An increase in minimum metabolic rate and not activity explains field metabolic rate changes in a breeding seabird

Green, J.A., Aitken-Simpson, E.J., White, C.R., Bunce, A., Butler, P.J. and Frappell, P.B. 2013, An increase in minimum metabolic rate and not activity explains field metabolic rate changes in a breeding seabird, Journal of experimental biology, vol. 216, no. 9, pp. 1726-1735, doi: 10.1242/jeb.085092.

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Title An increase in minimum metabolic rate and not activity explains field metabolic rate changes in a breeding seabird
Author(s) Green, J.A.
Aitken-Simpson, E.J.
White, C.R.
Bunce, A.
Butler, P.J.
Frappell, P.B.
Journal name Journal of experimental biology
Volume number 216
Issue number 9
Start page 1726
End page 1735
Total pages 10
Publisher Company of Biologists
Place of publication Cambridge, England
Publication date 2013
ISSN 0022-0949
Keyword(s) basal metabolic rate
heart rate method
seasonal change
Summary The field metabolic rate (FMR) of a free-ranging animal can be considered as the sum of its maintenance costs (minimum metabolic rate, MMR) and additional costs associated with thermoregulation, digestion, production and activity. However, the relationships between FMR and BMR and how they relate to behaviour and extrinsic influences is not clear. In seabirds, FMR has been shown to increase during the breeding season. This is presumed to be the result of an increase in foraging activity, stimulated by increased food demands from growing chicks, but few studies have investigated in detail the factors that underlie these increases. We studied free-ranging Australasian gannets (Morus serrator) throughout their 5 month breeding season, and evaluated FMR, MMR and activity-related metabolic costs on a daily basis using the heart rate method. In addition, we simultaneously recorded behaviour (flying and diving) in the same individuals. FMR increased steadily throughout the breeding season, increasing by 11% from the incubation period to the long chick-brooding period. However, this was not accompanied by either an increase in flying or diving behaviour, or an increase in the energetic costs of activity. Instead, the changes in FMR could be explained exclusively by a progressive increase in MMR. Seasonal changes in MMR could be due to a change in body composition or a decrease in body condition associated with changing the allocation of resources between provisioning adults and growing chicks. Our study highlights the importance of measuring physiological parameters continuously in free-ranging animals in order to understand fully the mechanisms underpinning seasonal changes in physiology and behaviour.
Language eng
DOI 10.1242/jeb.085092
Field of Research 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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