Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Estimating Field Metabolic Rates of pinnipeds: Doubly-labelled water gets the seal of approval

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

C Sparling, David Thompson, Michael Andre Fedak, Susan Gallon, John Speakman

School/Research organisations

Abstract

1. Measures of the field metabolic rate of marine mammals are extremely difficult to make but they are essential for assessing the impacts of marine mammals on prey populations, and for assessing dive performance in relation to aerobic limits.

2. The doubly labelled water (DLW) method is an isotope-based technique for the estimation of the CO2 production, and hence energy expenditure, of free-living animals. Estimates of field metabolic rate (FMR) from DLW in pinnipeds to date are extremely high and at the upper range for most mammals. DLW has previously been validated in pinnipeds but logistical difficulties meant for these validations were less than ideal, and it has been hypothesised that DLW may overestimate FMR in these animals.

3. To test this hypothesis, we used DLW and simultaneous open-flow respirometry to determine the daily energy expenditures (DEE) of wild grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) held temporarily in a captive facility, during 4-5 days of simulated foraging at sea. Comparing DEE from DLW and respirometry, we found that DLW predicted DEE accurately (average difference between the two estimates was 0.7% SD = 17% n = 31), but as with validations of other species there was a large range of individual errors (from -39% to +44%).

4. The results dispel the doubts surrounding the use of DLW as a field method for estimating energy expenditure in grey seals, and by implication other pinnipeds, and simultaneously open a series of questions about their ability to maintain surprisingly high metabolic rates for protracted periods.

5. We make a number of recommendations for future studies of pinniped FMR using DLW. We suggest use of the Speakman two-pool calculation will be most appropriate. Studies should aim for enrichment levels as high as economically feasible but to at least 150 p.p.m. above background for the O-2 isotope. Measurement periods should be extended between one and two half-lives (5-10 days for a typical foraging seal). We also encourage the calculation and presentation of estimates of precision in estimates of FMR.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-254
Number of pages10
JournalFunctional Ecology
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008

    Research areas

  • grey seal, doubly labeled water, energetics, respirometry, isotopes, DAILY ENERGY-EXPENDITURE, ANTARCTIC FUR SEALS, TOTAL-BODY WATER, CARBON-DIOXIDE PRODUCTION, FREE-LIVING ANIMALS, CO2 PRODUCTION, HEART-RATE, FORAGING ENERGETICS, PHOCA-VITULINA, HARBOR SEAL

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. How many seals were there? The global shelf loss during the Last Glacial Maximum and its effect on the size and distribution of grey seal populations

    Boehme, L., Thompson, D., Fedak, M., Bowen, D., Hammill, M. & Stenson, G., 26 Dec 2012, In : PLoS One. 7, 12, e53000.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Sink fast and swim harder! Round-trip cost-of-transport for buoyant divers

    Miller, P., Biuw, M., Watanabe, Y. Y., Thompson, D. & Fedak, M., Oct 2012, In : Journal of Experimental Biology. 215, 20, p. 3622-3630 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Behavioural ontogeny of bearded seals Erignathus barbatus through the first year of life

    Hamilton, C. D., Lydersen, C., Fedak, M. A., Freitas, C., Hindell, M. A. & Kovacs, K. M., 18 Jul 2019, In : Marine Ecology Progress Series.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Animal-borne telemetry: an integral component of the ocean observing toolkit

    Harcourt, R., Martins Sequeira, A. M., Zhang, X., Rouquet, F., Komatsu, K., Heupel, M., McMahon, C. R., Whoriskey, F. G., Meekan, M., Carroll, G., Brodie, S., Simpfendorfer, C., Hindell, M. A., Jonsen, I. D., Costa, D. P., Block, B. A., Muelbert, M. M., Woodward, B. E., Weises, M. J., Aarestrup, K. & 41 othersBiuw, M., Boehme, L., Bograd, S. J., Cazau, D., Charrassin, J-B., Cooke, S., Cowley, P. D., Nico De Bruyn, P. J., Du Dot, T. J., Duarte, C. M., EguÍluz, V. M., Ferreira, L., Fernández-Garcia, J., Goetz, K., Goto, Y., Guinet, C., Hammill, M., Hays, G. C., Hazen, E., Huckstadt, L., Huveneers, C., Iverson, S., Jaaman, S. A., Kittiwattanawong, K., Kovacs, K., Lydersen, C., Moltmann, T., Naruoka, M., Phillips, L., Picard, B., Queiroz, N., Reverdin, G., Sato, K., Sims, D. W., Thorstad, E. B., Thums, M., Treasure, A. M., Trites, A., Williams, G. D., Yonehara, Y. & Fedak, M. A., 26 Jun 2019, In : Frontiers in Marine Science. 6, 21 p., 326.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  5. Shining new light on mammalian diving physiology using wearable near-infrared spectroscopy

    McKnight, J. C., Bennett, K., Bronkhorst, M., Russell, D. JF., Balfour, S., Milne, R., Bivins, M., Moss, S. E. W., Colier, W., Hall, A. J. & Thompson, D., 18 Jun 2019, In : PLoS Biology. 17, 6, 20 p., e3000306.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Foraging rates of ram-filtering North Atlantic right whales

    van der Hoop, J. M., Nousek-McGregor, A. E., Nowacek, D. P., Parks, S. E., Tyack, P. & Madsen, P. T., 10 Jun 2019, In : Functional Ecology. Early View, 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Morphological traits can track coral reef responses to the Anthropocene

    Zawada, K. J. A., Madin, J. S., Baird, A. H., Bridge, T. C. L. & Dornelas, M., 7 Jun 2019, In : Functional Ecology. 33, 6, p. 962-975

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  3. High suckling rates and acoustic crypsis of humpback whale neonates maximise potential for mother–calf energy transfer

    Videsen, S. K. A., Bejder, L., Johnson, M. & Madsen, P. T., Aug 2017, In : Functional Ecology. 31, 8, p. 1561-1573

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Orientation to the sun by animals and its interaction with crypsis

    Penacchio, O., Cuthill, I., Lovell, P. G., Ruxton, G. D. & Harris, J., Sep 2015, In : Functional Ecology. 29, 9, p. 1165-1177

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 400423