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More functions of torpor and their roles in a changing world

Nowack, J, Stawski, C and Geiser, F (2017) More functions of torpor and their roles in a changing world. Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 187 (5-6). pp. 889-897. ISSN 0174-1578

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Abstract

Increased winter survival by reducing energy expenditure in adult animals is often viewed as the primary function of torpor. However, torpor has many other functions that ultimately increase the survival of heterothermic mammals and birds. In this review, we summarize new findings revealing that animals use torpor to cope with the conditions during and after natural disasters, including fires, storms, and heat waves. Furthermore, we suggest that torpor, which also prolongs longevity and was likely crucial for survival of mammals during the time of the dinosaur extinctions, will be advantageous in a changing world. Climate change is assumed to lead to an increase in the occurrence and intensity of climatic disasters, such as those listed above and also abnormal floods, droughts, and extreme temperatures. The opportunistic use of torpor, found in many heterothermic species, will likely enhance survival of these challenges, because these species can reduce energy and foraging requirements. However, many strictly seasonal hibernators will likely face the negative consequences of the predicted increase in temperature, such as range contraction. Overall, available data suggest that opportunistic heterotherms with their flexible energy requirements have an adaptive advantage over homeotherms in response to unpredictable conditions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0601 Biochemistry And Cell Biology, 0606 Physiology, 0608 Zoology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2018 08:05
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2018 08:11
DOI or Identification number: 10.1007/s00360-017-1100-y
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9291

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