The regulation index: a new method for assessing the relationship between oxygen consumption and environmental oxygen

Physiol Biochem Zool. Sep-Oct 2011;84(5):522-32. doi: 10.1086/661953.


Critical oxygen pressure (P(C)) is used in respiratory physiology to measure the response to hypoxia. P(C) defines the partial pressure of oxygen (Po(2)) at which an oxygen regulator switches to a conformer. However, not all animals show such clear patterns in oxygen consumption rate (Mo2), and there are many methods for determining P(C). This study assesses two methods that determine regulatory ability and four that calculate P(C). A new method, the regulation index (RI), assigns to an animal a relative measure of regulatory ability by calculating the area under the Mo2 versus Po(2) curve that is greater than a linear trend. The six methods are applied to developmental Mo2 data of two amphibians, Pseudophryne bibronii and Crinia georgiana. The four methods used to determine P(C) produced similar results but failed to identify the increase in regulation on hatching in C. georgiana or the greater regulation in larval C. georgiana compared with P. bibronii. Of the two methods that evaluated regulation, only the RI satisfactorily represented the entire range of Po(2). The RI is advantageous because it has clearly defined limits and does not constrain data to fit any single pattern. The RI can be used in concert with P(C), which can be easily calculated during the RI analysis, to provide a clearer definition of the Mo2 response to environmental Po(2).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amphibians / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxygen / analysis*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Pressure
  • South Australia
  • Species Specificity


  • Oxygen