David presenting to the Vienna group

Arctic chronobiology and physiology group members David Hazlerigg and Shona Wood visited the institute of wildlife ecology in Vienna. This group shares many interests with ACP, focusing on seasonal physiology, thermoregulation and hibernation; they approach these areas from an ecological angle but with a strong grounding in physiology.

David was invited by Sylvain Giroud to present his data published in PNAS on the programming of calendar time before birth, which sets subsequent trajectories for growth and reproduction in small mammals. Sylvain has particular interests in the time of year of birth and the observed effects in the wild on winter survival, especially with regard to fattening and hibernation in dormice. The seminar was well received by all, leading to a good discussion bridging, ecology, physiology and mechanistic biology.

The Vienna group has excellent outdoor enclosures for dormice, owls, multiple bird species and red deer. Sylvain also has lab-based hibernation housing for the dormice.

Walter Arnold the leader of the institute showed us the impressive red deer enclosure. Their red deer have been trained to be tame and to use a feeding station to allow for weighing of the animal and diet manipulation. Walter is currently running a long-term study on the effects of diet manipulation on the seasonal physiology of red deer.

Article contributed by: Shona Wood

Left: A garden dormouse in the wild (Photo Wikimedia Commons). Right: Sylvain Giroud.

Left: Red deer in the institute owned forest (Photo. F. Balfanz). Right: Walter Arnold leader of the research institute and David discuss red deer.


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