Thursday, 5 July 2012

Diving Seabirds: Working Hard and Living Long



ScienceDaily (July 2, 2012) — Scientists have found that diving birds reach their 30s and then die quickly and suddenly, showing few signs of aging prior to death.

Their findings, which will be presented at the Society for Experimental Biology meeting in Salzburg on 2nd July could help us understand the aging process, providing critical insights for our aging population.

The guillemots -- which look similar to penguins but can fly -- have the highest flight costs of any bird and expend substantial energy for diving. Their high metabolisms and frequent dives should produce oxidative stress, causing the birds to deteriorate as they age. But, the researchers discovered that the birds stay fit and active as they grow older, maintaining their flying, diving, and foraging abilities.

Kyle Elliott, a PhD student at the University of Manitoba and the study's lead author, said, "Most of what we know about aging is from studies of short-lived round worms, fruit flies, mice, and chickens, but long-lived animals age differently. We need data from long-lived animals, and one good example is long-lived seabirds."

Continued: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120702134744.htm

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