Cold Adaptation

The ability of organisms to adapt to their thermal environment determines the amount of energy available for maintenance, foraging, reproduction and survival. Endotherms such as birds and mammals are often considered to be homeothermic, because they maintain a relatively constant body temperature. However, many endotherms allow their temperature to change as a strategy to conserve energy when faced with a thermal challenge.

This research is concerned with understanding how the environment influences spatial and temporal patterns of body temperature and its metabolic consequences for survival.

Miniature thermistor transmitters allow continuous measurement of both activity and body temperature in wild birds as small as great tits (Parus major). The transmitter antenna can be seen parallel to the bird’s back in the right hand image. Credits: B. Helm, P. Jerem