Tarsiers and tree shrews are being studied to learn more about the effects of ambient temperature on body temperature under tropical conditions.

Image: Wikipedia

Little is known about the thermal physiology of mammals in the hot and humid tropics. Earlier studies with tree shrews found a high level of daily variation in body temperature whereas a more recent study found the opposite. Researchers in Malaysia and South Africa are now working together to record the activity of tree shrews and tarsiers in the wild and to determine how they respond to different ambient temperatures. Data from free-ranging animals will not only provide an opportunity to study the effects of ambient temperature on body temperature under humid tropical conditions, but will also shed more light on the evolution of thermal regulation in mammals.

Researchers at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa will measure the metabolic rate, core body and skin temperatures of captured tarsiers and tree shrews over a range of weather conditions. Before its release, each animal will be implanted with a data logger programmed to record body temperatures every 30 minutes. They will also be outfitted with a radio collar to record its activity patterns and behaviours in the wild over a minimum of four months.



For further information contact:

Professor Andrew Alek Tuen
Director, Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
Email: aatuen@ibec.unimas.my