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Data from: Environmental structure and energetic consequences in groups of young mice

Cite this dataset

Shelton, Delia S.; Meyer, Paul M.; Ocasio, Karen M. (2018). Data from: Environmental structure and energetic consequences in groups of young mice [Dataset]. Dryad.


Microenvironments can have considerable physiological consequences for the inhabitants by influencing the movements of individual members. The microenvironment can permit more diverse aggregation patterns or restrict movements to certain dimensions. Here, we tested whether aspects of the microenvironment that influenced aggregation patterns also influenced the energetics of groups of young animals. We tested the effects of enclosure configuration on the group temperature and respiration of infant mice (Mus musculus). We monitored the huddle temperature and respiration of groups in flat, concave and conical enclosures, which varied in shape and available space, and consequently the types of movements they permitted. We found that the amount of available space (or density) had a stronger effect on the group temperature than did the shape of the enclosure or types of permissible movements. We found no evidence that density or shape of the arena strongly affected the respiration rate of the group, with groups showing similar levels of oxygen consumption in all treatments. The lower density enclosures conveyed a considerable metabolic savings to groups in comparison to those tested in a higher density enclosure. These findings show density can have a large effect on the energetics of young mice, and provide insights on how simple features of the environment will influence physiology in a changing world.

Usage notes


National Science Foundation, Award: 1611616