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Regional variability in diving physiology and behavior in a widely distributed air-breathing marine predator, the South American sea lion Otaria byronia

Hückstädt, Luis A., Tift, Michael S., Riet-Sapriza, Federico, Franco-Trecu, Valentina, Baylis, Alastair M. M., Orben, Rachael A., Arnould, John, Sepulveda, Maritza, Santos-Carvallo, Macarena, Burns, Jennifer M. and Costa, Daniel P. 2016, Regional variability in diving physiology and behavior in a widely distributed air-breathing marine predator, the South American sea lion Otaria byronia, Journal of experimental biology, vol. 219, no. 15, pp. 2320-2330, doi: 10.1242/jeb.138677.

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Title Regional variability in diving physiology and behavior in a widely distributed air-breathing marine predator, the South American sea lion Otaria byronia
Author(s) Hückstädt, Luis A.
Tift, Michael S.
Riet-Sapriza, Federico
Franco-Trecu, Valentina
Baylis, Alastair M. M.
Orben, Rachael A.
Arnould, JohnORCID iD for Arnould, John orcid.org/0000-0003-1124-9330
Sepulveda, Maritza
Santos-Carvallo, Macarena
Burns, Jennifer M.
Costa, Daniel P.
Journal name Journal of experimental biology
Volume number 219
Issue number 15
Start page 2320
End page 2330
Total pages 11
Publisher Company of Biologists
Place of publication Cambridge, Eng.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 0022-0949
1477-9145
Keyword(s) aerobic dive limit
diving
oxygen stores
pinniped
Summary Our understanding of how air-breathing marine predators cope with environmental variability is limited by our inadequate knowledge of their ecological and physiological parameters. Due to their wide distribution along both coasts of the sub-continent, South American sea lions (Otaria byronia) provide a valuable opportunity to study the behavioral and physiological plasticity of a marine predator in different environments. We measured the oxygen stores and diving behavior of South American sea lions throughout most of its range, allowing us to demonstrate that diving ability and behavior vary across its range. We found no significant differences in mass-specific blood volumes of sea lions among field sites and a negative relationship between mass-specific oxygen storage and size, which suggests that exposure to different habitats and geographical locations better explains oxygen storage capacities and diving capability in South American sea lions than body size alone. The largest animals in our study (individuals from Uruguay) were the most shallow and short duration divers, and had the lowest mass-specific total body oxygen stores, while the deepest and longest duration divers (individuals from Southern Chile) had significantly larger mass-specific oxygen stores, despite being much smaller animals.Our study suggests that the physiology of air-breathing diving predators is not fixed, but that it can be adjusted, to a certain extent, depending on the ecological setting and or habitat. These adjustments can be thought of as a "training effect" as the animal continues to push its physiological capacity through greater hypoxic exposure, its breath holding capacity increases.
Language eng
DOI 10.1242/jeb.138677
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
060203 Ecological Physiology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, The Company of Biologists
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30084343

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