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Physiological response to feeding in little penguins


Green, JA and Frappell, P and Clark, TD and Butler, PJ, Physiological response to feeding in little penguins, Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 79, (6) pp. 1088-1097. ISSN 1522-2152 (2006) [Refereed Article]

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2006 by The University of Chicago

DOI: doi:10.1086/507660


Specific dynamic action (SDA), the increase in metabolic rate above resting levels that accompanies the processes of digestion and assimilation of food, can form a substantial part of the daily energy budget of free-ranging animals. We measured heart rate (fH) and rate of oxygen consumption ( ) in 12 little penguins while they digested a meal of sardines in order to determine whether they show specific dynamic action. In contrast to some studies of other penguin species, little penguins showed a substantial SDA, the magnitude of which was proportional to the size of the meal. The energy utilized in SDA was equivalent to 13.4% of the available energy content of the fish. Furthermore, animals such as penguins that forage in a cold environment will probably expend further energy in heating their food to body temperature to facilitate efficient digestion. It is estimated that this additional energy expenditure was equivalent to 1.6%-2.3% of the available energy content of the fish, depending on the time of year and therefore the temperature of the water. Changes in fH during digestion were qualitatively similar to those in , implying that there were no substantial circulatory adjustments during digestion and that the relationship between fH and in penguins is unaffected by digestive state.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Comparative physiology
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Other animal production and animal primary products
Objective Field:Animal welfare
UTAS Author:Frappell, P (Professor Peter Frappell)
ID Code:68881
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2011-03-29
Last Modified:2012-03-20
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

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