Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tree hugging helps koalas keep their cool

05.06.2014

Australia's koalas cope with extreme heat by resting against cooler tree trunks, new research has revealed.

Thermal imaging uncovered the koalas' cool plan, confirming that they choose to hug trees that can be more than 5°C cooler than the air during hot weather.

Researchers observed the behaviour of 30 koalas during hot weather at French Island, Victoria. Co-author Andrew Krockenberger from James Cook University in Cairns, in far north-east Australia, says heat wave events can hit koala populations hard.

"We know that about a quarter of the koalas in one population in New South Wales died during a heat wave in 2009," Professor Krockenberger said.

... more about:
»Biology »Island »heat »populations »species »tropical

"Understanding the types of factors that can make some populations more resilient is important." Koalas also pant and lick their fur to cool down, but that can lead to dehydration.

"Access to these trees can save about half the water a koala would need to keep cool on a hot day," lead researcher Dr Natalie Briscoe, from the University of Melbourne, said.

"Access to cool tree trunks would significantly reduce the amount of heat stress for koalas." Co-author Dr Michael Kearney said the findings were important as climate change is bringing about more extreme weather.

Researchers used a portable weather station on a long pole to measure what the koalas were experiencing in the places they chose to sit, compared to other places available to them.

"When we took the heat imagery it dramatically confirmed our idea that 'tree hugging' was an important cooling behaviour in extreme heat," Dr Michael Kearney said.

"Cool tree trunks are likely to be an important microhabitat during hot weather for other tree dwelling species including primates, leopards, birds and invertebrates.

"The availability of cooler trees should be considered when assessing habitat suitability under current and future climate scenarios."

Professor Krockenberger's research includes some of Australia's warmest koalas – the population on Magnetic Island, in the country's tropical northeast.

"These findings underscore the importance of trees to koalas especially, in the context of climate extremes," he said.

"In this study the coolest trees were acacias. They're not a koala food tree, but clearly they can be important when it comes to coping with the heat."

###

The study is published in the current edition of Biology Letters.

Linden Woodward | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.jcu.edu.au/

Further reports about: Biology Island heat populations species tropical

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution
27.03.2017 | Lancaster University

nachricht Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>