Does thermal history affect metabolic plasticity? A study in three Phyllotis species along an altitudinal gradient

Enrico L. Rezende, Ibin Silva-Durán, F. Fernando Novoa, Mario Rosenmann

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12 Citations (Scopus)


(1) The aim of this study was to understand the effects of thermal history in metabolic features such as maximum (MMR) and basal (BMR) metabolic rates, as well as in metabolic plasticity, considered as the total variation of MMR and BMR during the acclimation period. (2) We studied three species of the genus Phyllotis, from different thermal environments, in an altitudinal gradient from sea level to 3800m.a.s.l. Animals were acclimated to contrasting temperatures of 5 and 30°C. To determine the metabolic flexibility, MMR was measured at intervals of 6 days during the acclimation period, while BMR values were obtained at the end of acclimations. Aerobic scope and the rates of change of MMR were estimated in all populations. (3) High- and low-altitude rodents did not show differences in BMR. However, both upper and lower limits of MMR, as well as aerobic scope, were significantly different between high- and low-altitude species, indicating similar ranges of metabolic plasticity. On the other hand, the rates of change of MMR were similar in all populations. (4) Our results indicate that thermal history has a profound effect on the individuals' thermogenic capacity, probably in both phylogenetic and ontogenetic levels. Low-altitude species could not increase MMR to the same levels as high-altitude species, while the later were unable to decrease MMR to achieve the values of the low-altitude species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-108
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thermal Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Aerobic scope
  • Altitudinal gradient
  • Maximum and basal metabolic rate
  • Metabolic plasticity
  • Phyllotis sp.
  • Thermal environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Developmental Biology


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