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