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Moving with the beat: heart rate and visceral temperature of free-swimming and feeding bluefin tuna


Clark, TD and Taylor, BD and Seymour, RS and Ellis, D and Buchanan, J and Fitzgibbon, QP and Frappell, PB, Moving with the beat: heart rate and visceral temperature of free-swimming and feeding bluefin tuna, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 275, (1653) pp. 2841-2850. ISSN 0962-8452 (2008) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2008 The Royal Society

DOI: doi:10.1098/rspb.2008.0743


Owing to the inherent difficulties of studying bluefin tuna, nothing is known of the cardiovascular function of free-swimming fish. Here, we surgically implanted newly designed data loggers into the visceral cavity of juvenile southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) to measure changes in the heart rate (fH) and visceral temperature (TV) during a two-week feeding regime in sea pens at Port Lincoln, Australia. Fish ranged in body mass from 10 to 21 kg, and water temperature remained at 1819C. Pre-feeding fH typically ranged from 20 to 50 beats min−1. Each feeding bout (meal sizes 27% of tuna body mass) was characterized by increased levels of activity and fH (up to 130 beats min−1), and a decrease in TV from approximately 20 to 18C as cold sardines were consumed. The feeding bout was promptly followed by a rapid increase in TV, which signified the beginning of the heat increment of feeding (HIF). The time interval between meal consumption and the completion of HIF ranged from 10 to 24 hours and was strongly correlated with ration size. Although fH generally decreased after its peak during the feeding bout, it remained elevated during the digestive period and returned to routine levels on a similar, but slightly earlier, temporal scale to TV. These data imply a large contribution of fH to the increase in circulatory oxygen transport that is required for digestion. Furthermore, these data oppose the contention that maximum fH is exceptional in bluefin tuna compared with other fishes, and so it is likely that enhanced cardiac stroke volume and blood oxygen carrying capacity are the principal factors allowing superior rates of circulatory oxygen transport in tuna.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:tuna, heart rate, digestion, heat increment of feeding, specific dynamic action, Thunnus maccoyii, southern bluefin tuna, cardiovascular
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Aquaculture
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - aquaculture
Objective Field:Fisheries - aquaculture not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Fitzgibbon, QP (Associate Professor Quinn Fitzgibbon)
ID Code:94749
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:33
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2014-09-16
Last Modified:2014-10-07

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