Hibernation patterns in mammals: a role for bacterial growth?
Article first published online: 9 JUN 2006
© 2006 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2006 British Ecological Society
Volume 20, Issue 3, pages 471–477, June 2006
How to Cite
LUIS, A. D. and HUDSON, P. J. (2006), Hibernation patterns in mammals: a role for bacterial growth?. Functional Ecology, 20: 471–477. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2006.01119.x
- Issue published online: 9 JUN 2006
- Article first published online: 9 JUN 2006
- Received 22 November 2005; revised 2 March 2006; accepted 9 March 2006Editor: Prof. Brian McNab
- European Ground Squirrel;
- periodic arousal;
- torpor bout length
- 1To examine the hypothesis that stimulation of immune function plays a role in periodic arousal from hibernation, bacterial growth during hibernation was estimated using a simple mathematical model of the general dynamics of bacterial abundance at body temperatures experienced during hibernation.
- 2In the model, periodic arousals were important for animals infected with Salmonella at body temperatures above 7 °C, but not below. In contrast, periodic arousals appeared to be important at all temperatures examined when infected with several species of coliform bacteria and Pseudomonas, species that grow well at low temperatures.
- 3The modelled outputs were compared with torpor patterns seen in captive European Ground Squirrels, Spermophilus citellus, under natural light and temperature conditions. We used maximum likelihood to estimate model parameters and show that the six bacterial species examined are consistent with the immune stimulation hypothesis.
- 4Our analyses suggest that bacterial infection could be a selective force on torpor behaviour and warrants further experimental investigation.