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Selected Publication:

Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 1991

Authors: Arnold, W; Heldmaier, G; Ortmann, S; Pohl, H; Ruf, T; Steinlechner, S

Title: Ambient temperatures in hibernacula and their energetic consequences for alpine marmots (Marmota marmota).

Source: Journal of Thermal Biology (16), 4 223-226.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Arnold Walter
Ruf Thomas

Temperatures inside natural winter burrows of alpine marmots (T(bur)) dropped exponentially throughout the hibernation season from about 12-degrees-C in autumn to almost 0-degrees-C in spring. Laboratory measurements of oxygen consumption (VO2) showed that torpid marmots have minimal energy expenditure at ambient temperatures (T(a)) above 5-degrees-C. Metabolism increased with decreasing T(a) below 5-degrees-C. At T(a) almost-equal-to 0-degrees-C, VO2 was already four times higher than the minimal value. T(bur) was below 5-degrees-C for about two thirds of the hibernation season. The more animals hibernated together in a burrow, the latter T(bur) fell below this critical threshold. Hence, overwintering conditions in the natural habitat are severe for the animals, but mitigated by social hibernation.

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