Energy intake and utilisation by nursing bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) pups from Svalbard, Norway.
ABSTRACT In this study we measure energy intake via milk in nursing bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) pups and determine how this energy is allocated into metabolism and storage of new tissues. This was accomplished using longitudinal mass gain records and the doubly labelled water technique on nursing pups in combination with cross-sectional data on changes in milk composition from bearded seal mothers. The pups (n = 3) were all less than a week old at the start of the experiments. Pups gained 3.3 +/- 0.4 kg.day-1 of which 50% was fat, 14% protein and 36% water. Average daily water influx for the pups was 69.5 +/- 9.0 ml.kg-1. day-1. Average CO2 production during the study period was 0.99 +/- 0.10 ml.g-1.h-1, which corresponds to a field metabolic rate of 642 +/- 67 kJ.kg-1. day-1, or 6.0 +/- 0.5 times the predicted basal metabolic rate according to Kleiber (1975). The pups drank an average of 7.6 +/- 0.5 kg of milk daily. This corresponds to a daily energy intake of 154 +/- 8 MJ, 47 +/- 14% of which was stored as new body tissue. Despite this high energy intake bearded seal pups do not get as fat as do other nursing phocids. This is in part due to their larger body size but also due to their very active aquatic lifestyle and the lower and more consistent fat content of the milk compared to other phocid species. Bearded seal mothers forage during lactation and may also be involved in teaching their pups to feed independently. All these data suggest that the lactation strategy of bearded seals differs from the phocid norm.
Article: Visual neurotransmission in Drosophila requires expression of Fic in glial capitate projections.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Fic domains can catalyze the addition of adenosine monophosphate to target proteins. To date, the function of Fic domain proteins in eukaryotic physiology remains unknown. We generated genetic models of the single Drosophila Fic domain–containing protein, Fic. Flies lacking Fic were viable and fertile, but blind. Photoreceptor cells depolarized normally following light stimulation, but failed to activate postsynaptic neurons, as indicated by the loss of ON transients in electroretinograms, consistent with a neurotransmission defect. Functional rescue of neurotransmission required expression of enzymatically active Fic on capitate projections of glia cells, but not neurons, supporting a role in the recycling of the visual neurotransmitter histamine. Histamine levels were reduced in the lamina of Fic null flies, and dietary histamine partially restored ON transients. These findings establish a previously unknown regulatory mechanism in visual neurotransmission and provide, to the best of our knowledge, the first evidence for a role of glial capitate projections in neurotransmitter recycling.Nature Neuroscience 04/2012; 15(6):871-5. · 15.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The escape swim response of the marine mollusc Tritonia diomedea is a well-established model system for studies of the neural basis of behavior. Although the swim neural network is reasonably well understood, little is known about the transmitters used by its constituent neurons. In the present study, we provide immunocytochemical and electrophysiological evidence that the S-cells, the afferent neurons that detect aversive skin stimuli and in turn trigger Tritonia's escape swim response, use glutamate as their transmitter. First, immunolabeling revealed that S-cell somata contain elevated levels of glutamate compared to most other neurons in the Tritonia brain, consistent with findings from glutamatergic neurons in many species. Second, pressure-applied puffs of glutamate produced the same excitatory response in the target neurons of the S-cells as the naturally released S-cell transmitter itself. Third, the glutamate receptor antagonist CNQX completely blocked S-cell synaptic connections. These findings support glutamate as a transmitter used by the S-cells, and will facilitate studies using this model system to explore a variety of issues related to the neural basis of behavior.Biological Bulletin 05/2009; 216(2):103-12. · 1.70 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Changing patterns of sea-ice distribution and extent have measurable effects on polar marine systems. Beyond the obvious impacts of key-habitat loss, it is unclear how such changes will influence ice-associated marine mammals in part because of the logistical difficulties of studying foraging behaviour or other aspects of the ecology of large, mobile animals at sea during the polar winter. This study investigated the diet of pregnant bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) during three spring breeding periods (2005, 2006 and 2007) with markedly contrasting ice conditions in Svalbard using stable isotopes (δ(13)C and δ(15)N) measured in whiskers collected from their newborn pups. The δ(15)N values in the whiskers of individual seals ranged from 11.95 to 17.45 ‰, spanning almost 2 full trophic levels. Some seals were clearly dietary specialists, despite the species being characterised overall as a generalist predator. This may buffer bearded seal populations from the changes in prey distributions lower in the marine food web which seems to accompany continued changes in temperature and ice cover. Comparisons with isotopic signatures of known prey, suggested that benthic gastropods and decapods were the most common prey. Bayesian isotopic mixing models indicated that diet varied considerably among years. In the year with most fast-ice (2005), the seals had the greatest proportion of pelagic fish and lowest benthic invertebrate content, and during the year with the least ice (2006), the seals ate more benthic invertebrates and less pelagic fish. This suggests that the seals fed further offshore in years with greater ice cover, but moved in to the fjords when ice-cover was minimal, giving them access to different types of prey. Long-term trends of sea ice decline, earlier ice melt, and increased water temperatures in the Arctic are likely to have ecosystem-wide effects, including impacts on the forage bases of pagophilic seals.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e38307. · 4.09 Impact Factor