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Title: Hatchling Crocodiles Maintain a Plateau of Thermal Independence for Activity, but at What Cost?
Contributor(s): Campbell, Hamish  (author); Sissa, Ornella (author); Dwyer, Ross G (author); Franklin, Craig E (author)
Publication Date: 2013
DOI: 10.1670/11-160
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Abstract: Crocodilians show a broad plateau of thermal independence for sustained activity. It has been hypothesized that this reflects a performance breadth necessary for carrying out ecologically important behaviors across a range of ambient temperatures. Here, we swam Saltwater Crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) in a thermally controlled flume at 23, 28, and 338C and recorded oxygen consumption (VO2) before and after swimming activity. Ambient temperature altered spontaneous VO2 in a positively linear manner, but there was no significant difference in the distance the crocodiles would swim voluntarily. Excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) increased 10-fold between swimming trials at 28 and 338C, and the anaerobic debt took 3 times longer to clear at the higher temperature. The results show that, although 'C. porosus' demonstrated a broad thermal breadth for swimming performance, a higher degree of anaerobic metabolism was required to sustain activity at the upper limits of the thermal plateau. Why crocodiles should choose to sustain an anerobic debt rather than reduce their swimming activity when exposed to high experimental temperatures is perplexing, but the study findings provide a physiological rationale for some of the diel and seasonal activity patterns observed in wild crocodilians.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Herpetology, 47(1), p. 11-14
Publisher: Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1937-2418
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
060801 Animal Behaviour
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 410407 Wildlife and habitat management
310901 Animal behaviour
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 189999 Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article

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