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

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

UNLV study unlocks clues to how planets form

13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Live from the ocean research vessel Atlantis

13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researcher deciphers flows that help bacteria feed and organize biofilms

13.12.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>