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Dietary fatty acids and natural hibernation in alpine marmots

Abstract
This research project investigated with free-living alpine marmots whether essential fatty acids (EFA) are a limiting factor in the natural habitat, which effects they have on hi-bernation, whether they influence diet selection of marmots, and how these substances are used in the body. Feeding experiments in the laboratory suggested that hibernators fed with a diet rich in EFAs had lower energy expenditure. However, these experiments primar-ily investigated the role of linoleic acid (18:2n-6), particularly high or low concentrations had been supplied. Hence the role of a-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) remained unclear as well as whether the effects of 18:2n-6 found in the laboratory had any ecological relevance. Temperature sensitive radio transmitters were implanted into the peritoneal cavity of 57 marmots and the course of their body temperature was registered. Other marmots were observed while foraging four times a year in summer, and subsequently shot by game war-dens. The stomach content of these animals was analysed botanically and chemically and compared with the available food plants. For analysis of fatty acid composition fat samples were obtained from all shot and captured marmots.Our field study performed in the Swiss Canton Grisons supports the findings of the laboratories: The higher the content of 18:2n-6 in a marmot's fat was, the deeper sank body temperature during bouts of hibernation and the longer lasted individual bouts, what became evident in a lower body mass loss. However, 18:3n-3 had rather nega-tive effects on that deep hibernation. Marmots achieved enrichment of 18:2n-6 through selective feeding. Preferred food plants were characterised by high content of 18:2n-6, but low content of 18:3n-3. The significance of 18:2n-6 can be assumed in its usage as element in cell membranes ensuring proper membrane function at low body temperatures. Whereas 18:3n-3 may produce toxic radicals, this EFA was apparently avoided as much as possible.
Statistik Austria science classification
405005         Wildlife science
Project leader
Arnold Walter
Duration
01.04.98-30.09.01
Type of Research
Applied research
Vetmed Research Units
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology
Projekt partner
Jagd- und Fischereiinspektorat des Kantons Graubünden
Funded by
FWF - Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung, Sensengasse 1, 1090 Wien, Austria
21 Publications

Arnold, W; Kim, PY; Allen, KGD; Florant, GL (2012): Seasonal variation in brain prostaglandin D2 and E2 of marmots and n-6 fatty acid availability. IN: Ruf, T [Hrsg.]: Living in a seasonal world: thermoregulatory and metabolic adaptations. Heidelberg, Springer, pp. 531-542. ISBN: 978-3-642-28677-3.

Arnold, W (2005): Eiszeitgesellen. öffentlicher Vortrag zum Abschluss des Murmeltierprojektes, Avers, Schweiz, Switzerland, 13.08.2005. öffentlicher Vortrag zum Abschluss des Murmeltierprojektes, Avers, Schweiz, 13.08.2005.

Arnold, W (2004): Timing of periodic arousals in naturally hibernating alpine marmots polyunsaturated fatty acids as possible pacemakers of metabolism. European Summerschool on Chronobiology , Groningen, Holland, 02.06.2004. European Summerschool on Chronobiology , Groningen, Holland, 02.06.2004.

Arnold, W; Bruns, U; Frey-Roos, F; Ruf, T (2003): Dietary fatty acids and natural hibernation in alpine marmots. IN: Ramousse, R; Allainé, D; Le Berre, M [Hrsg.]: Adaptive strategies and diversity in marmots. Lyon, International Marmot Network Publisher, pp. 12-13.

Frey-Roos, F (2003): Long- and short-distance dispersal in subordinate alpine Marmots (Marmota marmota). IN: Ramousse, R; Allainé, D; Le Berre, M [Hrsg.]: Adaptive strategies and diversity in marmots. Lyon, International Marmot Network Publisher, pp. 60-61.

Bruns, U; Frey-Roos, F; Tataruch, F; Arnold, W (2003): Seasonal changes in adipose tissue triglyceride and organ phospholipid composition in free-living alpine marmots. IN: Ramousse, R; Allainé, D; Le Berre, M [Hrsg.]: Adaptive strategies and diversity in marmots. Lyon, International Marmot Network Publisher, pp. 30-31.

