The energy expenditure by mother Weddell seals during the suckling periodEntry ID: K071_1996_1997_NZ_1
Abstract: Weddell seals are well adapted polar animals. They give birth to pups in the Antarctic summer when they haul out onto the ice. While feeding their pups, they have a massive fasting weight loss (and fat mobilisation) and their suckling pup has a correspondingly massive weight gain and fat deposition. The amount of energy expeded by the mother seals during the suckling period was investigated. ... Different techniques were used to determine energy expenditure on two non-suckling adults and two suckling mother-pup pairs including weighing the seals, measuring body size (length and girth), measuring the thickness of fat/blubber under the skin using an ultrasound scanner, measuring the total body water as an index of fatness and measuring milk production over a 10-day interval. During the first season of study, this was carried out on two occasions with daily blood and milk sampling in between each animal. In the following season the measurements were repeated at intervals of about two weeks throughout the lactating period in 13 females. Twelve other seals and pups in the colony were just blood sampled at these intervals for measurement of biochemical markers of metabolism. Change in body composition (as a function of body water space), weight and size was determined in pups also to estimate how much of the maternal energy expenditure was retained by the pups.
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Start Date: 1996-11-18Stop Date: 1996-12-04
Start Date: 1998-10-30Stop Date: 1998-12-08
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Phone: +01 202 633 4189
Fax: +01 202 673 4686
Email: EisertR at si.edu
Conservation Ecology Center National Zoological Park Smithsonian Institution
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Postal Code: 20008
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Email: Barrell at lincoln.ac.nz
Agriculture and Life Science Division PO BOX 84 Lincoln University
Province or State: Canterbury
Postal Code: 7647
Country: New Zealand
Role: DIF AUTHOR
Phone: +64 3 358 0200
Fax: +64 3 358 0211
Email: s.gordon at antarcticanz.govt.nz
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Country: New Zealand
Eisert, R. Energy metabolism of weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) during the lactation period. Ph.D., Lincoln University : . 2003.
Barrell, G.K. Antarctic seals provide new insights to biological science. in: Poles apart: a study in contrasts. Lewkowicz A.G. (ed) Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press. 1999. pp.143-150
Eisert, R., Oftedal, O. T., Lever, M., Ramdohr, S., Breier, B. H. & Barrell, G. K. (2005) Detection of food intake in a marine mammal using marine osmolytes and their analogues as dietary biomarkers. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 300: 213-228.
Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2005-09-22
Last DIF Revision Date: 2009-03-27