[MARMAM] New review paper on marine mammal thermoregulation

Arina Favilla arina.favilla at gmail.com
Wed Dec 22 13:28:18 PST 2021

Dear MARMAM community,

My coauthors and I are excited to announce that our recent review paper on
marine mammal thermoregulation published in Temperature is now open access
and can be found here:

Arina B. Favilla, Markus Horning & Daniel P. Costa (2021) Advances in
thermal physiology of diving marine mammals: The dual role of peripheral
perfusion, Temperature, DOI: 10.1080/23328940.2021.1988817


The ability to maintain a high core body temperature is a defining
characteristic of all mammals, yet their diverse habitats present disparate
thermal challenges that have led to specialized adaptations. Marine mammals
inhabit a highly conductive environment. Their thermoregulatory
capabilities far exceed our own despite having limited avenues of heat
transfer. Additionally, marine mammals must balance their thermoregulatory
demands with those associated with diving (i.e. oxygen conservation), both
of which rely on cardiovascular adjustments. This review presents the
progress and novel efforts in investigating marine mammal thermoregulation,
with a particular focus on the role of peripheral perfusion. Early studies
in marine mammal thermal physiology were primarily performed in the
laboratory and provided foundational knowledge through in vivo experiments
and ex vivo measurements. However, the ecological relevance of these
findings remains unknown because comparable efforts on free-ranging animals
have been limited. We demonstrate the utility of biologgers for studying
their thermal adaptations in the context in which they evolved. Our
preliminary results from freely diving northern elephant seals (*Mirounga
angustirostris*) reveal blubber’s dynamic nature and the complex
interaction between thermoregulation and the dive response due to the dual
role of peripheral perfusion. Further exploring the potential use of
biologgers for measuring physiological variables relevant to thermal
physiology in other marine mammal species will enhance our understanding of
the relative importance of morphology, physiology, and behavior for
thermoregulation and overall homeostasis.

Please feel free to contact me at afavilla at ucsc.edu.

Arina Favilla
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