Kidneys, phylogeny and desert adaptations

De Mendoza CONICET

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Kidneys, phylogeny and desert adaptations in caviomorph rodents

To determine whether variation kidney morphology is associated with environmental aridity in South American hystricognaths, we employed conventional and phylogenetic analysis (independent contrasts) to correlate mass-independent renal variables (several renal indices) with environmental variables such as precipitation, temperature and a measure of primary productivity (NDVI). Body mass and most renal indexes showed significant phylogenetic signal (the tendency of closed related species to resemble each other). All renal indexes, except RMA and MIC, were correlated with body mass. Precipitation was the best predictor of kidney size, with animals from dryer environments having larger kidneys. RMT was not correlated with any of the environmental indexes employed here. Our results suggest that hystricognaths from environments with lower rainfall have evolved larger kidneys, probably to cope with aridity. The relative importance of additional renal indices as predictors of urine concentration ability for this group of rodents remains unclear(Gabriela Diaz, Ricardo Ojeda and Enrico Rezende , Grupo de Investigaciones de la Biodiversidad, CONICET, Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones en Zonas Áridas, CC 507, 5500 Mendoza, Argentina and Grupo de Ecología Integrativa, Estacion Biológica Doñana, CSIC, Apdo. 1056, E-41080 Sevilla, España)

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