Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Lizard moms may prepare their babies for a stressful world

April 20, 2012
Stressed out lizard moms tend to give their developing embryos short shrift, but the hardship may ultimately be a good thing for the babies once they're born, according to a study published in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.

Stress changes the way animals allocate energy. During predator attacks or food shortages, hormones are released that help the body to access stored energy. But for pregnant females there's a potential trade-off. Stress hormones could rob precious energy from developing embryos, leading to offspring that aren't as healthy.

A research team led by Erik Wapstra of the University of Tasmania, Australia, tested the effects of stress on southern grass skinks, which, unlike many lizards, give birth to live young rather than laying eggs.

In the lab, the researchers recreated the physiology of a stressful situation by artificially raising levels of the stress hormone corticosterone in pregnant skinks. Other skinks had their food intake limited, recreating the stress of a food shortage. The team then measured the health of the stressed mothers and their eventual offspring, and compared their state to mothers and offspring that weren't under stress.

The study found that stressed moms gave birth to smaller offspring that grew more slowly than those born to low-stress mothers. Stressed mothers themselves were found to be in better physical shape after giving birth than non-stressed mothers. That's a signal that when stressors are present, mothers tend to allocate energy to self-preservation first.

Despite seemingly getting the short end of the stick, the news wasn't all bad for offspring of stressed mothers. "We found that small offspring had larger fat reserves relative to body size-, which may enhance offspring survival in a stressful post-natal environment," the researchers write. Previous studies have also shown that smaller juvenile lizards often do better when predator density is high or when food availability is low.

It appears that a mother's stress-induced selfishness may actually help to pre-adapt her babies for a stressful world.

###

Keisuke Itonaga, Susan M. Jones, and Erik Wapstra, "Do Gravid Females Become Selfish? Female Allocation of Energy during Gestation." Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 85:3 (May/June 2012).

Physiological and Biochemical Zoology primarily publishes original research papers in animal physiology and biochemistry with a specific emphasis on studies that address the ecological and/or evolutionary aspects of physiological and biochemical mechanisms. Studies at all levels of biological organization from the molecular to the whole organism are welcome, and work that integrates levels of organization to address important questions in behavioral, ecological, evolutionary or comparative physiology is particularly encouraged.

University of Chicago Press Journals


Related Physiological Biochemical Zoology Current Events and Physiological Biochemical Zoology News Articles


Summertime cholesterol consumption key for wintertime survival for Siberian hamsters
Increasingly, scientific findings indicate that an organism's diet affects more than just general health and body condition.

Energy requirements make Antarctic fur seal pups vulnerable to climate change
A new study suggests that climate change could pose a risk for Antarctic fur seals in their first few months of life.

Here's venom in your eye: Spitting cobras hit their mark
Spitting cobras have an exceptional ability to spray venom into eyes of potential attackers. A new study published in Physiological and Biochemical Zoology reveals how these snakes maximize their chances of hitting the target.

Study shows hibernating bears conserve more muscle strength than humans on bed rest do
A fascinating new study from the May/June 2007 issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology quantifiably measures the loss of strength and endurance in black bears during long periods of hibernation.
More Physiological Biochemical Zoology Current Events and Physiological Biochemical Zoology News Articles

Biochemical Adaptation: Mechanism and Process in Physiological Evolution

Biochemical Adaptation: Mechanism and Process in Physiological Evolution
by Peter W. Hochachka (Author), George N. Somero (Author)


The study of biochemical adaption provides fascinating insights into how organisms "work" and how they evolve to sustain physiological function under a vast array of environmental conditions. This book describes how the abilities of organisms to thrive in widely different environments derive from two fundamental classes of biochemical adaptions: modifications of core biochemical processes that allow a common set of physiological functions to be conserved, and "inventions" of new biochemical traits that allow entry into novel habitats. Biochemical Adaptation: Mechanisms and Process in Physiological Evolution asks two primary questions. First, how have the core biochemical systems found in all species been adaptively modified to allow the same fundamental types of physiological processes to...

Textbook of Veterinary Physiological Chemistry, Third Edition

Textbook of Veterinary Physiological Chemistry, Third Edition
by Larry R. Engelking (Author)


Bridging the gap between basic and clinical science concepts, the Textbook of Veterinary Physiological Chemistry, Third Edition offers broad coverage of biochemical principles for students and practitioners of veterinary medicine. The only recent biochemistry book written specifically for the veterinary field, this text covers cellular-level concepts related to whole-body physiologic processes in a reader-friendly, approachable manner. Each chapter is written in a succinct and concise style that includes an overview summary section, numerous illustrations for best comprehension of the subject matter, targeted learning objectives, and end of the chapter study questions to assess understanding. With new illustrations and an instructor website with updated PowerPoint images, the Textbook of...

  Living in the Cold: Physiology and Biochemical Adaptations
by H. Craig Heller (Author)


This collection of authoritative papers presents significant findings in the physiology of human and animal responses to acute cold. International experts review information based on studies ranging from recent investigations in molecular biology to environmental ecology. The contributors examine the comparative physiology of cold acclimation and cold adaptation and address a variety of important topics, including thermoregulation, neural and endocrine aspects of hibernation and seasonal cycles, and hypothermia. The papers in this volume are derived from the proceedings of the seventh international symposium Natural Mammalian Hibernation, held October 6-11, 1985, in Fallen Leaf Lake, California.

