Contrasting torpor use by reproductive male common noctule bats in the laboratory and in the field

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Integrative And Comparative Biology. Oxford University Press. ISSN 1540-7063. eISSN 1557-7023. Available under: doi: 10.1093/icb/icad040
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Metabolic processes of animals are often studied in controlled laboratory settings. However, these laboratory settings often do not reflect the animals’ natural environment. Thus, results of metabolic measurements from laboratory studies must be cautiously applied to free-ranging animals. Recent technological advances in animal tracking allow detailed eco-physiological studies that reveal when, where and how physiological measurements from the field differ from those from the laboratory. We investigated torpor behavior of male common noctule bats (Nyctalus noctula) across different life history stages using two approaches: in controlled laboratory experiments and in the field using calibrated heart rate telemetry. We predicted that non-reproductive males would extensively use torpor to conserve energy, whereas reproductive males would reduce torpor use to promote spermatogenesis. We did not expect differences in torpor use between captive and wild animals as we simulated natural temperature conditions in the laboratory. We found that during the non-reproductive phase, both captive and free-ranging bats used torpor extensively. During reproduction, bats in captivity unexpectedly also used torpor throughout the day, while only free-ranging bats showed the expected reduction in torpor use. Thus, depending on life history stage, torpor behavior in the laboratory was markedly different from the wild. By implementing both approaches and at different life history stages, we were able to better explore the limitations of eco-physiological laboratory studies and make recommendations for when they are an appropriate proxy for natural behavior.

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570 Biowissenschaften, Biologie
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ISO 690KEICHER, Lara, J. Ryan SHIPLEY, Paul J. SCHAEFFER, Dina K. N. DECHMANN, 2023. Contrasting torpor use by reproductive male common noctule bats in the laboratory and in the field. In: Integrative And Comparative Biology. Oxford University Press. ISSN 1540-7063. eISSN 1557-7023. Available under: doi: 10.1093/icb/icad040
BibTex
@article{Keicher2023Contr-66982,
  year={2023},
  doi={10.1093/icb/icad040},
  title={Contrasting torpor use by reproductive male common noctule bats in the laboratory and in the field},
  issn={1540-7063},
  journal={Integrative And Comparative Biology},
  author={Keicher, Lara and Shipley, J. Ryan and Schaeffer, Paul J. and Dechmann, Dina K. N.}
}
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