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HYPOxemia and HYPOthermia in foraging elephant seals: diving into physiological conundrums

Hypoxic events are cause of human brain dysfunctions, with no treatment. In contrast, diving seals exhibit an exceptional ability to tolerate brain hypothermia and hypoxia, while maintaining cognitive functions to forage and capture preys. Southern Elephant seals are the best divers among seals, that make them a unique neurological model to investigate physiological mechanisms to sustain repeated severe brain hypoxia and hypothermia. Free-ranging Southern Elephant seals will be equipped with new technology loggers to explore regional and brain hypothermia, hypoxia and neuronal activity at three developmental ages (pups, juveniles, adult) during prolonged dives. This will allow to compare different metabolic constraints and changes during diving experience. This comparative physiological approach will give a new way for better understanding organisms’ physiological adaptations to extreme hypoxic environments, that could provide a new way for future clinical applications.
Collaborative Research Projekts (PRC)
Type of Research
Basic research
Giroud S.,
Vetmed Research Units
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology
Projekt partner
Contact: Dr. Alexei Vyssotski
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
Contact: Dr. Samuel Verges
Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM), 101 rue de Tolbiac, 75654 Paris, France
Funded by
L''Agence nationale de la recherche, 50 avenue Daumesnil , 75012 Paris, France
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