Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Tag Archive for ‘cold’

Remarkable hypoxia and cold tolerance of rodents native to the Tibetan plateau

The plateau zokor (Eospalax baileyi) is an underground dwelling rodent species native to the Tibetan plateau (2000-4200 meters in elevation). A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology explored how these animals were adapted to extract oxygen from an environment with very low levels (83-88% of atmospheric). Hemoglobin molecules found in red blood cells are responsible for binding oxygen and transporting it to tissues […]

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Dealing with the cold

Cold-tolerant insects have developed several strategies for dealing with cold temperatures. A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology explored how spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii), in particular, adapted physiologically to cold exposure. They discovered that animals adapted to living in the cold had altered the structure of their cellular membranes in ways that kept the membrane fluid and prevented it from becoming rigid. Moreover, […]

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Alligator snorkeling

I read an interesting article in Live Science about a unique way a group of American alligators use to survive periods of freezing water, for a few days at least. As the temperature drops, the animals stick their nose out of the water and are thus able to breathe through the ice. During cold months the alligators also reduce their metabolism, a process called brumation, which is different from hibernation […]

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Time to talk turkey

Just in time for Thanksgiving… While wild turkeys are known to spend time in the snow, I read an interesting article about the effects of cold exposure on livestock during transport. According to the article, nearly all livestock animals are transported at some point in their life, which can be pretty stressful to the animals. In fact, some turkeys lose weight during transport and others do not even make it […]

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Seals, seals and more seals

Several of the posters and talks at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego focused on Weddell Seals. They are not only cute, they are really interesting physiologically. Emma Weitzner, a graduate student in the lab of Dr. Heather Liwanag, presented a poster on Weddell seals, which are studied as models of the physiology of diving. Emma and her team recorded diving behavior and collected blood samples from 1 week-old […]

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Benefits to being furry, but not fat, in a cold environment

To deal with cold environments, mammals have several options. They could produce heat by increasing metabolism or shivering or they could conserve heat by constricting blood vessels in their skin or snuggling with a friend or insulating materials. With this in mind, researchers wondered how varying levels of insulation (obesity, fur) in mice affected heat loss and how much energy the animals used to maintain body heat. Their thinking was […]

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