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dc.contributor.authorLee, Trixie Nicole
dc.descriptionDissertation (Ph.D.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2012
dc.description.abstractThe Arctic is home to animals that have taken adaptations to overwintering to extremes. In this dissertation, I have investigated one of these adaptations, hibernation, in two species from the Arctic, the Alaska marmot (Marmota broweri) and the arctic ground squirrel (Urocitellus parryii ). The expression of hibernation under natural conditions in these species was compared by collecting body temperature records of free-living individuals. The Alaska marmot, a highly social species, demonstrated extreme synchrony in body temperature patterns among a family group, indicating a strong reliance on social thermoregulation. In contrast, the arctic ground squirrel was confirmed to be a solitary hibernator that reduces body temperature below freezing during torpor. Both species must produce heat when soil temperatures are significantly below freezing for most of the winter. At these subfreezing ambient temperatures, the arctic ground squirrel has shown an increasing reliance on nonlipid fuel during torpor, driving a loss of lean mass during hibernation of ~20%. I calibrated deuterium dilution to repeatedly estimate body composition in this species, which dramatically changes adiposity through its annual cycle, and used this technique to quantify lean mass loss throughout hibernation in a study of tissue metabolism. I also developed and applied the natural abundance of nitrogen and carbon stable isotopes as tools for monitoring differential tissue metabolism and differentiating mixed metabolic fuel use in the arctic ground squirrel. These data clarified the mechanism of change in nitrogen stable isotopes and indicated that hibernating ground squirrels rebuild organ tissues while breaking down muscle tissue to meet energetic demands. Furthermore, I corroborated a shift in metabolic fuel use toward nonlipid sources during torpor at low ambient temperatures by using the carbon isotope ratio in exhaled breath in combination with respiratory quotient. This dissertation combines studies of hibernation patterns in free-living animals with experimental data on the tissues and fuels being catabolized at very low temperatures to broaden our understanding of how small mammals successfully hibernate in severe winter conditions. It also presents the development and use of stable isotope ratios as physiological tools in hibernating species.
dc.subjectConservation biology
dc.subjectAnimal Physiology
dc.subjectWildlife conservation
dc.titleExpression And Mechanisms Of Hibernation In The Artic: The Alaska Marmot And Arctic Ground Squirrel
dc.identifier.departmentDepartment of Biology and Wildlife
dc.contributor.chairO'Brien, Diane
dc.contributor.chairBuck, Loren
dc.contributor.committeeTaylor, Barbara
dc.contributor.committeeBarnes, Brian

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  • Biological Sciences
    Includes WIldlife Biology and other Biological Sciences. For Marine Biology see the Marine Sciences collection.

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