[MARMAM] New Publication - Reproductive Energetics of Sea Otters

Nicole Thometz nthometz at ucsc.edu
Thu Aug 4 08:51:00 PDT 2016

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the recent publication of the following article
in The Journal of Experimental Biology, regarding the reproductive
energetics of sea otters:

Thometz, N.M., Kendall, T., Richter, B., Williams, T.M. (2016) “The High
Cost of Reproduction in Sea Otters Necessitates Unique Physiological
Adaptations.” The Journal of Experimental Biology 219(15): 2260-2264.

*Abstract*: Superimposed on inherently high basal metabolic demands, the
additional energetic requirements of reproduction can push female sea
otters beyond physiological limits. Indeed, the resulting energy imbalance
contributes to disproportionately high rates of mortality at the end of
lactation in this species. To examine and quantify metabolic changes
associated with reproduction, we measured the resting metabolic rate (RMR)
of a female sea otter across gestation, lactation, and non-reproductive
periods. Concurrently, measurements were made on a non-breeding control
female. Our results suggest that RMR declines during gestation. Conversely,
RMR increases during lactation, reaches a peak at 3-4 months postpartum,
and remains elevated until weaning. Combining these direct measurements
with published data, we found the cost of pup rearing to be significantly
higher than previously estimated. High baseline energy demands and limited
energy reserves, combined with significant lactation and pup rearing costs,
appear to necessitate metabolic and thermal lability during key
reproductive stages.

Please direct all inquiries to nthometz at ucsc.edu


Nicole M. Thometz, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department
University of California Santa Cruz
Long Marine Lab - Center for Ocean Health
100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz CA 95060
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