Document Detail

Diving development in nursing harbour seal pups.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11807117     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This study investigated physiological and behavioural aspects of diving development in pups of the harbour seal Phoca vitulina. Behavioural data (4280 h, 6027 dives) from time/depth recorders (N=13) deployed on pups aged 0-19 days are presented concomitantly with physiological measurements (N=8, sampled both early and late in the nursing period) of blood oxygen stores and body composition. Pups grew from 12.6+/-1.8 kg (mean age 2 days, total body fat 16+/-4 %) to 22.2+/-2.5 kg (mean age 16 days, total body fat 35+/-5 %; means +/- S.D.) over the duration of the experiment. Pups less than 5 days of age had an elevated haematocrit and reduced plasma volume compared with older pups. Although plasma volume and blood volume increased, mass-specific blood oxygen stores (total haemoglobin) fell during the study period. Simultaneously, the following behavioural indicators of diving ability increased: the proportion of time spent in the water, dive depth, dive duration, bottom time and maximum daily swimming velocity. In addition, the proportion of dives that were identified by cluster analyses as being U-shaped increased significantly with age. On the basis of the measured blood oxygen stores, less than 1 % of the recorded dives exceeded the calculated aerobic dive limit. Thus, development in blood oxygen stores or rates of oxygen consumption did not seem to restrain the rate of neonatal dive development in harbour seals. It appears that behavioural modifications (experience and learning) may be the primary rate-limiting factors for ontogeny of diving skills in neonates of this species.
C Jørgensen; C Lydersen; O Brix; K M Kovacs
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  204     ISSN:  0022-0949     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2001 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-01-24     Completed Date:  2002-04-01     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  3993-4004     Citation Subset:  IM    
Norwegian Polar Institute, Polar Environmental Center, N-9296 Tromsø, Norway.
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MeSH Terms
Animals, Suckling
Behavior, Animal / physiology
Blood Volume
Body Composition
Oxygen / blood
Seals, Earless / growth & development*,  physiology
Reg. No./Substance:

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