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Body temperature regulation in passerines

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Oskar Brattstrom.

When animals experience ambient temperatures outside their thermoneutral zone, i.e. when they need to actively produce heat or get rid of surplus heat, a possible adaptation would be to decrease or increase, respectively, body temperature to reduce the gradient between body temperature and ambient temperature.

I will give some examples of such adaptations in birds during night in winter and foraging during the hot day in a tropical environment. During the winter birds decrease and in hot environments they increase their body temperature, thus not being strictly homeothermic. Also passerines breeding in temperate areas may face problems to dissipate heat produced as a result of a high metabolic rate when feeding nestlings.

Towards the end I will try to answer the question – “Do birds get fever?”. Fever being another possible adaptive reason for altering the normal body temperature.

This talk is part of the Behaviour, Ecology & Evolution Seminar Series series.

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