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Biology Department Seminar

When: Friday, October 1, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Where: > See description for location
Description: Location: LARTS 108
Speaker: Danielle Levesque, University of Maine

Title: Endotherms and thermal performance: What thermoregulatory phenotypes can tell us about mammals and climate

Abstract: Research in my lab combines comparative physiology, ecology and evolutionary biology. We seek to understand how rigidity or flexibility in metabolism and body temperature regulation affects the energetics of a species, and how their evolutionary history has shaped these patterns. Despite a large body of knowledge on the thermoregulation of temperate and cold-climate endotherms, our functional knowledge of endotherms in warmer climates remains incredibly scarce. In particular, their use of facultative heterothermy, lowering or raising body temperatures to conserve energy and/or water, has been chronically understudied. Small endotherms (< 5 kg) are often assumed to live predominantly at temperatures below thermoneutrality. Tropical and subtropical mammals, however, routinely experience temperatures above the lower critical limit of the thermoneutral zone. Therefore, unlike temperate species that must consistently generate heat to maintain an elevated body temperature, low latitude species spend more time at thermoneutrality and therefore can spend the energy elsewhere. As well as providing a general overview of some of the forms of heterothermy observed in warm climates, I will discuss the costs and benefits of the body temperature variability in warm climates, the evolution of homeothermy in mammals and the links (or lack thereof) between basal metabolic rates and life histories in mammals

For more information, please contact Dr. Genny Kozak, Biology Seminar Series Coordinator, at
Contact: Biology Seminar Series 508.999.8248
Topical Areas: Faculty, Students, Graduate, Students, Undergraduate, Biology