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Does hyperthermia constrain flight duration in a short-distance migrant?


Guillemette, M and Woakes, AJ and Larochelle, J and Polymeropoulos, ET and Granbois, J-M and Butler, PJ and Pelletier, D and Frappell, PB and Portugal, SJ, Does hyperthermia constrain flight duration in a short-distance migrant?, Royal Society of London. Philosophical Transactions. Biological Sciences, 371, (1704) Article 20150386. ISSN 0962-8436 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 The Author(s)

DOI: doi:10.1098/rstb.2015.0386


While some migratory birds perform non-stop flights of over 11 000 km, many species only spend around 15% of the day in flight during migration, posing a question as to why flight times for many species are so short. Here, we test the idea that hyperthermia might constrain flight duration (FD) in a short-distance migrant using remote biologging technology to measure heart rate, hydrostatic pressure and body temperature in 19 migrating eider ducks (Somateria mollissima), a short-distance migrant. Our results reveal a stop-and-go migration strategy where migratory flights were frequent (14 flights day−1) and short (15.7 min), together with the fact that body temperature increases by 1C, on average, during such flights, which equates to a rate of heat storage index (HSI) of 4C h−1. Furthermore, we could not find any evidence that short flights were limited by heart rate, together with the fact that the numerous stops could not be explained by the need to feed, as the frequency of dives and the time spent feeding were comparatively small during the migratory period. We thus conclude that hyperthermia appears to be the predominant determinant of the observed migration strategy, and suggest that such a physiological limitation to FD may also occur in other species.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ecology/physiology of flight, biomechanics
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Ecological physiology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Polymeropoulos, ET (Dr Elias Polymeropoulos)
UTAS Author:Frappell, PB (Professor Peter Frappell)
ID Code:110988
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:28
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2016-08-25
Last Modified:2017-11-02

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