IAB Research Project Description

Metabolism of Lichen in Reindeer and Caribou

Lichen on Murphy Dome, Fairbanks, Alaska. Credit: Marie Gilbert/IAB information officer

Reindeer calves at the Institute of Arctic Biology Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station, University of Alaska Fairbanks, September 23, 2008. Credit: Marie Gilbert/IAB information officer

Caribou bull at the Institute of Arctic Biology Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station, University of Alaska Fairbanks, September 23, 2008. Credit: Marie Gilbert/IAB information officer

Any and all uses of these images must include photographer credit.

Lichens are an important food for reindeer and caribou during winter. These forages are however, poor sources of protein and minerals that also contain toxins. This project will continue research on the responses of pregnant and growing reindeer and caribou to low N diets and three species of lichen. Our partner in science will focus on developing analytical assays for usnic acid in food and excreta to determine the dietary load of toxin and the metabolic pathways for handling the toxin. We will use samples collected from reindeer fed lichens and low N diets with and without added usnic acid.

Project Funding

Murdock Trust
$14,000.00
31 Mar 2006 – 29 Feb 2008
IAB Proposal #06-065
UAF Grant #G3120
IAB Project #111


Media Contact

Marie Thoms
Communications/Web Manager
Institute of Arctic Biology
302A Irving I
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000
email: methoms@alaska.edu
phone: 907.474.7412
UAF-IAB-News-Info@alaska.edu