>From: "Basia Przydzial" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: whales metabolism
>Date: Mon, Apr 2, 2001, 12:10 PM
> Dear Dr. Hoyt
> I'm doing a research on whales, And I need to know a plausible method to
> determine a matabolic rate of a whale. I know I need to measure oxygen
> consumption, but could you tell me how this can be done? thank you. Barbara
I have some leads for you, although I can't answer your question directly.
First try searching on the WhaleNet website. Go to:
and try the following key words and phrases:
metabolic, physiology, energy expediture, energy budget, energetics -- all
of which should contribute to a better understanding of marine mammal
In addition here are some references. Some of these scientists below have no
doubt measured or attempted to measure the metabolic rate of a whale,
dolphin or porpoises, so you would mainly need to look at the "materials and
methods" section of their paper to see how they did it. With any luck, this
will answer your question.
Brodie, P.F. 1975. Cetacean energetics, an overview of intraspecific size
variation. Ecology 56:152-161.
Yasui, W.Y. and D.E. Gaskin. 1986. Energy budget of a small cetacean, the
harbor porpoise, Phocoena phocoena. Ophelia 25:183-197.
Huntley, A.C., D.P. Costa, G.A. Worthy and M.A. Castellini
(eds.) Approaches to marine mammal energetics. Society for Marine
Mammalogy, special publication, Allen Press, Lawrence, Kansas.
Most references have to do with seals and research on animals in
captivity. However, the book, The biology of the harbor porpoise 1997.
DeSpil publishers, Woerden, The Netherlands. also had a paper on harbor
Also this may be helpful:
Phocid and cetacean blueprints of muscle metabolism
Hochachka, PW; Foreman, RA III
AF: Author Affiliation
Dep. Zool., Univ. British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
Canadian Journal of Zoology/Revue Canadien de Zoologie [CAN. J.
ZOOL./REV. CAN. ZOOL.], vol. 71, no. 10, pp. 2089-2098, 1993
Large seals, such as northern and southern elephant seals and
Weddell seals, are able to dive for unexpected lengths of time and
to enormous depth. The current dive-duration record is 120 min
(recorded for the southern elephant seal); the current depth
record is 1.5 km (recorded for the northern elephant seal).
Equally striking is the widespread observation that these seals,
when at sea, spend close to 90% of the time submerged and often at
great depth. For practical purposes, these species can be viewed
as true mesopelagic animals when they are at sea. Analysis of
current knowledge indicates that enzyme adaptations in chronic
hypobaric hypoxia are directed mainly towards up-regulation of
metabolic efficiencies. Evidence that similar metabolic
adjustments are utilized by seals was obtained by profiling the
maximum enzyme activities of four phocid species (harbor seal,
Weddell seal, crabeater seal, leopard seal) and one cetacean (fin
whale). In the seals, the patterns obtained were strikingly
similar to those of hypobaric hypoxia adaptations. The extensive
enzyme data obtained on seals, however, showed notably different
patterns from those found in whale muscles. The data from the
large seals were consistent with the concept that low power output
but high-efficiency metabolic functions of skeletal muscles
coupled with inherently low (and potentially further suppressible)
metabolic rates constitute strategic biochemical components in the
design of a mesopelagic mammal.
SL: Summary Language
PY: Publication Year
PT: Publication Type
diving physiology; muscles; metabolism; enzymes; hypoxia;
adaptations; Phocidae; Cetacea; marine mammals
ER: Environmental Regime
TR: ASFA Input Center Number
Q1 01376 Physiology, biochemistry, biophysics; O 1050 Vertebrates,
Urochordates and Cephalochordates
ASFA 1: Biological Sciences & Living Resources; Oceanic Abstracts
AN: Accession Number
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