The pattern of respiration with increasing metabolism in a small dasyurid marsupial

Respir Physiol. 1993 Sep;93(3):305-14. doi: 10.1016/0034-5687(93)90076-m.


Previous studies have indicated that the pattern of respiration in marsupial and placental mammals may be different. Some marsupials have larger tidal volumes and slower respiratory rates under basal conditions. This study examined the respiratory responses of a small marsupial, Dasyuroides byrnei, to increasing metabolic demand. The highest metabolic rate elicited by cold exposure in a helium-oxygen atmosphere was 10.4 times the basal metabolic rate. Basal tidal volumes and respiratory rates were 138% and 46% respectively of the values predicted for placental mammals. The increasing oxygen demands of metabolism were met by increases in ventilation rather than by changes in oxygen extraction. Initially, tidal volume increased until it reached a maximum value 2.6 times that of basal tidal volume. Subsequently, ventilation was augmented by an increase in respiratory frequency. Ventilatory accommodation to an increasing oxygen demand indicated that D. byrnei has an excellent respiratory capacity to deal with the thermogenic demands of a cold environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cold Temperature
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Helium
  • Male
  • Marsupialia / metabolism*
  • Marsupialia / physiology*
  • Oxygen
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Respiration*
  • Tidal Volume


  • Helium
  • Oxygen