Navigation Links
New clues found linking larger animals to colder climates
Date:2/24/2010

HOUSTON, Feb. 24, 2010 Thanks to a pair of University of Houston researchers who found a possible new solution to a 163-year-old puzzle, ecological factors can now be added to physiology to explain why animals grow bigger in the cold.

Their results were published in the February issue of the American Naturalist, offering new insight to Bergmann's rule that animals grow larger at high, cold latitudes than their counterparts closer to the equator. While traditional explanations have been based on body temperature being the driving force of this phenomenon, this group of community ecologists hypothesize that better food makes high-latitude animals bigger.

Chuan-Kai Ho, a Ph.D. graduate from UH in ecology and evolution, his adviser and UH professor of biology and biochemistry Steven Pennings, and their collaborator Thomas Carefoot from the University of British Columbia opened up a new line of study into Bergmann's rule. The research program in Pennings' lab over the last decade has offered the most extensive work done on the general problem of latitudinal variation in plant-herbivore interactions. This latest finding from Pennings' groundbreaking research at UH on this subject came from one of Ho's doctoral dissertation chapters.

"Because the American Naturalist is one of the top journals in our field, publishing at this level is a mark of great success for a Ph.D. student," Pennings said. "It's also a reflection of the strength of our graduate program in the ecology and evolution division of UH's department of biology and biochemistry."

Ho, now a postdoctoral student at Texas A&M at Galveston's Armitage & Quigg Laboratory, also has another chapter from his UH dissertation on salt marsh food webs published in Ecology, another top journal in the field. Pennings received a doctoral dissertation improvement grant for Ho in 2007-2008 from the National Science Foundation that provided funding for Ho to run chemical analyses on leaves from different latitudes to assess their nutritional content.

Studying three different plant-eating species grasshoppers, planthoppers and sea snails collected from along the Atlantic coast to Japan, respectively, the researchers fed these herbivores plants from both high and low latitudes and found that they all grew better when fed plants from the higher latitudes. This indicates that Bergmann's rule could reflect that plants from high latitudes provide better food than those from low latitudes. These latest findings, according to Ho, indicate that studies of Bergmann's rule should consider ecological interactions in addition to the more traditional theories of physiology based on responses to temperature.

Over the years, work in Pennings' lab has shown that, although low-latitude plants are less nutritious and better protected by chemical defenses, they experience heavy damage from herbivores, which are more abundant at low latitudes. Future study, Pennings adds, should focus on why there are more herbivores at lower latitudes despite the lower-quality food sources. A likely explanation is that herbivore populations are limited at high latitudes by a short growing season and high death rates during cold winters.

"While the explanations discovered in our current study only apply to herbivores, it may be that carnivores and omnivores also might grow larger as a consequence of eating larger herbivores," Ho said. "Examining such patterns and underlying mechanisms in nature will help us understand what currently is going on and what might happen down the line to our ecosystems."


'/>"/>

Contact: Lisa Merkl
lkmerkl@uh.edu
713-743-8192
University of Houston
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Investigators uncover intriguing clues to why persistent acid reflux sometimes turns into cancer
2. Online Epidemic Gives Clues to Bird Flu Spread
3. New knock-out gene model provides molecular clues to breast cancer
4. New clues to breast cancer development in high-risk women
5. Clues to Cell Death Could Fight Disease
6. Genes Give Clues to Newborn Lung Disease
7. Mouse Study Gives Clues to Colitis
8. VivoMetrics LifeShirt Going to South Pole to Uncover Clues to High-Altitude Illness
9. Protein Gives Clues to Pancreatic Cancer
10. A longer-living, healthier mouse that could hold clues to human aging
11. Clues to ensuring anti-HIV drugs are taken in Africa
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
New clues found linking larger animals to colder climates
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping ... fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading the fitness ... size fits all type program , They don’t eliminate all the reasons people ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Viejo, California (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... to fit their specific project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. ... fully customizable and all within Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the ... In terms of the latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, ... just slow progress toward their goal. , Research from PsychTests.com reveals ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) ... will receive two significant new grants to support its work to advance research ... anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work in fighting ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. ... magazine’s Code Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and their families pay ... be presented at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... and INDIANAPOLIS , June ... receiving a Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship is any ... scholarship winners, announced today online at www.diabetesscholars.org ... type 1 diabetes stand in the way of academic ... supported the Foundation,s scholarship program since 2012, and continues ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Guerbet announced today that it has been named a ... One of 12 suppliers to receive the ... of Premier members through exceptional local customer service and ... lower costs. "We ... customer service from Premier," says Massimo Carrara , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Experian Health, the healthcare industry ... patient payment and care experience, today announced ... and services that will enhance the breadth ... These award-winning solutions will enable healthcare professionals ... in an ever-changing environment and redefine front-office ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: