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Research in this group focuses on physiology. We try to understand how physiological mechanisms and limitations determine the life cycle strategies of animals. Our physiological research focuses on the energy metabolism of mammals and birds and its adaptation to environmental conditions.

A central topic of our research work are mechanisms of seasonal acclimatization of animals. These include seasonal adjustments in energy expenditure, heart rate, body temperature, and the size and function of organs in a variety of animal species, from small mammals to elephants. In a second, related focus, we investigate mechanisms and physiological limitations that determine extremely low metabolic rates, e.g. B. in deep hibernation, as well as phases of sustained high energy consumption, as occurs in lactating females, for example.

These research fields inevitably lead to questions about food ecology. In this context, we are particularly interested in dietary components that could represent limited resources, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids. We also research animals' abilities to cope with external and internal stressors, and how animal physiological responses affect their longevity and reproductive success.

Our main animal models include hibernators (marmots, dormice), hares and rabbits, and large ungulates (deer, chamois, ibex, and wild boar), which are studied both in the field and in enclosures.

Many of our studies ask about the genetic basis of physiological traits, in which we collaborate with our ecological genetics group . Just as often, we cooperate with our research group for applied ecology and wildlife medicine, especially since physiological characteristics, such as nutritional needs and food preferences, can have a strong impact on wildlife management measures. In addition, our research relies on our in-house service departments, such as the chemistry lab (tissue and nutrient analysis) and the biomedical engineering lab, which develops custom biotelemetry devices, which are essential for the telemetric monitoring of physiological metrics in wild animals.