Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 157, Issue 5, pp 607–614

Temperature regulation in a burrow-nesting tropical seabird, the Wedge-tailed Shearwater (Puffinus pacificus)

  • G. C. Whittow
  • T. N. Pettit
  • R. A. Ackerman
  • C. V. Paganelli

DOI: 10.1007/BF00700981

Cite this article as:
Whittow, G.C., Pettit, T.N., Ackerman, R.A. et al. J Comp Physiol B (1987) 157: 607. doi:10.1007/BF00700981


At low air temperatures (2.3–13.9°C), Wedge-tailed Shearwaters (Puffinus pacificus) shivered and their oxygen consumption increased to as much as 283% of the mean value (0.77 ml O2/g·h) within the thermoneutral zone of air temperature (23–34°C). The minimal thermal conductance of the tissues and plumage was similar to the value predicted from the body mass (320.5 g). The oxygen consumption of the birds within their thermoneutral zone was lower than predictions based on body mass. At elevated air temperatures, the shearwaters panted at respiratory frequencies as high as 260 respirations/min; maximal respiratory frequencies were not invoked until the birds had become hyperthermic. During exposure to a hot environment, the oxygen consumption of the birds increased and in most instances the shearwaters were not able to lose heat equivalent to their concurrent metabolic heat production.

Symbols and abbreviations


basal metabolic rate


total thermal conductance


respiratory frequency


total evaporative water loss


stomach temperature


rectal temperature

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. C. Whittow
    • 1
  • T. N. Pettit
    • 1
  • R. A. Ackerman
    • 2
  • C. V. Paganelli
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Physiology, John A. Burns School of MedicineUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physiology, Schools of Medicine and DentistryState University of New YorkBuffaloUSA
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA