Navigation Links
Why bats, rats and cats store different amounts of fat
Date:1/20/2012

Animals differ in the amount of fat they carry around depending on their species, status and sex. However, the causes of much of this variation have been a mystery. The Bristol study shows that many differences can be understood by considering the strategies animals employ to avoid two causes of death: starvation and being killed by predators.

These causes of death often exert opposite pressures on animals, for example, storing lots of fat helps animals survive periods without food but also slows their running and so makes getting caught by a predator more likely. Animals can be stronger to compensate, but the energetic costs of extra muscle mean that the animal would starve quicker during a food shortage.

Led by Dr Andrew Higginson of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences, the researchers used mathematical models to explore how much muscle and fat animals should have in their body to give themselves the best chance of survival. They showed that an important consideration was how much carrying fat increases the energetic costs of movement. The models revealed that the size of this cost influenced whether larger animals should have more fat than smaller animals, or vice versa.

Dr Higginson said: "Our results explain differences between different families of mammal. For example, larger bats carry proportionally less fat than small bats but larger carnivores carry more fat than small carnivores. Among rodents, it's the medium-sized species that carry around the most fat! These differences agree with the models predictions if you consider the costs of carrying fat for these three groups. Bats fly and so have high costs of carrying extra weight, whilst carnivores spend much of their time resting and so will use less energy than busy scurrying rodents."

The work, published in The American Naturalist, also shows that much of the variation between animals in their amounts of fat and muscle can be explained by differences between the sexes, how much animals have to fight to get food, and the climate in which they live.

The researchers plan to put the theory to the test by looking in more detail at the amounts of fat stored by different animals. If their theory is correct, much of the mystery in how species and sexes differ in their amount of fat will have been solved.


'/>"/>
Contact: Hannah Johnson
hannah.johnson@bristol.ac.uk
0044-117-928-8896
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Bats, dolphins, and mole rats inspire advances in ultrasound technology
2. Gene therapy restores vision to mice with retinal degeneration
3. Transplanted fat cells restore function after spinal cord injury
4. An underwater drugstore?
5. Why do women store fat differently from men?
6. Pacific Northwest forests could store more carbon, help address greenhouse issues
7. Researchers restore missing protein in rare genetic brain disorder
8. Prolonged stress sparks ER to release calcium stores and induce cell death in aging-related diseases
9. Green tea component may help preserve stored platelets, tissues
10. Experimental treatments restore partial vision to blind people
11. Artificial muscles restore ability to blink, save eyesight
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, ... the Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... competition will focus on developing health and wellness apps ... Hack the Genome is the first hackathon ... The world,s largest companies in the genomics, tech and ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... 28, 2017 The report "Video ... Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, VMS), and ... Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market ... is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion by 2022, ... The base year considered for the study is 2016 ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... India , March 23, 2017 The report "Gesture ... Touchless Biometric), Industry, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... at a CAGR of 29.63% between 2017 and 2022. ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/20/2017)... Parsippany, NJ (PRWEB) , ... June 20, 2017 , ... ... OHAUS makes the transition from being a trusted supplier in the weighing industry, to ... including cell extractions, ELISA essays, enzyme reactions, immunoassays, hybridizations and more, allowing for ...
(Date:6/19/2017)... , ... June 19, 2017 , ... ... all service activities supporting EDETEK’s products including training, implementation, support, and client process ... his new role. He has previously held leadership roles for service providers and ...
(Date:6/19/2017)... ... June 19, 2017 , ... Tunnell Consulting has been solving ... of the biggest challenges faced by life sciences, biotech and pharmaceuticals companies today is ... Kati Abraham , who is well known in the industry and brings significant ...
(Date:6/16/2017)... Lexington, Massachusetts (PRWEB) , ... June 16, 2017 ... ... in medical device compliance and commercialization, has just announced two more sessions of ... of the series will focus on the world of online templates for design ...
Breaking Biology Technology: