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Water turnover and the northern range of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

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We studied a population of koalas at St Bees Island, central Queensland, where diet selection was limited and browse moisture was higher in winter than summer. Water turnover on St Bees Island was significantly higher in summer (95.6 mL kg-0.71 day-1) than in winter (71.1 mL kg-0.71 day-1) and was also significantly higher than reported for Springsure during summer. These results support the hypothesis that water turnover is obligate in winter. It also appears that koalas select browse of high leaf moisture to facilitate cooling by respiratory evaporative water loss during summer. We postulate that the northern coastal distribution of the koala may be limited by its capacity to achieve cooling by this mechanism in summer under conditions of high relative humidity.

Funding

Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)

History

Volume

29

Issue

1

Start Page

85

End Page

88

Number of Pages

4

ISSN

0310-0049

Location

Marrickville, New South Wales

Publisher

Australian Mammal Society

Language

en-aus

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

External Author Affiliations

Centre for Environmental Management; Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Health; San Diego Zoo;

Era Eligible

Yes

Journal

Australian mammalogy.