Article

Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 157, Issue 5, pp 607-614

First online:

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

  • G. C. WhittowAffiliated withDepartment of Physiology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii
  • , T. N. PettitAffiliated withDepartment of Physiology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii
  • , R. A. AckermanAffiliated withDepartment of Physiology, Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, State University of New York
  • , C. V. PaganelliAffiliated withDepartment of Physiology, Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, State University of New York

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Summary

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.