Date of Award

Summer 8-22-2019

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Zoology

Advisor

Danielle Levesque

Second Committee Member

Michelle Goody

Third Committee Member

Olivier Putzeys

Abstract

Thermoregulation of animals is becoming an increasingly important field as climate change begins to affect ambient temperature and precipitation. Understanding animals’ thermoregulatory properties allows us to monitor potentially vulnerable species. For my thesis, I examined the thermoregulation of Peromyscus and Mus musculus using flow-through respirometry and thermal imaging. The original goal was to create a working model for thermoregulation in Peromyscus leucopus and maniculatus but, due to lack of specimens, I examined lab mice as a comparison. Some information was already known from earlier studies and the present study aimed to update physiological information on mice. I hypothesized that higher temperatures would lead to increases metabolic rate and water loss and that the tail would be a major contributor to the radiative heat loss. Mice were placed in respirometry chambers at temperatures of 25, 30, and 35°C. At 25°C, the animals displayed the highest metabolic rate and evaporative water loss likely due to an increased level of activity. Due to high activity at the beginning of the experiment, data from 25°C were omitted from the analyses. The highest evaporative water loss for both lab and field mice was at 35°C. Field mice also had the highest metabolic rate at 35°C. However, lab mice displayed an almost equivalent metabolic rate at 30°C and 35°C. The tail did not dissipate as much heat as the back of the mouse, indicating that the tail may only play a secondary role in thermoregulation or heat dissipation at higher temperatures.

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