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Differential mobilization of blubber fatty acids in lactating Weddell seals : evidence for selective use

Wheatley, Kathryn E., Nichols, Peter D., Hindell, Mark A., Harcourt, Robert G. and Bradshaw, Corey J. A. 2008, Differential mobilization of blubber fatty acids in lactating Weddell seals : evidence for selective use, Physiological and biochemical zoology, vol. 81, no. 5, pp. 651-662, doi: 10.1086/590397.

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Title Differential mobilization of blubber fatty acids in lactating Weddell seals : evidence for selective use
Author(s) Wheatley, Kathryn E.
Nichols, Peter D.
Hindell, Mark A.
Harcourt, Robert G.
Bradshaw, Corey J. A.
Journal name Physiological and biochemical zoology
Volume number 81
Issue number 5
Start page 651
End page 662
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Place of publication Chicago, Ill.
Publication date 2008-09
ISSN 1522-2152
1537-5293
Summary A major source of energy during lactation in mammals is provided through the mobilization of blubber fatty acids (FAs). We investigated the extent to which FAs were mobilized to support both maternal metabolic requirements and milk production in the Weddell seal and how this was reflected in the FA composition of the pup’s blubber at the end of lactation (EL). FA composition of postpartum female blubber was similar in the 2 yr of study (2002 and 2003) but differed markedly by EL. Pup blubber FAs (at EL) were also different between years and did not match that of the mother’s milk or blubber. Milk FA composition changed during lactation, which may have been a reflection of an increase in pup energy demands at different stages of development. In addition, there was evidence of feeding by some females during lactation, with higher levels of some FAs in the milk than in the blubber. Our results indicate that differential mobilization of FAs occurred in lactating Weddell seals and that this was related to total body lipid stores at postpartum. Furthermore, growing pups did not store FAs unmodified, providing evidence that selective use does occur and also that using FA composition to elucidate dietary sources may be problematic in growing individuals.
Language eng
DOI 10.1086/590397
Field of Research 060806 Animal Physiological Ecology
060601 Animal Physiology - Biophysics
Socio Economic Objective 960801 Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008 by The University of Chicago
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30039822

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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