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Adaptive energy metabolism in fossorial pine voles (Microtus duodecimcostatus and M.Lusitanicus). A comparative study
Coordinator - Maria da Luz Mathias
Programme - POCTI
Execution dates - 2005-01-01 - 2009-12-31 (60 Months)
Funding Entity - FCT
Total Funding - 99.152 €
Proponent Institution - Fundação da Faculdade Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Participating Institutions
Universidade de Aveiro
Fundação da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Universidade de Évora
Universidade de Aberdeen (RU)

In this project an attempt is made to understand the adaptive responses of two semi-subterranean Microtus species to the challenges imposed by underground habitats.
Current knowledge on physiological adaptive processes to a subterranean life is based on few species, inhabiting particular areas, or on reduced samples. Thus, much remains to be done to improve the knowledge on the ecophysiology of subterranean rodents. In particular, data on murid species (such as Microtus) is extremely limited and no recent studies have addressed comparatively the thermoregulation ability and energy processing in M.lusitanicus or M.duodecimcostatus. Moreover, deeper studies on other topics, such as blood oxygen transport and acid-base balance are needed for comparison with other fossorial or surface-dwelling species.
Known ecophysiological data on subterranean rodents are also limited by the quality of field data on the ecological and environmental conditions in which animal live. For instance, both M.lusitanicus and M.duodecimcostatus are quite abundant in orchards, apple and orange respectively, being often seen as pests in these agricultural areas. So, we hypothesized that due to greater food availability in orchards energy expenditure resulting from burrowing for foraging may be reduced in comparison with the energy expenditure by the same species in non-agricultural areas. Thus, the energy allocated to maintenance and reproduction is increased, justifying that in agricultural areas reproduction may occur throughout the year.
The present study represented an exciting opportunity to understand how the environmental conditions experienced by animals influence several aspects of their biology. It also contributed to understand the high densities of both species in man-manipulated habitats, such as agricultural fields, where food availability is greatest.


OUTPUT:


Thesis:


Agonistic repertoire of two subterranean rodents, Microtus (Terricola) lusitanicus and M. (T.) duodecimcostatus: a quantitative comparison
Estágio Profissionalizante. Licenciatura em Recursos Faunísticos e Ambiente. Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa. Isadora Rocha


Metabolismo energético de duas espécies de ratos-cegos(Microtus lusitanicus e M. duodecimcostatus) (2008)
Tese de Mestrado em Ecologia Aplicada. Universidade do Porto. Rita Monarca


Factors influencing the distribution of the Lusitanian and the Mediterranean pine voles (Microtus lusitanicus and M. duodecimcostatus) in Portugal: a multiscale approach (in conclusion)
Doutoramento em Biologia. Universidade de Lisboa. Sara Santos



Scientific meetings:


Physiological responses of fossorial pine voles (Microtus duodecimcostatus and Microtus lusitanicus) to life underground
10th International Conference Rodens et Spatium, Parma (Italy) (2006)
M.L. Mathias, R. Monarca, S. Santos, M. Ramalhinho & J.P. Amaral


Soil characteristics of areas inhabited by two species of Pine-voles: Microtus lusitanicus and M.duodecimcostatus
XXXéme Colloque international de Mammalogie, Les mammifères et les Massifs montagneux, Banyuls-sur-Mer (France) (2007)
Rita Monarca, Sara M. Santos, Maria da Luz Mathias


The Lusitanian pine vole and the Mediterranean pine vole in a sympatry area: using presence signs to discriminate among similar species
XX International Congresso f Zoology, Paris (France) (2008)
Sara M. Santos, António Mira & Maria da Luz Mathias


Energetics and microspatial distribution in semi-fossorial pine-voles Microtus lusitanicus and Microtus duodecimcostatus.
11th International Conference Rodents et Spatium on Rodents Biology, Myshkin (Russia) (2008)
Rita Monarca, Maria da Luz Mathias



Publications:


MATHIAS M., MONARCA R., SANTOS S., MIRA A., RAMALHINHO M. & AMARAL J.P. 2006. Physiological responses of fossorial pine voles (Microtus duodecimcostatus and Microtus lusitanicus) to life underground pp. 82. In C. Prigioni, L. Nieder & L. Colli (Eds.) Hystrix (n.s.) Supp.: 82 (Abstract)


SANTOS, S.; MIRA, A. & M.L. MATHIAS (2009). Using presence signs to discriminate between similar species. Integrative Zoology, 4: 258-264


SANTOS, S.; MIRA, A. & M.L. MATHIAS (in press). Factors influencing large scale distribution of two sister species of pine voles (Microtus lusitanicus and M. duodecimcostatus): the importance of spatial autocorrelation. Canadian Journal of Zoology.


SANTOS, S.; LOURENÇO, R.; MATHIAS M.L. & A. MIRA (in press). Spatial ecology of the Lusitanian pine vole (Microtus lusitanicus) in a Mediterranean polyculture. Animal Biology.


SANTOS, S.; MATHIAS M.L. & A. MIRA (subm.). The influence of local, landscape and spatial factors on the distribution of the Lusitanian and the Mediterranean pine voles in a Mediterranean landscape


SANTOS, S.; MATHIAS M.L. & A. MIRA (subm.). Local coexistence and niche differences between the Lusitanian pine vole (Microtus lusitanicus) and the Mediterranean pine vole (Microtus duodecimcostatus) in Portugal


ROCHA, I. AMARAL J.P., FONSECA, P. AMARAL, M.C. & M.L. MATHIAS (subm.). Agonistic repertoire of two subterranean rodents, Microtus (Terricola) lusitanicus and M. (T.) duodecimcostatus: a quantitative comparison


 


 




Members on this project
Maria de Luz Mathias
Principal Researcher

CESAM Funding: