How do seals regulate their fat stores?
Being too fat is bad for humans. But for seals, being fat is essential. They use blubber to stay warm in the water and to supply fat to fuel their metabolism when they come ashore. There’s a lot we don’t understand about how they regulate their fat reserves. How can they be so fat and stay healthy? How do they withstand and manage the big changes they experience in fat stores throughout the year? How does their energy balance respond to rapid natural or human-induced changes in their environment? In this Royal Society and NERC funded collaboration between Abertay University, the Sea Mammal Research Unit, and Plymouth University, Dr Kimberley Bennett borrowed a method from biomedical science to investigate how seal fat works to start to answer these questions.