Mammal Adaptation to Seasonal Environments
Seasonal cycles of resource availability pose unique challenges to endothermic organisms. Unfortunately, trait data for many groups exist at the species level, are of course granularity (e.g., categorical variables), and lack explicit functional evidence from wild populations. The lab is working to understand seasonal energetic adaptations in mammals by investigating traits that are likely proxies for energetic tradeoffs at the individual level. Using small mammals in the Southern Appalachians as a model system, we are tracking changes in rodent gastrointestinal morphology and shrew brain size across seasons as a lens into mammalian response to resource availability and land use change.