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A first look at the metabolic rate of Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus) in the Canadian Arctic


Ste-Marie, E and Watanabe, YY and Semmens, JM and Marcoux, M and Hussey, NE, A first look at the metabolic rate of Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus) in the Canadian Arctic, Scientific Reports, 10, (1) Article 19297. ISSN 2045-2322 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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© The Author(s) 2020. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, ( which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41598-020-76371-0


Metabolic rate is intricately linked to the ecology of organisms and can provide a framework to study the behaviour, life history, population dynamics, and trophic impact of a species. Acquiring measures of metabolic rate, however, has proven difficult for large water-breathing animals such as sharks, greatly limiting our understanding of the energetic lives of these highly threatened and ecologically important fish. Here, we provide the first estimates of resting and active routine metabolic rate for the longest lived vertebrate, the Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus). Estimates were acquired through field respirometry conducted on relatively large-bodied sharks (33–126 kg), including the largest individual shark studied via respirometry. We show that despite recording very low whole-animal resting metabolic rates for this species, estimates are within the confidence intervals predicted by derived interspecies allometric and temperature scaling relationships, suggesting this species may not be unique among sharks in this respect. Additionally, our results do not support the theory of metabolic cold adaptation which assumes that polar species maintain elevated metabolic rates to cope with the challenges of life at extreme cold temperatures.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:metabolic rate, Greenland shark, Somniosus microcephalus
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine systems and management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Semmens, JM (Professor Jayson Semmens)
ID Code:143930
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2021-04-12
Last Modified:2021-05-26
Downloads:17 View Download Statistics

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