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Stress-induced rise in body temperature is repeatable in free-ranging Eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus)
journal contributionposted on 2012-04-01, 00:00 authored by Vincent Careau, D Reale, D Garant, J Speakman, M Humphries
In response to handling or other acute stressors, most mammals, including humans, experience a temporary rise in body temperature (T b). Although this stress-induced rise in T b has been extensively studied on model organisms under controlled environments, individual variation in this interesting phenomenon has not been examined in the field. We investigated the stress-induced rise in T b in free-ranging eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus) to determine first if it is repeatable. We predicted that the stress-induced rise in T b should be positively correlated to factors affecting heat production and heat dissipation, including ambient temperature (T a), body mass (M b), and field metabolic rate (FMR). Over two summers, we recorded both T b within the first minute of handling time (T b1) and after 5 min of handling time (T b5) 294 times on 140 individuals. The mean ∆T b (T b5 – T b1) during this short interval was 0.30 ± 0.02°C, confirming that the stress-induced rise in T b occurs in chipmunks. Consistent differences among individuals accounted for 40% of the total variation in ∆T b (i.e. the stress-induced rise in T b is significantly repeatable). We also found that the stress-induced rise in T b was positively correlated to T a, M b, and mass-adjusted FMR. These results confirm that individuals consistently differ in their expression of the stress-induced rise in T b and that the extent of its expression is affected by factors related to heat production and dissipation. We highlight some research constraints and opportunities related to the integration of this laboratory paradigm into physiological and evolutionary ecology.