Laboratory and field experiments were conducted to investigate bioenergetics of winter dispersal and to compare winter (cross‐ice) dispersal abilities of three small mammals: Microtus pennsylvanicus, Peromyscus leucopus and Blarina brevicauda. Total metabolic rates increased with running activity and decreased as ambient temperatures increased for all species. Thermal conductance was significantly higher for running than for resting Microtus and Peromyscus, but decreased significantly with activity for Blarina. Winter dispersal abilities, calculated from treadmill experiments, increased with ambient temperature and with body size of the species. The superior dispersal ability of Microtus in comparison with Peromyscus results from the former's ability to utilize more energy reserves during running. The comparatively low winter dispersal ability of Blarina, which was less than a third of the two rodent species, resulted from its high weight specific cost of transport at winter temperatures and its relatively low energy stores and/or energy utilization during running.
Ecography – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1989
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