Physiological Ecology: How Animals Process Energy, Nutrients, and Toxins

Physiological Ecology: How Animals Process Energy, Nutrients, and Toxins
by William H. Karasov (Author), Carlos Martínez del Rio (Author)


Unlocking the puzzle of how animals behave and how they interact with their environments is impossible without understanding the physiological processes that determine their use of food resources. But long overdue is a user-friendly introduction to the subject that systematically bridges the gap between physiology and ecology. Ecologists--for whom such knowledge can help clarify the consequences of global climate change, the biodiversity crisis, and pollution--often find themselves wading through an unwieldy, technically top-heavy literature. Here, William Karasov and Carlos Martínez del Rio present the first accessible and authoritative one-volume overview of the physiological and biochemical principles that shape how animals procure energy and nutrients and free themselves of...

Nutrition for Sport and Exercise

Nutrition for Sport and Exercise
by Marie Dunford (Author), J. Andrew Doyle (Author)


Insightful, well-organized, and clearly written, NUTRITION FOR SPORT AND EXERCISE, 3rd Edition, integrates nutrition and exercise physiology principles, emphasizing scientific reasoning and examining research studies to illuminate the evidence for current nutritional recommendations. In addition, the text helps you translate these nutrition recommendations to specific plans for the appropriate amount and type of foods, beverages, and/or supplements to support training, performance, and recovery. The authors carefully illustrate the links between exercise, nutrition, and, the ultimate goals: optimal performance and health.

Nutritional Sciences: From Fundamentals to Food (with Table of Food Composition Booklet)

Nutritional Sciences: From Fundamentals to Food (with Table of Food Composition Booklet)
by Michelle McGuire (Author), Kathy A. Beerman (Author)


Crystal Clear Science + Compelling Applications = A Balanced Program for Teaching and Learning In a concise format, NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES: FROM FUNDAMENTALS TO FOOD, 3/e clearly explains the scientific principles underlying nutrition while incorporating applications to promote a complete understanding of core concepts. This integrated approach provides a strong science foundation in a context relevant to students' daily lives and their careers. Supported by an impressive visual design, engaging case studies and interactive digital resources, NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES offers a unique, balanced program for teaching and learning.

Animal Physiology: From Genes to Organisms

Animal Physiology: From Genes to Organisms
by Lauralee Sherwood (Author), Hillar Klandorf (Author), Paul Yancey (Author)


Keep up with today's rapid advances in the biological sciences with ANIMAL PHYSIOLOGY: FROM GENES TO ORGANISMS 2E with CourseMate! With coverage of animal species that will be relevant to your animal-related career, this biology text provides you with the tools you need to succeed. Boxes found throughout the text such as Molecular Biology and Genomics, Beyond the Basics, Challenges and Controversies, Unanswered Questions, and A Closer Look at Adaptation give you examples of cutting-edge research and help you see how what you are learning applies to the real world. Check Your Understanding questions after each major section help you review the main ideas as you read. Each chapter then ends with a Chapter Summary, a set of Review, Synthesize, and Analyze questions, and a list of Suggested...

Mammalogy (Jones & Bartlett Learning Titles in Biological Science)

Mammalogy (Jones & Bartlett Learning Titles in Biological Science)
by Terry A. Vaughan (Author), James M. Ryan (Author), Nicholas J. Czaplewski (Author)


Mammalogy is the study of mammals from the diverse biological viewpoints of structure, function, evolutionary history, behavior, ecology, classification, and economics. Thoroughly updated, the Sixth Edition of Mammalogy explains and clarifies the subject as a unified whole. The text begins by defining mammals and summarizing their origins. It moves on to discuss the orders and families of mammals with comprehensive coverage on the fossil history, current distribution, morphological characteristics, and basic behavior and ecology of each family of mammals. The third part of the text progresses to discuss special topics such as mammalian echolocation, physiology, behavior, ecology, and zoogeography. The text concludes with two additional chapters, previously available online, that cover...

The Insects: An Outline of Entomology

The Insects: An Outline of Entomology
by P. J. Gullan (Author), P. S. Cranston (Author)


Insects represent over half of the planet s biological diversity. This popular textbook provides a comprehensive introduction to this extraordinary diversity, and places entomology central to the theory and practice of evolutionary and ecological studies. Fully revised, this fifth edition opens with a chapter concerning the popular side of insect studies, including insects in citizen science, zoos and butterfly houses, and insects as food for humans and animals. Key features of insect structure, function, behaviour, ecology and classification are integrated with appropriate molecular studies. Much of the book is organized around major biological themes: living on the ground, in water, on plants, in colonies, and as predators, parasites/parasitoids and prey insects. A strong...

Perspectives on Animal Behavior

Perspectives on Animal Behavior
by Judith Goodenough (Author), Betty McGuire (Author), Elizabeth Jakob (Author)


Perspectives on Animal Behavior introduces biologists and psychologists to the scientific reasoning and methodology in the field while also addressing development and mechanisms. Rather than just focusing on evolutionary behavior, the book presents a variety of different perspectives including genetics, neurological, learning, and behavioral ecology. The third edition walks them through experimentation and data analysis, which are critical in the field. It includes classical studies that form the foundation of this field but concentrates on more current work in order to present the thinking and experiments. Biologists and psychologists will then gain a modern understanding of animal behavior.

© 2015 BrightSurf.com