In pursuit of Irving and Scholander: a review of oxygen store management in seals and penguins

Ponganis, PJ, Meir JU, Williams CL.  2011.  In pursuit of Irving and Scholander: a review of oxygen store management in seals and penguins. Journal of Experimental Biology. 214:3325-3339.

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aerobic dive limit, blood flow, breath-hold diver, damage, dive-associated, diving weddell seals, dolphins tursiops-truncatus, emperor penguins, gas-exchange, heart rate, hemoglobin, human skeletal-muscle, Hypoxemia, ischemia/reperfusion, marine mammals, marker s100b, metabolic rate, myoglobin, northern elephant seals, oxygen stores, penguins, pulmonary, re-perfusion injury, rest-associated apneas, seals


Since the introduction of the aerobic dive limit (ADL) 30 years ago, the concept that most dives of marine mammals and sea birds are aerobic in nature has dominated the interpretation of their diving behavior and foraging ecology. Although there have been many measurements of body oxygen stores, there have been few investigations of the actual depletion of those stores during dives. Yet, it is the pattern, rate and magnitude of depletion of O(2) stores that underlie the ADL. Therefore, in order to assess strategies of O(2) store management, we review (a) the magnitude of O(2) stores, (b) past studies of O(2) store depletion and (c) our recent investigations of O(2) store utilization during sleep apnea and dives of elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) and during dives of emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri). We conclude with the implications of these findings for (a) the physiological responses underlying O(2) store utilization, (b) the physiological basis of the ADL and (c) the value of extreme hypoxemic tolerance and the significance of the avoidance of re-perfusion injury in these animals.