[MARMAM] New publication: Why Baja? A bioenergetic model for comparing metabolic rates and thermoregulatory costs of gray whale calves (Eschrichtius robustus)

James Sumich jlsumich1 at gmail.com
Wed Jan 27 09:26:40 PST 2021


I’m pleased to announce the publication of my new paper:

Sumich JL. Why Baja? A bioenergetic model for comparing metabolic rates and thermoregulatory costs of gray whale calves (Eschrichtius robustus). Mar Mam Sci. 2021;1–18.

ABSTRACT

A bioenergetic model is developed from empirically derived equations of morphometric, ventilatory, and thermoregulatory variables to compare estimated field metabolic rates (FMR) of gray whale calves to estimates of unregulated body heat losses and consequent required thermogenesis at birth, natal lagoon departure, and weaning.  Estimates of FMR are based on rates of oxygen consumption.  Body surface and ventilatory heat fluxes are evaluated separately, then combined to estimate minimum total heat losses from birth to weaning at three ambient water temperature regimes typical of winter natal lagoons and Oregon coastal waters and arctic conditions during summer. 

            Modelled heat losses of neonates in winter lagoons are half their estimated mean FMR.  Neonates in good body condition appear to be capable of tolerating heat losses experienced in 10 ° C water without additional thermogenic activities above their estimated resting metabolic rates.  This study provides new evidence that no thermoregulatory advantage accrues to neonates or to their mothers by being born in warm winter natal lagoons or by remaining there several weeks longer than other gray whales.  Consequently, avoidance or reduced risk of killer whale predation seems a more likely candidate than reduced heat loss as the principal fitness benefit of low-latitude winter migrations.

Link to the paper:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mms.12778 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mms.12778>
 Please feel free to contact me: jlsumich1 at gmail.com <mailto:jlsumich1 at gmail.com>
 Jim


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