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Castellini, MA, Kooyman GL, Ponganis PJ.  1992.  Metabolic rates of freely diving Weddell seals: correlations with oxygen stores, swim velocity and diving duration. Journal of Experimental Biology. 165:181-194. AbstractWebsite

The metabolic rates of freely diving Weddell seals were measured using modern methods of on-line computer analysis coupled to oxygen consumption instrumentation. Oxygen consumption values were collected during sleep, resting periods while awake and during diving periods with the seals breathing at the surface of the water in an experimental sea-ice hole in Antarctica. Oxygen consumption during diving was not elevated over resting values but was statistically about 1.5 times greater than sleeping values. The metabolic rate of diving declined with increasing dive duration, but there was no significant difference between resting rates and rates in dives lasting up to 82 min. Swimming speed, measured with a microprocessor velocity recorder, was constant in each animal. Calculations of the aerobic dive limit of these seals were made from the oxygen consumption values and demonstrated that most dives were within this theoretical limit. The results indicate that the cost of diving is remarkably low in Weddell seals relative to other diving mammals and birds.

Ponganis, PJ, Kooyman GL, Castellini MA.  1995.  Multiple sightings of Arnouxs beaked whales along the Victoria Land coast. Marine Mammal Science. 11:247-250.   10.1111/j.1748-7692.1995.tb00523.x   AbstractWebsite
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Williams, CL, Sato K, Shiomi K, Ponganis PJ.  2012.  Muscle energy stores and stroke rates of emperor penguins: implications for muscle metabolism and dive performance. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 85:120-133.   10.1086/664698   AbstractWebsite

In diving birds and mammals, bradycardia and peripheral vasoconstriction potentially isolate muscle from the circulation. During complete ischemia, ATP production is dependent on the size of the myoglobin oxygen (O-2) store and the concentrations of phosphocreatine (PCr) and glycogen (Gly). Therefore, we measured PCr and Gly concentrations in the primary underwater locomotory muscle of emperor penguin and modeled the depletion of muscle O-2 and those energy stores under conditions of complete ischemia and a previously determined muscle metabolic rate. We also analyzed stroke rate to assess muscle workload variation during dives and evaluate potential limitations on the model. Measured PCr and Gly concentrations, 20.8 and 54.6 mmol kg(-1), respectively, were similar to published values for nondiving animals. The model demonstrated that PCr and Gly provide a large anaerobic energy store, even for dives longer than 20 min. Stroke rate varied throughout the dive profile, indicating muscle workload was not constant during dives as was assumed in the model. The stroke rate during the first 30 s of dives increased with increased dive depth. In extremely long dives, lower overall stroke rates were observed. Although O-2 consumption and energy store depletion may vary during dives, the model demonstrated that PCr and Gly, even at concentrations typical of terrestrial birds and mammals, are a significant anaerobic energy store and can play an important role in the emperor penguin's ability to perform long dives.

Ponganis, PJ, Pierce RW.  1978.  Muscle metabolic profiles and fiber-type composition in some marine mammals. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology B-Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. 59:99-102.   10.1016/0305-0491(78)90187-6   AbstractWebsite

1. Hexokinase, lactate dehydrogenase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, and malate dehydrogenase activities as well as fiber type composition were determined in skeletal muscles of the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus), the sea otter (Enhydra lutris), and the Pacific white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchusobliquidens).2. The subcutaneous muscle of the sea lion had intermediate glycolytic and oxidative enzyme activities.3. The locomotory muscles examined in the otter and porpoise did not contain a single predominant fiber type, but did have a well developed oxidative as well as glycolytic metabolic capacity.

Ponganis, PJ, Kooyman GL, Castellini MA, Ponganis EP, Ponganis KV.  1993.  Muscle temperature and swim velocity profiles during diving in a Weddell seal, Leptonychotes weddellii. Journal of Experimental Biology. 183:341-346. AbstractWebsite

Locomotory muscle temperature and swim velocity profiles of an adult Weddell seal were recorded over a 21 h period. The highest temperatures occurred during a prolonged surface period (mean 37.3-degrees-C, S.D. 0.16-degrees-C). Muscle temperature averaged 36.8 and 36.6-degrees-C (S.D. 0.25-degrees-C, 0.19-degrees-C) during two dive bouts and showed no consistent fluctuations between dive and interdive surface intervals. Swim velocities were also constant, near 1.3 m s-1. These data indicate that past records of low aortic temperatures (35-degrees-C) during and after prolonged dives are not indicative of whole-body temperature changes, and that muscle temperature, even during dives as long as 45 min, remains near 37-degrees-C.

