Metabolic heat loss in southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) differs with stage of moult and between habitats

Paterson, W. D., Chaise, L. L., McKnight, C., Currie, J. I., Thompson, D., Ancel, A., Gilbert, C. and McCafferty, D. J. (2022) Metabolic heat loss in southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) differs with stage of moult and between habitats. Journal of Thermal Biology, 104, 103183. (doi: 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2021.103183) (PMID:35180962)

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Abstract

The moult in southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) represents an especially energetically demanding period during which seals must maintain high skin temperature to facilitate complete replacement of body fur and upper dermis. In this study, heat flux from the body surface was measured on 18 moulting southern elephant seals to estimate metabolic heat loss in three different habitats (beach, wallow and vegetation). Temperature data loggers were also deployed on 10 southern elephant seals to monitor skin surface temperature. On average, heat loss of animals on the beach was greater than in wallows or vegetation, and greater in wallows than in vegetation. Heat loss across all habitats during the moult equated to 1.8 x resting metabolic rate (RMR). The greatest heat loss of animals was recorded in the beach habitat during the late moult, that represented 2.3 x RMR. Mass loss was 3.6 ± 0.3 kg day-1, resulting in changes in body condition as the moult progressed. As body condition declined, skin surface temperature also decreased, suggesting that as animals approached the end of the moult blood flow to the skin surface was no longer required for hair growth.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding: The overall study was funded by the Institut Polaire Français PaulEmile Victor (IPEV Program 1037 HENERGES), a doctoral fellowship (LC) of French Ministry of Higher Education and Research (Graduate School 227 of National Museum of Natural History, University Pierre and Marie Curie), a doctoral fellowship (WP) from the University of St Andrews and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) and equipment funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McCafferty, Dr Dominic
Authors: Paterson, W. D., Chaise, L. L., McKnight, C., Currie, J. I., Thompson, D., Ancel, A., Gilbert, C., and McCafferty, D. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Journal of Thermal Biology
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0306-4565
ISSN (Online):1879-0992
Published Online:05 January 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © Crown 2022
First Published:First published in Journal of Thermal Biology 104: 103183
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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