[MARMAM] New publication on respiratory sinus arrhythmia in bottlenose dolphins

Ashley Blawas ashley.blawas at duke.edu
Mon Jan 11 07:41:55 PST 2021

Hi MARMAM-ers!

My co-authors and I are pleased to share our recently published article:

Respiratory sinus arrhythmia and submersion bradycardia in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).

Ashley M. Blawas, Douglas P. Nowacek, Austin S. Allen, Julie Rocho-Levine, Andreas Fahlman.

Journal of Experimental Biology 2021 224: jeb234096 doi: 10.1242/jeb.234096.

Link: https://jeb.biologists.org/content/224/1/jeb234096

Abstract: Among the many factors that influence the cardiovascular adjustments of marine mammals is the act of respiration at the surface, which facilitates rapid gas exchange and tissue re-perfusion between dives. We measured heart rate (fH) in six adult male bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) spontaneously breathing at the surface to quantify the relationship between respiration and fH, and compared this with fH during submerged breath-holds. We found that dolphins exhibit a pronounced respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) during surface breathing, resulting in a rapid increase in fH after a breath followed by a gradual decrease over the following 15–20 s to a steady fH that is maintained until the following breath. RSA resulted in a maximum instantaneous fH (ifH) of 87.4±13.6 beats min−1 and a minimum ifH of 56.8±14.8 beats min−1, and the degree of RSA was positively correlated with the inter-breath interval (IBI). The minimum ifH during 2 min submerged breath-holds where dolphins exhibited submersion bradycardia (36.4±9.0 beats min−1) was lower than the minimum ifH observed during an average IBI; however, during IBIs longer than 30 s, the minimum ifH (38.7±10.6 beats min−1) was not significantly different from that during 2 min breath-holds. These results demonstrate that the fH patterns observed during submerged breath-holds are similar to those resulting from RSA during an extended IBI. Here, we highlight the importance of RSA in influencing fH variability and emphasize the need to understand its relationship to submersion bradycardia.

A limited number of free downloads of the PDF may be found here: http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/reprint/224/1/jeb234096.pdf?ijkey=2TgUIdT4w7lHu5V&keytype=finite

Please feel free to contact me via email with any questions: ashley.blawas at duke.edu<mailto:ashley.blawas at duke.edu>

Ashley Blawas
Ph.D. Student, Marine Science and Conservation
Nicholas School of the Environment
Duke University Marine Lab

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