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Maximum running speed of captive bar-headed geese is unaffected by severe hypoxia

Citation

Hawkes, LA and Butler, PJ and Frappell, PB and Meir, JU and Milsom, WK and Scott, GR and Bishop, CM, Maximum running speed of captive bar-headed geese is unaffected by severe hypoxia, PLoS ONE, 9, (4) Article e94105. ISSN 1932-6203 (2014) [Refereed Article]


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Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094015

Abstract

While bar-headed geese are renowned for migration at high altitude over the Himalayas, previous work on captive birds suggested that these geese are unable to maintain rates of oxygen consumption while running in severely hypoxic conditions. To investigate this paradox, we re-examined the running performance and heart rates of bar-headed geese and barnacle geese (a low altitude species) during exercise in hypoxia. Bar-headed geese (n=7) were able to run at maximum speeds (determined in normoxia) for 15 minutes in severe hypoxia (7% O2; simulating the hypoxia at 8500 m) with mean heart rates of 4668 beats min−1. Barnacle geese (n=10), on the other hand, were unable to complete similar trials in severe hypoxia and their mean heart rate (316 beats.min−1) was significantly lower than bar-headed geese. In bar-headed geese, partial pressures of oxygen and carbon dioxide in both arterial and mixed venous blood were significantly lower during hypoxia than normoxia, both at rest and while running. However, measurements of blood lactate in bar-headed geese suggested that anaerobic metabolism was not a major energy source during running in hypoxia. We combined these data with values taken from the literature to estimate (i) oxygen supply, using the Fick equation and (ii) oxygen demand using aerodynamic theory for bar-headed geese flying aerobically, and under their own power, at altitude. This analysis predicts that the maximum altitude at which geese can transport enough oxygen to fly without environmental assistance ranges from 6,800 m to 8,900 m altitude, depending on the parameters used in the model but that such flights should be rare.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Vertebrate biology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Frappell, PB (Professor Peter Frappell)
ID Code:100304
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:23
Deposited By:Research Division
Deposited On:2015-05-11
Last Modified:2017-11-01
Downloads:217 View Download Statistics

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