Colorado State researcher thinks Groundhog Day is about fatty acids rather than traditional tricks of light and shadow

FORT COLLINS -- Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, is the same date as a centuries-old European Christian festival called "Candlemas," a time when celebrants lit candles and anticipated the eventual coming of spring.

It also occurs about the middle of calendar winter -- a hedge for later European farmers, who decided if a hedgehog emerged from its burrow and saw its shadow that would ensure six more weeks of winter. German farmers brought the tradition to the United States and settled on the groundhog as their meteorological guide.

Greg Florant, Colorado State University professor of biology, takes a slightly different tack on the matter. Florant, who specializes in the metabolism of hibernating animals, has been studying American marmots (a groundhog cousin) and theorizes if a groundhog, marmot or other hibernating mammal wakens, it's probably because they've produced too much of two key fatty acids that are needed, in moderate amounts, for successful hibernation.

Florant will travel to Austria this spring under the auspices of a Senior Fulbright Research Scholarship to continue his investigation of fat and prostaglandin metabolism in mammals, particularly alpine marmots. Working with Walter Arnold, director of Vienna University's Institute of Wildlife Ecology, Florant will study changes in the lipid (fatty acid) metabolism of the animal and how particular lipid molecules may play a role in biological signaling in cells.

Florant has identified essential fatty acids called linoleic (18:2n-6) and linolenic acid (18:3n-3) as key molecules for successful hibernation. Both fatty acids are necessary for animals to hibernate, during which their body temperatures drop and metabolism slows. Despite periodic warming to normal body temperature levels, the animals return to hibernation for a total of up to seven months.

His research shows that larger amounts of linolenic acid can make the animal active and cause it to feed when it's supposed to be hibernating

Contact: Dave Weymiller
Colorado State University

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Colorado River Conference Aug. 26
2. Hidden cost of Colorado River diversions is $2.4 billion annually
3. Earstones tell fishes tale of early life in the Colorado River estuary
4. U. of Colorado professor pioneering tissue engineering from knees to hearts to brains
5. University of Colorado archaeologist, colleagues hot on the trail of ancient Persian warships
6. U. of Colorado team developing Flu Chip for fast, accurate diagnosis
7. Microbes active in Colorado snows fuel tundra ecosystem
8. New Colorado U. study shows increase in fungal metabolism under the snow
9. Changing global nitrogen cycle impacting human health, says Colorado University-led study
10. U. of Colorado scientists discover four new kingdoms of life
11. U.of Colorado researchers solve molecular structure involved with heart disease

Post Your Comments:

(Date:3/13/2020)... ... March 13, 2020 , ... Acumed LLC today announced ... exclusive distributor of the Louisville-based company’s orthobiologics portfolio. Under the terms of the ... Vivorte’s calcium phosphate-based bone allograft (Trabexus) and calcium phosphate-based biocement (Fortera). Vivorte will ...
(Date:3/9/2020)... ... March 09, 2020 , ... ... a steep growth rate of 64% last year, as enterprises sought to ... from Everest Group. Unfortunately, only 13% of all transformation efforts delivered the ...
(Date:3/5/2020)... ... 2020 , ... Diagenode, a leading global provider of complete ... of global genomics leader BGI Group, today announced a co-marketing agreement for Diagenode’s ... Pacific. , Under the terms of the non-exclusive agreement, the two companies ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/19/2020)... ... March 17, 2020 , ... ... collaboration agreement with pioneering gene circuit company Senti Biosciences, Inc. (Senti) to ... and other solid tumor indications. The collaboration will leverage RoosterBio’s human mesenchymal ...
(Date:3/10/2020)... Tex. (PRWEB) , ... March ... ... a full-service cold chain biopharmaceutical engineering firm, is pleased to announce ... focus is on combination medical device qualification and validation in the biopharmaceutical ...
(Date:3/3/2020)... ... 2020 , ... Ideal Implant Incorporated Founder and CEO, Robert ... the IMCAS Innovation Shark Tank 2020 in Paris, France in January. The international ... science industries that promise to revolutionize medical practices in their fields. , ...
(Date:2/21/2020)... ... February 20, 2020 , ... ... and elegant chemistry. Humans have been increasingly successful in innovating ways to ... rapidly evolving technologies and strategies for modern molecular biology (e.g., gene sequencing, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: