IB Structure

Laboratory of Animal Ecophysiology

Head: Cand. (PhD) of Biology Antonova, Ekaterina Petrovna
The laboratory was established in 1972 the event itself and the early steps on the way were connected with the work of its first head Professor V. Berestov, Doctor of Veterinary Science, Distinguished Academic of Karelia and Russia. The laboratory dealt with the theoretical and applied problems of cage farming of fur animals, studied the physiological and biochemical adaptations of fur animals to environmental and technological factors, investigated patterns in the functioning of various systems in the organism under environmental impacts. Using a combination of morphological and biochemical indices the methodology and strategy of physiological-biochemical monitoring of the condition of fur animals in zooculture were developed. In 1987, the Laboratory of Fur Animal Physiology was converted into the Laboratory of Animal Ecological Physiology. Major contributions to the development of the laboratory have been made by Prof. N.N. Tyutyunnik (headed the lab in 1987-2008), T.N. Ilyina, L.K. Kozhevnikova, G.G. Petrova, L.B. Uzenbaeva, V.A. Ilyukha (Lab Head since 2008).

Functioning purposes

Current research at the laboratory is centered around the study of the physiological and biochemical adaptations of mammals to natural and anthropogenic factors, identification of patterns in the functioning of organs and systems during the adaptations, development of the theory to explain the formation of adaptive strategies in animals based on integrated studied in ecology, behaviour, physiology, morphology, and biochemistry.

Major research trends

The main lines of studies today are:
comparative analysis of physiological functions in naturally hypoxia/reoxygenation-adapted mammals of different taxonomic groups between species and through the ontogeny;
investigation of the effect of light on the condition of different systems in the mammalian organism, the role of melatonin and its receptors in responses to modified light settings;
analysis of the morphofunctional characteristics of blood leucocytes in mammals from natural populations and in farmed animals;
investigation of the effects of bioactive substances on different functional systems of the organism to optimize the physiological condition and promote the fitness of domesticated mammals.


1. Grant from the Federal Budget 50.1 (0221-2014-0001) Physiological and biochemical adaptation of mammals in their natural habitat and domestication.
2. Project RFBR 16-34-00389 mol_a "The role of the pineal gland and melatonin in the mechanisms of mammals adaptation to a variety of climatic and geographical conditions".
3. Project RFBR 16-34-00283 mol_a " Comparative study of the physiological mechanisms of adaptation to intermittent hypoxia-reoxygenation in semi-aquatic and hibernating mammals".

Main activity results

1. The features of the effect of different doses of vitamins A and E on the morphology of peripheral blood lymphocytes of blue foxes (Alopex lagopus L.) was revealed. Large doses of vitamins cause a significant reduction in morphometric parameters in a relatively smooth forms of lymphocytes, and vitamin A leads to changes in cell surface microrelief. The impact can be due to the species susceptibility to the vitamins A and E, structural and functional properties of lymphocytes membranes.
Polar fox

2. Pronounced leukopenia during hibernation was found in the bats (Chiroptera) of Karelia brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritis), Brandts bat (Myotis brandtii) and northern bat (Eptesicus nilssoni). A higher count of lymphocytes, eosinophils and basophils was revealed in the northern bat distinguished by increased cold resistance versus the Brandts and brown long-eared bats. The differences in the leukocyte differential counts may be due to biological, ecological and physiological peculiarities of the species studied.

3. Investigation of wild mammal of different ecogenesis in European North - representatives of order insectivorous (Insectivora), rodents (Rodentia) and Bats (Chiroptera) has shown that in adaptation to hypoxia-reoxygenation (semi-aquatic, ground-burrowing and hibernating species) are involved antioxidant enzymes and LDH isoenzymes.

4. It is shown that the American mink (Mustela vison Schr, 1777) long-term (17 generations) experimental selection for behavior (aggressive and tame) leads to changes in the blood - the animals are significantly differ in content of various granulocytes types in the peripheral blood (eosinophils, neutrophils and basophils). Breeding for tame behavior leads to yuvenilization hematopoietic function. (In cooperation with the lab. Genetics, fur and farm animals breeding of Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences).

5. Analysis of the antioxidant system LDH isozyme spectra in the organs of hibernating and reduce the body temperature small mammals - birch mice and bats, revealed a number of physiological and biochemical adaptations related to the process of hypoxia-reoxygenation and observed in the life cycle of these species. The maximum change in the studied parameters in hibernating species were found in the heart muscle and kidney.

6. In the absence of photoperiod (at constant light and light deprivation) during the prepubertal period only physiological processes that are subject to circadian rhythms are affected.

International cooperation

University of Agriculture in Krakow, Poland
M. Lis and S. Lapinsky from University of Agriculture in Krakow with laboratory staff

Dalian University of Technology, China
China China2
V.A. Ilyukha meeting with teachers and students of the Dalian University of Technology and the Chinese fur farmers

Applied works

The study of biological active substances of wood greens coniferous effect on adult females in the reproductive period was conducted. It was found that the use of the substances increases the number of females successfully whelp, reduce kits mortality, increase number of kits per female as compared with the control group. Substances have significant growth promoting effect on kits. (In cooperation with the lab. Forest biotechnology, Forest research Institute of the Karelian research centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences)

Application of the research results

2012 The database "Morphological and functional parameters of blood of mammals in nature and zooculture State registration N 2012620407, 04.05.2012. Authors: Kizhina A.G., Uzenbaeva L.B., Hizhkin E.A.
2013 The database "State of the antioxidant system in mammals of different ecogenesis under the influence of environmental factors State registration N 2013621172, 17.09.2013 Authors: Hizhkin E.A., Antonova E.P., Ilyina T.N., Ilyukha V.A.
2013 The database "Electronic Atlas of mammals blood cells. Reference and methodological guidance" State registration N 2013621462, 26.11.2013 Authors: L.B. Uzenbaeva, A.G. Kizhina, V.A. Ilyukha, E.F. Pechorina
2014 The patent for the invention "Method for feeding fur animals" Authors: Chernobrovkina N.P., Robonen E.V., Makarova T.N., Unzhakov A.R., Tyutyunnik N.N. Uzenbaeva L.B., Baishnikova I.V. Priority on 25.07.2013 registration number 2013134801, registered 18.12.2014 2540354.
2015 The database "Digestive enzymes in mammals with different ecological specialization" State registration N 2015620061, 13.01.2015 Authors: Hizhkin E.A., Morozov A.V.
2015 The database Chronotypes, sleep indicators and academic performance in children and adolescents in Petrozavodsk State registration N 2015621488, 24.09.2015 Authors: Kolomeychuk S.N., Hizhkin E.A.


  • November 20 - 25, 2017
    International conference "Young biologists science Week-2017"
  • Staff

    Senior Researcher, Cand. (PhD) of Biology
    Senior Researcher, Cand. (PhD) of Biology
    Senior Researcher, Cand. (PhD) of Biology
    Senior Researcher, Cand. (PhD) of Biology
    Senior Researcher, Cand. (PhD) of Biology
    Leading Biologist
    Leading Biologist
    Leading Biologist
    Researcher, Cand. (PhD) of Biology
    PhD student, Leading Biologist in the Karelian Research Centre of the RAS

    Contact information

    Official title: Institute of Biology of the Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences
    Address: 184910, Petrozavodsk, Pushkinskaya st., 11
    Contact phone(s): +7(8142)57-31-07
    Fax: +7(8142)76-98-10