Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

How Animals Deal with Stress

Comparative Mastehead 2018


Photo of arctic ground squirrels by D. Gordon E. Robertson via Wikimedia Commons 

Victor Zhang (Graduate Student working with Dr. Loren Buck at Northern Arizona University) gave an interesting talk on his research to measure stress and activity patterns in free living arctic ground squirrels. They found overall that females were less stressed than males although stress levels and activity varied during lactation. I think some human mothers can agree with those observations.


Image of a deer mouse from Wikimedia Commons

Oliver Wearing (Graduate student working with Dr. Graham Scott at McMaster University) also gave an interesting talk on how deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) have adapted to life at high altitude by increasing the ability for hemoglobin to bind oxygen compared to deer mice that live at low altitudes.

Catherine Ivy (Graduate student from the same lab) also showed that alterations in hemoglobin can drive changes in breathing patterns that help the high altitude deer mice breath deeply.

File:Yaks still provide the best way to plow fields in Tibet.jpg

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Erica Heinrich (Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California – San Diego) gave an interesting talk that compared how two populations of people living at high altitude (Tibet, above and Andes) have evolved different strategies to adapt to their hypoxic environments.


Image of zebrafish by Oregon State University, via Wikimedia Commons

Naim Martinez (graduate student working in the lab of Dr. Warren Burgrren at the University of North Texas) spoke about the effects of an oil spill and hypoxia on epigenetic changes in zebrafish (Danio rerio) that could be passed on to offspring, resulting in long-lasting effects on generations of fish.

Karem Vazquez Roman (Graduate student working in the same lab) gave a poster presentation that showed constant exposure to crude oil can alter heart rate in developing zebrafish.

Common shore crab 1.JPG

Image of a European green crab from Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Carolyn Tepolt (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute) spoke about European green crabs (Carcinus maenas), which are an invasive species that thrives under many different environmental conditions. In order to be successful in many environments, Dr. Tepolts’s research has shown that the animal can quickly adapt to changing temperatures, resulting in genetic alterations.

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Image of an African mole rat by Charles J Sharp from Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Matthew Pamenter (University of Ottawa) presented his research on the strategies various species of African mole rats have evolved to deal with hypoxic life underground.

Image result for FVB mouse

Christian Arias-Reyes (Doctoral student working with Dr. Jorge Soliz, Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Quebec, Universite Laval) presented his research on physiological adaptations that allow mice to thrive at high altitude, but prevent rats from living comfortably above 2500 meters.


Categories: Climate Change, Environment, Extreme Animals, Hibernation and Hypoxia, Physiology on the Road, Reproduction and Development, Stress

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