Scott R Mcwilliams

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Unlike exercising mammals, migratory birds fuel very high intensity exercise (e.g., flight) with fatty acids delivered from the adipose tissue to the working muscles by the circulatory system. Given the primary importance of fatty acids for fueling intense exercise, we discuss the likely limiting steps in lipid transport and oxidation for exercising birds(More)
Ecological and evolutionary physiology has traditionally focused on one aspect of physiology at a time. Here, we discuss the implications of considering physiological regulatory networks (PRNs) as integrated wholes, a perspective that reveals novel roles for physiology in organismal ecology and evolution. For example, evolutionary response to changes in(More)
Stable isotopes are an important tool for physiological and behavioral ecologists, although their usefulness depends on a thorough understanding of the dynamics of isotope incorporation into tissue(s) over time. In contrast to hair, claws, and feathers, most animal tissues continuously incorporate carbon (and other elements), and so carbon isotope values(More)
—Seasonal fruits are an important food resource for small songbirds during autumn migration in southern New England. Therefore, conservation and management of important stopover sites used by migrating birds requires knowledge about nutritional requirements of songbirds and nutritional composition of commonly consumed fruits. We measured nutrient(More)
Seasonal adjustments to muscle size in migratory birds may result from preparatory physiological changes or responses to changed workloads. The mechanisms controlling these changes in size are poorly understood. We investigated some potential mediators of flight muscle size (myostatin and insulin-like growth factor, IGF1) in pectoralis muscles of wild(More)
In an earlier study, we found that yellow-rumped warblers had in vitro active uptake rates of D-glucose that were only a few percent of the glucose absorption rate achieved at the whole-animal level. Here we used a pharmacokinetic technique to test whether a substantial amount of sugar can be absorbed passively. We used yellow-rumped warblers (Dendroica(More)
We used stable isotopes of C in breath, blood, feces and feathers to identify intra-individual changes in diet and the timescale of diet changes in free-living songbirds at a stopover site. Because accurate interpretation of differences between the δ13C of breath, plasma, and red blood cells (RBCs) relative to diet requires knowing the turnover rate of C(More)
It is well established that birds use fat stores to primarily fuel migration; however, few studies have focused on the causes and consequences of observed seasonal changes in fatty acid composition of fat stores in birds. We propose and test two hypotheses that address the causes of these seasonal changes in composition of fat stores: (1) diet composition(More)
Birds during migration must satisfy the high energy and nutrient demands associated with repeated, intensive flight while often experiencing unpredictable variation in food supply and food quality. Solutions to such different challenges may often be physiologically incompatible. For example, increased food intake and gut size are primarily responsible for(More)
Carbon turnover differs between tissues within an animal, but the extent to which ecologically relevant increases in metabolism affect carbon turnover rates is largely unknown. We tested the energy expenditure and protein turnover hypotheses that predict increased carbon turnover, either in association with increased daily energy expenditure, or in concert(More)