[MARMAM] New publication: Cognitive control of heart rate in diving harbor porpoises

Siri Elmegaard sirielme at gmail.com
Wed Nov 23 09:24:26 PST 2016

Dear MARMAM readers,

We are happy to announce the publication of the following paper in Current

*Cognitive control of heart rate in diving harbor porpoises*
Siri L. Elmegaard, Mark Johnson, Peter T. Madsen, Birgitte I. McDonald
Birgitte I. McDonald
Search for articles by this author

   - Zoophysiology, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, 8000
   Aarhus C, Denmark

   - Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, California State University, Moss
   Landing, CA 95039-9647, USA

URL: http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(16)31205-2
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2016.10.020

Marine mammals have adapted to forage while holding their breath in a suite
of aquatic habitats from shallow rivers to deep oceans. The key to tolerate
such extensive apnea is the dive response, which comprises bradycardia and
peripheral vasoconstriction. Although initially considered an
all-or-nothing reflex, numerous studies on freely diving marine mammals
have revealed substantial dynamics of the dive response to meet the
impending dive demands of depth, duration and exercise. Such adjustments
are not only autonomic responses, but are under acute cognitive control in
pinnipeds living amphibiously on land and in water. The fully aquatic
cetaceans would similarly benefit from cognitive cardiovascular control;
however, even though they have exercise-modulated diving bradycardia and
full voluntary control of their respiratory system to such extent that even
mild anesthesia often leads to asphyxiation, cognitive cardiovascular
control has never been demonstrated for this large group of marine mammals.
To address this, we tested the hypothesis that porpoises modulate
bradycardia according to anticipated dive duration. Two harbor porpoises,
instrumented with ECG recording tags, were trained to perform 20- and
80-second stationary dives, during which they adjusted bradycardia to the
anticipated duration, demonstrating cognitive control of their dive
The paper is available from the Marine Bioacoustics Lab page:

Best regards,
Siri Elmegaard
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/marmam/attachments/20161123/859576c2/attachment.html>

More information about the MARMAM mailing list