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dc.contributor.authorWatson, David
dc.contributor.authorPomeroy, Patrick
dc.contributor.authorAl-Tannak, Naser F.
dc.contributor.authorKennedy, Malcolm
dc.identifier.citationWatson , D , Pomeroy , P , Al-Tannak , N F & Kennedy , M 2020 , ' Stockpiling by pups and self-sacrifice by their fasting mothers observed in birth to weaning serum metabolomes of Atlantic grey seals ' , Scientific Reports , vol. 10 , 7465 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 261904221
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: 81a100a7-ae5d-4de6-b47d-fe0ee597107c
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0003-1603-5630/work/74117686
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85084227089
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000560030700011
dc.descriptionThe work was funded from core support given to the Sea Mammal Research Unit, Scottish Oceans Institute, from the National Environmental Research Council (UK), and separately by the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde. The funding of mass spectrometry equipment for metabolomics was provided by the Scottish Life Sciences Alliance.en
dc.description.abstractDuring the uniquely short lactations of true seals, pups acquire a greater proportion of maternal body resources, at a greater rate, than in any other group of mammals. Mothers in many species enter a period of anorexia but must preserve sufficient reserves to fuel hunting and thermoregulation for return to cold seas. Moreover, pups may undergo a period of development after weaning during which they have no maternal care or nutrition. This nutritionally closed system presents a potentially extreme case of conflict between maternal survival and adequate provisioning of offspring, likely presenting strains on their metabolisms. We examined the serum metabolomes of five mother and pup pairs of Atlantic grey seals, Halichoerus grypus, from birth to weaning. Changes with time were particularly evident in pups, with indications of strain in the fat and energy metabolisms of both. Crucially, pups accumulate certain compounds to levels that are dramatically greater than in mothers. These include compounds that pups cannot synthesise themselves, such as pyridoxine/vitamin B6, taurine, some essential amino acids, and a conditionally essential amino acid and its precursor. Fasting mothers therefore appear to mediate stockpiling of critical metabolites in their pups, potentially depleting their own reserves and prompting cessation of lactation.
dc.relation.ispartofScientific Reportsen
dc.rightsCopyright © 2020 the Author(s). Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not per-mitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
dc.subjectGC Oceanographyen
dc.subjectQH301 Biologyen
dc.titleStockpiling by pups and self-sacrifice by their fasting mothers observed in birth to weaning serum metabolomes of Atlantic grey sealsen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of Biologyen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Sea Mammal Research Uniten
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Scottish Oceans Instituteen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Centre for Research into Ecological & Environmental Modellingen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Marine Alliance for Science & Technology Scotlanden
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden
dc.identifier.grantnumberAgreement R8-H12-86en

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