen consumption with low ambient temperature. Thus, smaller body size in winter resulted in significant absolute energy savings. This finding could only partly be explained by an increase of lower cost behaviours in the activity budgets. Our findings highlight that these shrews manage to avoid one of the most fundamental and intuitive rules of ecology, allowing them to subsist with lower resource availability and successfully survive the harsh conditions of winter.

Vorschaubild nicht verfügbar

Stable carbon isotopes in breath reveal fast metabolic incorporation rates and seasonally variable but rapid fat turnover in the common shrew (Sorex araneus)

2017-08-02, Keicher, Lara, O'Mara, Michael Teague, Voigt, Christian C., Dechmann, Dina K. N.

Small non-migratory mammals with Northern distribution ranges apply a variety of behavioural and physiological wintering strategies. A rare energy-saving strategy is Dehnel's phenomenon, involving a reduction and later regrowth of the body size, several organs and parts of the skeleton in red-toothed shrews (Soricidae). The size extremes coincide with major life stages. However, the physiological consequences for the shrew's metabolism remain poorly understood. In keeping with the energetic limitations that may induce the size changes, we hypothesised that metabolic incorporation rates should remain the same across the shrews' lifetimes. In contrast, fat turnover rates should be faster in smaller subadults than in large juveniles and regrown adults, as the metabolic activity of fat tissue increases in winter individuals (subadults). Measuring the changes in the ratio of exhaled stable carbon isotopes, we found that the baseline diet of shrews changed across the season. A diet switch experiment showed that incorporation rates were consistently rapid (t50=38.2±21.1-69.3±53.5 min) and did not change between seasons. As predicted, fat turnover rates were faster in size-reduced subadults (t50=2.1±1.3 h) compared with larger juveniles (t50=5.5±1.7 h) and regrown adults (t50=5.0±4.4 h). In all three age/size classes, all body fat was turned over after 9-24 h. These results show that high levels of nutrient uptake are independent of body size, whereas fat turnover rates are negatively correlated with body size. Thus, the shrews might be under higher pressure to save energy in winter and this may have supported the evolution of Dehnel's phenomenon.