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Vocal panting: a novel thermoregulatory mechanism for enhancing heat tolerance in a desert-adapted bird

Pessato, Anaïs, McKechnie, Andrew E., Buchanan, Katherine and Mariette, Mylene 2020, Vocal panting: a novel thermoregulatory mechanism for enhancing heat tolerance in a desert-adapted bird, Scientific Reports, vol. 10, doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-75909-6.

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Title Vocal panting: a novel thermoregulatory mechanism for enhancing heat tolerance in a desert-adapted bird
Author(s) Pessato, Anaïs
McKechnie, Andrew E.
Buchanan, KatherineORCID iD for Buchanan, Katherine orcid.org/0000-0002-6648-5819
Mariette, MyleneORCID iD for Mariette, Mylene orcid.org/0000-0003-0567-4111
Journal name Scientific Reports
Volume number 10
Article ID 18914
Total pages 11
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2020-12
ISSN 2045-2322
2045-2322
Summary Animals thriving in hot deserts rely on extraordinary adaptations and thermoregulatory capacities to cope with heat. Uncovering such adaptations, and how they may be favoured by selection, is essential for predicting climate change impacts. Recently, the arid-adapted zebra finch was discovered to program their offspring’s development for heat, by producing ‘heat-calls’ during incubation in hot conditions. Intriguingly, heat-calls always occur during panting; and, strikingly, avian evaporative cooling mechanisms typically involve vibrating an element of the respiratory tract, which could conceivably produce sound. Therefore, we tested whether heat-call emission results from a particular thermoregulatory mechanism increasing the parent’s heat tolerance. We repeatedly measured resting metabolic rate, evaporative water loss (EWL) and heat tolerance in adult wild-derived captive zebra finches (n = 44) at increasing air temperatures up to 44 °C. We found high within-individual repeatability in thermoregulatory patterns, with heat-calling triggered at an individual-specific stage of panting. As expected for thermoregulatory mechanisms, both silent panting and heat-calling significantly increased EWL. However, only heat-calling resulted in greater heat tolerance, demonstrating that “vocal panting” brings a thermoregulatory benefit to the emitter. Our findings therefore not only improve our understanding of the evolution of passerine thermal adaptations, but also highlight a novel evolutionary precursor for acoustic signals.
Language eng
DOI 10.1038/s41598-020-75909-6
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 0608 Zoology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2020, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30145781

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.