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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,81(5):651-662.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 22 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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IRMA ID A00003xPUB48
Title Differential mobilization of blubber fatty acids in lactating Weddell seals: evidence for selective use
Author Wheatley, Kathryn E.
Nichols, Peter D.
Hindell, Mark A.
Harcourt, Robert G.
Bradshaw, Corey J. A.
Journal Name Physiological and Biochemical Zoology
Publication Date 2008
Volume Number 81
Issue Number 5
ISSN 1522-2152   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-52149102485
Start Page 651
End Page 662
Total Pages 12
Place of Publication United States of America
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Field of Research 0608 - Zoology
1116 - Medical Physiology
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract 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.
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