The young turtles are able to survive, with blood that can supercool, preventing ice crystals from forming even below their blood's freezing point. Their thick skin, as well as the tiny amount of water held in the 5 gram hatchlings also help them keep out the cold. Given their watery habitat and delicate, porous skin, amphibians are pretty sensitive to cold. But the wood frog, whose range extends up to northern Alaska and the Yukon, takes it in stride. The frog's body responds to cold snaps by flooding its body with cryoprotectants that help keep the frog from freezing.
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The frogs accumulate urea in their tissues and their liver converts glycogen into glucose. Two thirds of this ice forms under the skin and within the body cavity, as the frog dehydrates its internal organs in the first 12 hours of freezing. Red flat bark beetles survive the winter by hiding in Alaskan balsam poplar trees, wedging themselves in the moist area under the trees' bark.
Like the baby painted turtles, these beetles stave off the cold by supercooling, creating antifreeze proteins to prevent ice crystals in their cells. These beetles opt for dry tree crevices, and avoid moisture to handle the stress of freezing solid. They squeeze water out of their cells, preventing deadly cell rupture caused by expanding ice crystals. This dehydrating strategy means the beetles remain unfrozen down to Arctic ground squirrels are the only mammal on this list, and for good reason.
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Although many mammals can handle the cold with downy coats of fur, and by hibernating away the cold months, none shut down for the winter like the arctic ground squirrel. Like the other contenders, these squirrels can also super-cool their bodies below its freezing point, down to But the real impressive adaptation happens in the squirrels' brains — they can sever neural connections, synapses, for hibernation, and reconnect them as soon as they wake and warm up, roughly once every two or three weeks during the winter.
Dendrites are the branchlike portion of neurons that receive chemical messages from other neurons, and hibernation causes them to wither. A Russian study in the early s found that dissected brains of squirrels mid-hibernation contained far fewer dendrites than the brains from squirrels that were woken up and allowed to acclimate. And only two hours after waking from its slumber, the synapse connections are restored, with even more dendrite branches than before.
Animal Life at Low Temperature
But 12 to 15 hours later, the brain begins culling the connections again as the squirrel returns to hibernation. The Arctic woolly bear moth survives the cold by playing the waiting game.
Materials provided by Marine Biological Laboratory. Note: Content may be edited for style and length. Science News. Journal Reference : Kristin E. Gribble, Benjamin M.
Moran, Shannon Jones, Emily L. Corey, David B.
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Mark Welch. Congeneric variability in lifespan extension and onset of senescence suggest active regulation of aging in response to low temperature. Experimental Gerontology , ; 99 DOI: ScienceDaily, 10 December Weight gain and feed efficiency were lower during the colder month of March compared to April. Other studies have reported similar results; colder temperatures resulted in lower feed efficiency Elam, ; Delfino and Mathison, and average daily gain Birkelo et al.
Mader et al. Ambient temperatures well above the estimated lower critical value affect feedlot cattle growth performance Webster, ; Young and Christopherson, Studies have suggested that energy requirements increased during winter or when animals are under cold stress due to the need to increase resting heat production to maintain body temperature by shivering or other thermogenic process Young, ; Christopherson, Thus, the lower feed efficiency during March compared to April may have been due to the increased energy utilization for heat production at a colder ambient temperature.
In results of our study, both climate condition and age effects may be compounded because climate effects were compared at different growing period. Generally, the younger animal has higher feed efficiency. But, feed efficiency was higher at period 2 in older age. Thus, climate condition may be a major effect, and age effect may be minor since only one month difference between 9. However, cortisol concentrations were not changed.
These results suggest that the decrease in NEFA concentration may not be regulated by cortisol. Blood NEFA concentrations in dairy cattle often increase when feed intake cannot support their energy requirements, requiring the mobilization of NEFA by lipolysis of fat depots to support energy demand Bauman and Currie, Broucek et al.
Calves in a cold environment 4. Taken together, increased NEFA concentrations during colder weather may help generate energy to maintain body temperature and growth. Stress is generally accompanied by an increase in cortisol concentration, and cortisol concentrations increase under cold conditions Khan et al. In our study, the minimum temperature 1. Generally, amount of diet feed consumed significantly affects blood metabolites and hormone concentrations.
Therefore, we collected blood after 9 h fasting to minimize such diet variation among animals. Mills and Jenny and Ward et al. Thus, cortisol concentrations at fasting may be higher than that at feeding stage. Our study showed no significant difference in fasting cortisol concentrations between April and May. We cannot exclude that fasting condition masks temperature responses.
Adaptations of Plants and Animals to extreme temperatures
Serum cortisol and lipid metabolite concentrations in Korean cattle steers over several months. Minimum ambient temperature MT is shown in the top-left panel. In rat study, cold stress decreased serum total cholesterol and HDL concentrations Tsopanakis and Tesserommatis, Collectively, our results suggest that ambient temperature may affect lipoprotein metabolism.
Serum concentrations of glucose, blood urea nitrogen BUN , total protein TP , glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase GOT , glutamic pyruvate transaminase GPT , albumin, and phosphorus in Korean cattle steers over several months. Changes in these parameters due to cold stress or low temperature have not been reported previously. Inflammatory responses are often associated with the induction of acute-phase reactants, such as the C3 and C4 compartments of the complement system Ghazavi et al.
Our results suggest that the C4 complement factor may be induced more during the colder March temperatures than other months. The functional significance of this change remains to be elucidated. Serum concentrations of complement factors, the granulocyte: lymphocyte ratio, and monocyte, T cell, and B cell populations in Korean cattle steers over several months.
The granulocyte: lymphocyte ratio and B cell and monocyte populations did not differ among months. It is well known that glucocorticoids released during stressful events often modulate the immune system, including increases in the neutrophil: lymphocyte ratio and changes in the number of monocytes Weber et al. Neutrophil: lymphocyte ratio changes occurred under acute and inflammatory conditions, such as weaning stress and tissue injury Kim et al.
It is probable that the ambient temperatures during March in the present study were not low enough to induce such changes. These results suggest that the number of helper T cells, cytotoxic T cells, and regulatory T cells are likely modulated during the colder month of March compared to May. Whether these changes in blood T cell populations are directly associated with ambient temperature must be clarified in cattle.
Daily weight gain and feed efficiency were lower in March than in April, suggesting that ambient temperature affects growth and feed efficiency in Korean cattle steers.
A Low Temperature Limit for Life on Earth
Higher circulating NEFA concentrations during March compared to April suggest that lipolysis may occur at colder temperatures to generate heat to maintain body temperature. We certify that there is no conflict of interest with any financial organization regarding the material discussed in the manuscript. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Asian-Australas J Anim Sci. Published online Feb Kang , 1 I. Piao , 1 M. Find articles by C. Find articles by K. Find articles by M. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Exposure to cold may affect growth performance in accordance with the metabolic and immunological activities of animals. Table 1 Ingredients of concentrate diet and composition of experimental diets for Korean cattle steers. Open in a separate window.
Chemical composition analyses The chemical compositions dry matter, crude protein, crude fat, ash, Ca, and P of the concentrate diet and timothy hay were determined using an AOAC method