Zenker, W; Beiglböck, C; Janovsky, M (2003): Anesthesia-Induced Hypothermia in Alpine Marmots (Marmota marmota). 41. Internationales Symposium über die Erkrankungen der Zoo- und Wildtiere, Rome, Italy, Italy, May 28 - June 01, 2003. Erkrankungen der Zootiere. Verhandlungsbericht des Internationalen Symposiums über die Erkrankungen der Zoo- und Wildtiere 249-255.

Frey-Roos, F (2003): Fettleibigkeit ist ihre Richtlinie. Gönnerveranstaltung des Wildparks Peter und Paul, St. Gallen, 4.11.2003. Gönnerveranstaltung des Wildparks Peter und Paul, St. Gallen, 4.11.2003.

Frey-Roos, F (2001): Zum Artikel: Winterschläfer und schlichte Penner. Schweizer Jäger (2001), 3 50-50.

Arnold, W; Bruns, U; Frey-Roos, F; Ruf, T (2003): Dietary fatty acids and natural hibernation in alpine marmots. 4th European Congress of Mammalogy, Brno, 28.7.2003. 4th European Congress of Mammalogy, Brno, 28.7.2003.

Bruns, U; Frey-Roos, F; Pudritz, S; Tataruch, F; Ruf, T; Arnold, W (2000): Essential fatty acids: their impact on free-living alpine marmots (Marmota marmota). IN: Heldmaier, G [Hrsg.]: Life in the Cold IV. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, Springer, pp. 215-220.

Arnold, W (2002): Ernährung und Winterschlaf bei frei lebenden Alpenmurmeltieren. Symposium der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft Graubünden, Chur, Schweiz, Switzerland, 8.11.2002. Symposium der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft Graubünden, Chur, Schweiz, 8.11.2002.

Arnold, W (2002): Dietary fatty acids and natural hibernation in alpine marmots. 4th International Conference on genus marmota, Montreux, Schweiz, Switzerland, 14.-17.9.2002. 4th International Conference on genus marmota, Montreux, Schweiz, 14.-17.9.2002.

Arnold, W (2002): Selektive Aufnahme mehrfach ungesättigter Fettsäuren durch Murmeltiere und deren Bedeutung für den Winterschlaf. Institut für Ernährung, Universität Wien, Austria, 20.6.2002. Institut für Ernährung, Universität Wien, 20.6.2002.

Zenker,W (2002): Murmeltieroperationen in der Alphütte. Symposium der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft Graubünden, Chur, Schweiz, Switzerland, 8.11.2002. Symposium der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft Graubünden, Chur, Schweiz, 8.11.2002.

Zenker,W (2002): Murmeltiere und ihr Winterschlaf. Verein der Freunde des Tiergartens Schönbrunn, Wien, Austria, 10.7.2002. Verein der Freunde des Tiergartens Schönbrunn, Wien, 10.7.2002.

Zenker,W (2002): Different methods of anaesthesia in alpine marmots (Marmota marmota). 4th International Conference on genus marmota, Montreux, Schweiz, Switzerland, 16.9.2002. 4th International Conference on genus marmota, Montreux, Schweiz, 16.9.2002.

Bruns, U (2002): The effect of essential fatty acid uptake on hibernation and energy requirement in alpine marmots living under natural conditions. Dissertation, Univ. Wien, pp. 96.

Frey-Roos, A (2002): Ökophysiologische Methoden in der aktuellen Wildforschung - Beispiel Murmeltierprojekt Schweiz. Wildbiologische Exkursion des Arbeitsbereichs Wildökologie und Jagdwissenschaft, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (Deutschland), Mathon, Schweiz,, Switzerland, 10.5.2002. Wildbiologische Exkursion des Arbeitsbereichs Wildökologie und Jagdwissenschaft, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (Deutschland), Mathon, Schweiz,, 10.5.2002.

Beiglböck, Ch (2002): In der Kälte wird Vieles kleiner - unerwartete Organveränderungen beim Alpenmurmeltier. Symposium der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft Graubünden , Chur, 8.11.2002. Symposium der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft Graubünden , Chur, 8.11.2002.

Hume, D; Beiglböck, C; Ruf, T; Frey-Roos, F; Bruns, U; Arnold, W (2002): Seasonal changes in morphology and function of the gastrointestinal tract of free-living alpine marmots ( Marmota marmota). J Comp Physiol B. 2002; 172(3):197-207

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