Temperature-dependence of metabolism and fuel selection from cells to whole organisms

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Holden, Kaitlyn G.
Hedrick, Ashley R.
Gangloff, Eric J.
Hall, Steven J.
Bronikowski, Anne M.
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© 2021 The Authors
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Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology

The Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology seeks to teach the studies of ecology (organisms and their environment), evolutionary theory (the origin and interrelationships of organisms), and organismal biology (the structure, function, and biodiversity of organisms). In doing this, it offers several majors which are codirected with other departments, including biology, genetics, and environmental sciences.

The Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology was founded in 2003 as a merger of the Department of Botany, the Department of Microbiology, and the Department of Zoology and Genetics.

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Temperature affects nearly every aspect of how organisms interact with and are constrained by their environment. Measures of organismal energetics, such as metabolic rate, are highly temperature-dependent and governed through temperature effects on rates of biochemical reactions. Characterizing the relationships among levels of biological organization can lend insight into how temperature affects whole-organism function. We tested the temperature dependence of cellular oxygen consumption and its relationship to whole-animal metabolic rate in garter snakes (Thamnophis elegans). Additionally, we tested whether thermal responses were linked to shifts in the fuel source oxidized to support metabolism with the use of carbon stable isotopes. Our results demonstrate temperature dependence of metabolic rates across levels of biological organization. Cellular (basal, adenosine triphosphate-linked) and whole-animal rates of respiration increased with temperature but were not correlated within or among individuals, suggesting that variation in whole-animal metabolic rates is not due simply to variation at the cellular level, but rather other interacting factors across scales of biological organization. Counter to trends observed during fasting, elevated temperature did not alter fuel selection (i.e., natural-abundance stable carbon isotope composition in breath, δ13Cbreath). This consistency suggests the maintenance and oxidation of a single fuel source supporting metabolism across a broad range of metabolic demands.
This article is published as Holden, Kaitlyn G., Ashley R. Hedrick, Eric J. Gangloff, Steven J. Hall, and Anne M. Bronikowski. "Temperature‐dependence of metabolism and fuel selection from cells to whole organisms." Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological and Integrative Physiology (2021). doi:10.1002/jez.2564. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.