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Thermal biology of fossorial rodents

The analysis of mole-rat´s fur characteristics across the altitudinal gradient

The silvery mole-rat is a fossorial rodent inhabiting eastern tropical Africa up to the altitude of 2400 m.a.s.l.. It is a solitarily living species and virtually does not come above ground.  Its sealed underground burrows are a specific habitat that represents, with its high humidity and stable temperature, a true challenge for the mole-rat´s thermoregulation. Concerning the quality of thermal insulation of this solitary species – does it stay the same all across the gradient, or does it change? The fur characteristics analysis offers the answer.

The analysis of fossorial rodents´ fur characteristics across the altitudinal gradient

The Ethiopian Highlands are the Roof of Africa. Thus, the mammals living across their altitudinal gradient face high number of ambient temperatures. Fossorial rodents are particularly interesting for the fact of living not solely underground but visiting the surface as well. How does the fur quality of these animals experiencing the temperatures of both insulated burrows and above ground differ? The highest elevational gradient in Ethiopia offers the comparison of genera Lophuromys, Stenocephalemys, Tachyoryctes,.. + participation on the grant project Evolution at steep elevational gradients: assessing the role of genetic and ecological factors in speciation process.

The analysis of the infrared thermograms of fossorial rodents´ facial region

The fossorial rodents are confronted with exacting conditions of subterranean burrows; for instance from a thermoregulatory view. Their research by means of infrared thermography has brought not only a number of interesting data and answers, but questions as well. One of those is possible presence of a thermal window – an area with active heat exchange – in the facial region of studied animals. The work includes the analysis of radiometric pictures of eight species of fossorial rodents from Africa, Izrael, and Chile. It is suitable as a bachelor´s work (even in advanced phases of bachelor study).

Contact: 

MSc. František Vejmělka, Faculty of Science, room B257, tel.: 73 955 3824, frvej@seznam.cz
MSc. Nella Mladěnková, Faculty of Science, room B257, tel.: 38 777 2257, nella.mladenkova@gmail.com
doc. Radim Šumbera, Ph.D., Faculty of Science, room B263, tel.: 38 777 2240, sumbera@prf.jcu.cz

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