Acta Theriologica

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 345–352 | Cite as

Patterns of ultradian rhythms of activity and metabolic rate in relation to average daily energy expenditure in root voles

  • Andrzej K. Gębczyński


Microtine species are known to have an ultradian pattern of activity. Earlier study suggested that period of activity oscillations decreased after magnification of the average energy expenditure. Moreover, the lack of daily variation in nonshivering thermogenesis capacity suggests that the level of metabolic rate (MR) depends mainly on animal activity. Thus, (1) one could expect that ultradian oscillations of MR and activity were similarly dependent on the average level of energy expenditure. Moreover, I expected that animals at lower ambient temperature (Ta) should minimize their energy expenditure and the time of exposure to low Ta outside the nest. Thus (2) their mean activity near a feeder does not increase together with average level of energy expenditure. I tested these hypotheses using root voles Microtus oeconomus Pallas, 1776 acclimated to Ta of 20°C (12L∶12D). The MR and activity both inside (An) and outside the nest (Af), were measured continuously at Ta of 10 and 20°C. Average oxygen consumption differed between Tas. The period of MR and Af rhythm was shorter at lower Ta, but the period of An did not differ significantly. The level of energy expenditure did not affect mean Af. Close correlation between MR and Af length period suggests that oscillations of MR during the day are affected by activity related to feeding, rather than low cost An.

Key words

root vole ultradian rhythms energy expenditure activity metabolic rate 


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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Bialowieza, Poland 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrzej K. Gębczyński
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of BiologyUniversity of BiałystokBiałystokPoland

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