Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Shifts in Physiological Mechanisms Let Male Bats Balance the Need to Feed and the Urge to Breed

16.04.2013
A forthcoming article in Physiological and Biochemical Zoology reveals shifts in the mechanisms bats use to regulate metabolism throughout their seasonal activity period.

As small and active flying mammals, bats have very high mass-specific energy requirements and as such continually adjust their rates of activity and metabolism in response to ambient temperature and other seasonal variation.


Bats must carefully balance physiological mechanisms in response to variation in factors such as ambient temperature, availability of food, and mating requirements. Myotis daubentonii funnels a prey insect with the aid of the wing into the tail pouch to eat it during flight.
Photo credit: Marko König (Mammalian Ecology Group, JLU Giessen)

In particular, during the autumn mating season, male bats must carefully balance time spent foraging (to gain enough fat to last the winter hibernation) with time spent finding a mate. Because both activities require significant effort, how do male bats do it? In an upcoming issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, Nina Becker and colleagues reveal that the answer lies in the bats’ resting metabolic rate.

In their study, the group monitored the thermoregulation, energy intake, activity, and metabolism of free-ranging Daubenton’s bats Myotis daubentonii during this insectivorous species’ main activity period of the year (mid-April to mid-October).

Becker et al. found that during spring, when ambient temperatures are low, prey is scarce, and the male bats are reproductively inactive, M. daubentonii used daily torpor (decreased body temperature) to balance their energy budgets.

In summer, when temperatures and abundance of insects increase, bats shift their behavior away from long and frequent bouts of torpor and toward more intake of food. In males it is predicted that this increase in feeding is done in anticipation of the impending mating season, when energy requirements are high but low insect abundance and significant time spent finding a mate (and therefore not foraging) mean that food intake will be at its lowest during the animals’ entire period of activity.

In autumn, for male M. daubentonii to accommodate the high energy demands of reproduction and low energy intake and also sufficiently prepare for hibernation, Becker and colleagues report that the bats do not increase torpor, as they do in spring, but instead employ metabolic compensation to reduce resting metabolic rate. In this way, energy expenditures are reduced and thus the low amount of food the bats consume is enough for them to survive the winter. The exact mechanism allowing this reduction in resting metabolic rate is still in question, but the authors speculate it is likely due to a decrease in activity of either the digestive system or the brain.

Becker, Nina I., Marco Tschapka, Elisabeth K. V. Kalko, and Jorge A. Encarnação. “Balancing the Energy Budget in Free-Ranging Male Myotis daubentonii Bats.” Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 86:3 (May/June 2013).

Physiological and Biochemical Zoology (http://journals.uchicago.edu/PBZ) publishes original research in animal physiology and biochemistry, with a specific emphasis on studies that address the ecological and/or evolutionary aspects of physiological and biochemical mechanisms. Studies at all levels of biological organization from the molecular to the whole organism are welcome, and work that integrates levels of organization to address important questions in behavioral, ecological, evolutionary, or comparative physiology is particularly encouraged.

Emily Murphy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchicago.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>