© 2020 Copyright 2020 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Many animals hibernate to survive winter conditions, however, arousal from hibernation generates reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can cause oxidative stress. Dietary antioxidants, like carotenoids, may reduce oxidative stress during arousal from hibernation, and assist with post-hibernation recovery and performance. We tested the effect of carotenoid supplementation on exercise performance (escape-response and activity) in southern corroboree frogs (Pseudophryne corroboree) following initial arousal from hibernation (24-48 h post-arousal) and post-recovery (six weeks post-hibernation). Carotenoids did not affect performance following initial arousal. However, carotenoids improved escape-response six weeks post-hibernation, with carotenoid-supplemented frogs hopping faster and further in their first hop than unsupplemented frogs. Carotenoids also affected post-recovery activity, with carotenoid-supplemented frogs being less mobile than unsupplemented frogs. Carotenoids may affect post-hibernation performance by reducing oxidative stress or by increasing diet quality. Our study provides novel evidence for an effect of carotenoids on performance post-hibernation and highlights the importance of nutrition to hibernating organisms.
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