Dolar, MLL, Suarez P, Ponganis PJ, Kooyman GL.  1999.  Myoglobin in pelagic small cetaceans. Journal of Experimental Biology. 202:227-236. AbstractWebsite

Although myoglobin (Mb) is considered to contribute significantly to the oxygen and diving capacity of marine mammals, few data are available for cetaceans, Cetacean by-catch in the tuna driftnet fisheries in the Sulu Sea, Philippines, afforded the opportunity to examine Mb content and distribution, and to determine muscle mass composition, in Fraser's (Lagenodelphis hosei) and spinner (Stenella longirostris) dolphins and a pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata). Age was estimated by body length determination. Stomach contents were analyzed for the presence or absence of milk and solid foods. It was hypothesized (a) that Mb concentration ([Mb]) would be higher in Fraser's and spinner dolphins than in other small cetaceans because of the known mesopelagic distribution of their prey, (b) that [Mb] would vary among different muscles according to function during diving, and (c) that [Mb] would increase with age during development. The results were as follows. ii) Myoglobin concentrations of the longissimus muscle in adult Fraser's (6.8-7.2 g 100 g(-1) muscle) and spinner (5-6 g 100 g(-1) muscle) dolphins and in an immature pygmy killer whale (5.7 g 100 g(-1) muscle) were higher than those reported previously for small cetaceans, (2) [Mb] varied significantly among the different muscle types in adult dolphins but not in calves; in adults, swimming muscles had significantly higher [Mb] than did non-swimming muscles, contained 82-86 % of total Mb, and constituted 75-80 % of total muscle mass. (3) Myoglobin concentrations in Fraser's and spinner dolphins increased with size and age and were 3-4 times greater in adults than in calves, The high Mb concentrations measured in the primary locomotory muscles of these pelagic dolphins are consistent with the known mesopelagic foraging behaviour of Fraser's and spinner dolphins and suggest that the pygmy killer whale is also a deep-diving species. The high Mb concentrations in epaxial, hypaxial and abdominal muscle groups also support the primary locomotory functions suggested for these muscles in other anatomical studies. As in other species. the increase in [Mb] during development probably parallels the development of diving capacity.

Ponganis, PJ, Welch TJ, Welch LS, Stockard TK.  2010.  Myoglobin production in emperor penguins. Journal of Experimental Biology. 213:1901-1906.   10.1242/jeb.042093   AbstractWebsite

Increased oxygen storage is essential to the diving capacities of marine mammals and seabirds. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this adaptation are unknown. Myoglobin (Mb) and Mb mRNA concentrations were analyzed in emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) adults and chicks with spectrophotometric and RNase protection assays to evaluate production of their large Mb-bound O(2) stores. Mean pectoral Mb concentration and Mb mRNA content increased throughout the pre-fledging period and were 15-fold and 3-fold greater, respectively, in adults than in 3.5 month old chicks. Mean Mb concentration in 5.9 month old juveniles was 2.7 +/- 0.4 g 100 g(-1) muscle (44% that of wild adults), and in adults that had been captive all their lives it was 3.7 +/- 0.1 g 100 g(-1) muscle. The Mb and Mb mRNA data are consistent with regulation of Mb production at the level of transcription as in other animals. Significant Mb and Mb mRNA production occurred in chicks and young juveniles even without any diving activity. The further increase in adult Mb concentrations appears to require the exercise/hypoxia of diving because Mb concentration in captive, non-diving adults only reached 60% of that of wild adults. The much greater relative increase in Mb concentration than in Mb mRNA content between young chicks and adults suggests that there is not a simple 1:1 relationship between Mb mRNA content and Mb concentration. Nutritional limitation in young chicks and post-transcriptional regulation of Mb concentration may also be involved.