Jim StaplesWestern Science

Research

SquirrelsGround squirrels are active during the summer (left), but hibernate from autumn until spring (right; photos J. Staples)

Hibernation Metabolism: Many species of small mammals, such as this 13-lined Ground Squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus), survive winters by entering hibernation. During hibernation body temperatures may fall below freezing and metabolic rates are reduced by over 90%, conditions that would kill most mammals. My research examines the nature of this metabolic reduction at the cellular, mitochondrial and enzyme level. You can see more about hibernation in this partially accurate outake from CBC's "Wild Canadian Year" that features one of my research animals.


Ground squirrel MRI

Non-invasive MRI images of a hibernating 13-lined ground squirrel.

We use MRI to measure the amount of adipose tissue, both white and brown, and how it changes as ground squirrels prepare for the hibernation season. See Amanda's poster from the 2016 International Hibernation Symposium here.

(Image by Amanda MacCannell, Kevin Sinclair, Lanette Friesen-Waldner, Charles MacKenzie, edited by Kate Mathers)

 

 

*NEWS*

Congratulations to Kate Mathers for a great defence of her Ph.D. thesis. You can hear about Kate's research at this podcast.

Congratulations to Amanda MacCannell who won the "Best Student Poster" prize at the 2017 50 Years of Comparative Biochemistry: The Legacy of Peter W. Hochachka meeting. See Amanda's poster here.

Sarah McFarlane wins Helen I. Battle Award for best student poster at the 2016 annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Zoologists. Click here to see Sarah's awesome poster!