Diving through the thermal window: Implications for a warming world

Campbell, Hamish A., Dwyer, Ross G., Gordos, Matthew and Franklin, Craig E. (2010) Diving through the thermal window: Implications for a warming world. Proceedings of The Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 277 1701: 3837-3844. doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.0902

Author Campbell, Hamish A.
Dwyer, Ross G.
Gordos, Matthew
Franklin, Craig E.
Title Diving through the thermal window: Implications for a warming world
Journal name Proceedings of The Royal Society B-Biological Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0950-1193
Publication date 2010-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1098/rspb.2010.0902
Volume 277
Issue 1701
Start page 3837
End page 3844
Total pages 8
Place of publication London
Publisher The Royal Society
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Population decline and a shift in the geographical distribution of some ectothermic animals have been attributed to climatic warming. Here, we show that rises in water temperature of a few degrees, while within the thermal window for locomotor performance, may be detrimental to diving behaviour in air-breathing ectotherms (turtles, crocodilians, marine iguanas, amphibians, snakes and lizards). Submergence times and internal and external body temperature were remotely recorded from freshwater crocodiles (Crocodylus johnstoni) while they free-ranged throughout their natural habitat in summer and winter. During summer, the crocodiles' mean body temperature was 5.2 ± 0.1 ° C higher than in winter and the largest proportion of total dive time was composed of dive durations approximately 15 min less than in winter. Diving beyond 40 min during summer required the crocodiles to exponentially increase the time they spent on the surface after the dive, presumably to clear anaerobic debt. The relationship was not as significant in winter, even though a greater proportion of dives were of a longer duration, suggesting that diving lactate threshold (DLT) was reduced in summer compared with winter. Additional evidence for a reduced DLT in summer was derived from the stronger influence body mass exerted upon dive duration, compared to winter. The results demonstrate that the higher summer body temperature increased oxygen demand during the dive, implying that thermal acclimatization of the diving metabolic rate was inadequate. If the study findings are common among air-breathing diving ectotherms, then long-term warming of the aquatic environment may be detrimental to behavioural function and survivorship.
© 2010 The Royal Society.
Keyword Crocodilian
Aerobic dive limit
Turtle Rheodytes-leukops
Seasonal Acclimatization
Locomotor Performance
Loggerhead turtle
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online before print July 7, 2010,

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 10 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 9 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 05 Dec 2010, 00:01:44 EST