Earth Science News  





. Gazelles Shrink Liver And Heart To Reduce Oxygen Consumption During Drought

There are few sources of drinking water in the desert, so sand gazelles must rely on vegetation for both food and water requirements. Credit: Courtesy Stéphane Ostrowski.
by Staff Writers
Columbus, Ohio (SPX) Jun 13, 2006
How do gazelles and other large desert mammals adjust their physiology to survive when food and water are in short supply? A fascinating new study from the July/August issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology reveals that gazelles in the deserts of Saudi Arabia have evolved the ability to shrink oxygen-demanding organs such as the liver and heart, allowing them to breathe less.

Fewer breaths reduce the amount of water lost to respiratory evaporation during prolonged periods of drought.

"We found that gazelles had the lowest total evaporative water loss ever measured in an arid zone ungulate [hoofed animal]," write Stephane Otrowski (National Wildlife Research Center, Saudi Arabia), Pascal Mesochina (National Wildlife Research Center, Saudi Arabia), and Joseph B. Williams (Ohio State University).

Sand gazelles' livers and hearts--which are important determinants of metabolic rate--decrease significantly in mass during four months of food and water restriction. Conversely, the gut walls, which are responsible in ruminants for 28-46% of whole-body protein synthesis, an energy demanding process, did not decrease significantly in mass. There are few sources of drinking water in the desert, so sand gazelles must rely on vegetation for both food and water requirements.

"The deserts of the Arabian Peninsula are among the most austere of terrestrial environments, with low, unpredictable rainfall, and high ambient temperature," explain the authors. "The sand gazelle has evolved a remarkable capacity to reduce its evaporative water losses, which is likely a component of their success."

Unexpectedly, the researchers also found that deprived sand gazelles had a higher fat content in the brain, revealing that gazelles may store fats in the brain to secure brain metabolism during prolonged food and water deprivation.

Since 1928, Physiological and Biochemical Zoology has presented original, current research in environmental, adaptational, and comparative physiology and biochemistry.

Related Links
Ohio State University
Physiological and Biochemical Zoology

Germany Establishes First Biodiversity Exploratories
Bonn, Germany (SPX) Jun 13, 2006
In order to promote ecological research in Germany, the DFG has announced the establishment of the first three large-scale research platforms, so-called biodiversity exploratories, in Germany.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Indonesia To Ask Creditors For Yogya Quake Loans
  • Emergency Communications Service For 2006 Hurricane Season
  • Sinking Levees
  • Future Hurricane Disasters May Become More Costly

  • Annan Warns Of Poverty And Conflict As Deserts Expand
  • Researcher Offers Insights On Development Of Arid Semiarid Landscapes
  • Global Greenhouse Cooked Up A Hot Stew Of Life
  • Climate change could fuel fiercer hurricane cycles: researchers

  • Land Use Mapped In Philippines
  • CALIPSO All Set To Collect Most Detailed Atmospheric Data Yet
  • NASA Detector Sees Infrared Light In Colors
  • EarthData Wins 16 Million Contract To Map Papua New Guinea

  • China Moves Ahead With Ambitious Plan For More Yangtze River Hydro Power
  • Japan To Give Asia Coal Liquefaction Technology
  • Policy Makers Draw Up List Of 'Top 100' Ecological Questions
  • Producing Bio-Ethanol From Agricultural Waste A Step Closer

  • US Approves Wild Bird Avian Flu Surveillance Network
  • Large-Scale Genomics Project Will Hunt Genes Behind Common Childhood Diseases
  • H5N1 Signature May Help Detection
  • Plant Diseases Threaten Chocolate Production Worldwide

  • Gazelles Shrink Liver And Heart To Reduce Oxygen Consumption During Drought
  • Researchers Take the Pulse of a Gene in Living Cells
  • Germany Establishes First Biodiversity Exploratories
  • Climate Change Driving Evolution Of Animal Species

  • Sandia Tool Speeds Up Environmental Cleanup, Reopening Of Contaminated Facilities
  • India Court Allows Toxic Ship Into Territorial Waters
  • Decades Of Acid Rain Is Causing Loss Of Valuable Northeast Sugar Maples
  • Air pollution rife in India's villages: report

  • Evidence Human Activities Have Shaped Large-Scale Ecological Patterns
  • Ancient Human Fossils Find Modern Virtual Home
  • Ancient DNA Sequence Allows New Look At Neandertals Diversity
  • Chaco Canyon: A Place Of Kings And Palaces

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement