When the tap runs dry: The physiological effects of acute experimental dehydration in the desert adapted mouse


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Availability of essential resources is one of the most important drivers of survival and to persist in changing environments, animals must either relocate or adapt in place. Physiology often represents one of the first lines of defense against changing environments, as physiology is dynamic, reversible, and often happens in real-time. Animals living in desert environments are hypothesized to be physiologically adapted to extreme temperatures and aridity, and therefore represent an interesting natural experimental model to examine processes important to adaptation. High ambient temperatures and lack of extrinsic water challenge mammalian survival, as most mammals rely on total evaporative water loss for cooling. Historically, metabolism was studied under constant environmental conditions with snapshot measurements, but new methods of continuous metabolic phenotyping offer a window into organismal responses to dynamic environments, enabling the identification of abiotic controls and the timing of physiological responses relative to environmental transitions. We use indirect calorimetry to characterize metabolic responses of the desert-adapted cactus mouse (Peromyscus eremicus) to examine the role water access has in whole-organism performance. We contrast metabolic responses of animals consuming water ad libitum to animals experiencing acute experimental dehydration to investigate circadian patterns of metabolism across time, sex, and water treatment with a specific interest in the hydration status, organismal water economies, physiological and biochemical changes.


First Name Last Name
Danielle Blumstein
Matthew MacManes

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Submission Details

Conference GRC
Event Graduate Research Conference
Department Molecular and Evolutionary Systems Biology (GRC)
Group Poster Presentation
Added April 7, 2022, 11:13 a.m.
Updated April 12, 2022, 8:50 a.m.
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