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