Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Physiological flexibility and acclimation to food shortage in a heterothermic primate


Canale, C I; Perret, M; Thery, M; Henry, P Y (2011). Physiological flexibility and acclimation to food shortage in a heterothermic primate. Journal of Experimental Biology, 214(4):551-560.

Abstract

As ecosystems undergo changes worldwide, physiological flexibility is likely to be an important adaptive response to increased climate instability. Extreme weather fluctuations impose energetical constraints such as unpredictable food shortage. We tested how grey mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus) could adjust their daily heterothermy and locomotor activity to these 'energetic accidents' with a food restriction experiment. The experimental design consisted of acute calorie restriction (2 weeks, 80% restriction) in the middle of winter, after a fattening season with low (11 weeks, 40% restriction) versus high (ad libitum) food availability. This design aimed at simulating the combined effects of the quality of the fattening season (acclimation effect) and a sudden, severe food shortage during the lean season. Hour of start and duration of torpor were the most flexible components of energy savings, increasing in response to the acute food shortage with facilitation by chronic restriction (acclimation effect). Modulations of locomotor activity did not support the hypothesis of energy savings, as total locomotor activity was not reduced. Nonetheless, acutely restricted individuals modified their temporal pattern of locomotor activity according to former food availability. We provide the first experimental evidence of different temporal levels of flexibility of energy-saving mechanisms in a heterotherm exposed to food shortage. The acclimation effect of past food scarcity suggests that heterothermic organisms are better able to respond to unpredicted food scarcity during the lean season. The flexible control of energy expenditure conferred by heterothermy may facilitate the plastic response of heterothermic species to more frequent climatic hazards.

Abstract

As ecosystems undergo changes worldwide, physiological flexibility is likely to be an important adaptive response to increased climate instability. Extreme weather fluctuations impose energetical constraints such as unpredictable food shortage. We tested how grey mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus) could adjust their daily heterothermy and locomotor activity to these 'energetic accidents' with a food restriction experiment. The experimental design consisted of acute calorie restriction (2 weeks, 80% restriction) in the middle of winter, after a fattening season with low (11 weeks, 40% restriction) versus high (ad libitum) food availability. This design aimed at simulating the combined effects of the quality of the fattening season (acclimation effect) and a sudden, severe food shortage during the lean season. Hour of start and duration of torpor were the most flexible components of energy savings, increasing in response to the acute food shortage with facilitation by chronic restriction (acclimation effect). Modulations of locomotor activity did not support the hypothesis of energy savings, as total locomotor activity was not reduced. Nonetheless, acutely restricted individuals modified their temporal pattern of locomotor activity according to former food availability. We provide the first experimental evidence of different temporal levels of flexibility of energy-saving mechanisms in a heterotherm exposed to food shortage. The acclimation effect of past food scarcity suggests that heterothermic organisms are better able to respond to unpredicted food scarcity during the lean season. The flexible control of energy expenditure conferred by heterothermy may facilitate the plastic response of heterothermic species to more frequent climatic hazards.

Statistics

Citations

22 citations in Web of Science®
23 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

45 downloads since deposited on 04 Mar 2014
9 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:climate change, calorie restriction, energy saving, exteme climatic event, food availability, Microcebus murinus, phenotypic plasticity, thermoregulation
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:04 Mar 2014 10:18
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 08:08
Publisher:Company of Biologists
ISSN:0022-0949
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.046987
PubMed ID:21270303

Download

Download PDF  'Physiological flexibility and acclimation to food shortage in a heterothermic primate'.
Preview
Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 812kB
View at publisher