Photo of a young dormouse in a nestbox [Link 1]

The common dormouse is native to Europe and lives predominantly in forest habitat. Here a juvenile dormouse in a nestbox. (Photo: Stefan Stumpfel / Vetmeduni Vienna)

The power of the power nap – Scientists uncover secrets of hibernation

For hibernating mammals, the pre-winter months are a race against time to accumulate enough energy reserves to last until spring. Offspring born late in the year have much less time to achieve this. Sylvain Giroud and colleagues from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology at the Vetmeduni Vienna have discovered that power-napping can help late-born garden dormice overcome these unfavourable odds. The scientists also found a link between time spent at higher temperatures and ageing. The results were published in the Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B [Link 2].

More info [Link 3]

(Web editor, 10 November 2014)

Photo of the award-winning poster [Link 4]

The award-winning poster

DZG prize for best poster in the ecology category

During its 107th annual meeting the German Zoological Society (DZG) awarded the prize for best poster in the ecology category to Jessica Cornils, doctoral student at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology.  The poster  "RFID-reader is watching you: measuring activity patterns in freeliving edible dormise (Glis glis) [Link 5]" describes research being undertaken for the project on predation risk, stress, and life history tactics of edible dormice. [Link 6]  We are happy for her.

(Web editor, 22 September 2014)

Portrait photo of Dr. Sylvain Giroud

Dr. Sylvain Giroud

New FWF Project on "Effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids on hibernation and ageing" approved

Hibernators save energy by substantially decreasing metabolic rate and body temperature, but spend  about 80% of their energy expenditure to repeatedly warm up during winter. However, the function of these arousals remains a mystery.  A new project under the leadership of Sylvain Giroud will examine some of the physiological/metabolic processes, notably those affected by polyunsaturated fatty acids, of hibernating garden dormice.  Polyunsaturated fatty acids are known to be one of the main factors affecting the time hibernators can stay in torpor.  The project (P 27267), which was recently approved, is financed by the Austrian science Fund (FWF) [Link 7] and will run from 1 September 2014  to 31 August 2017. 

(Web editor, 5 September 2014)



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