Metabolic rates of minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in cold water

Acta Physiol Scand. 1992 Sep;146(1):141-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1716.1992.tb09402.x.

Abstract

Body temperature, blubber thickness and lung capacity (Vc) were recorded in newly killed minke whales, while respiratory frequency (f) was determined in free-swimming animals. Mean deep (thoracic) body temperature was 34.7 +/- 0.8 (SD) degrees C (n = 14). Weighted mean core/blubber interface temperature in animals caught in 2.5-5.5 degrees C water was 28.8 +/- 1.7 degrees C (n = 8). The minimum average rate of sensible heat loss (HLs) was 3.81 +/- 0.53 (SD) W kgw-0.75 (n = 8) in animals with body masses (w) in the range of 1840 to 5740 kg, HLs being inversely proportional to w (HLs = -2.98 10(-4) w +4.89 W kgw-0.75 (n = 8, r2 = 0.73, P less than 0.01)). The average rate of respiratory heat loss (HLr) was 0.26 +/- 0.04 (SD) W kgw-0.75, regardless of w, in the same 8 animals. Total rates of heat loss (HL = HLr+HLs) in 2.5-5.5 degrees C water ranged between 3.40 and 4.87 W kgw-0.75, with an average of 4.06 +/- 0.52 (SD) W kgw-0.75 (n = 8). Estimates of oxygen consumption based on records of f and Ve, and data on oxygen extraction from other cetaceans, yielded a range of metabolic rates which compared nicely with the calculated HL values.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Adipose Tissue / physiology
  • Animals
  • Body Surface Area
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology
  • Body Weight
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Temperature
  • Tidal Volume
  • Whales / metabolism*