A message from nature to muskrats: 'Dont chill out'

cipate in the same number of treatments as adults.

Experiment 5: Heart Rate During Diving and Post-Immersion Recovery: All eight adults instrumented with ECG/Tb transmitters participated in each pre-chill and non-chill trial. Three replicate trials assigned in random order were conducted on each subject to ensure the animal performed several long dives at each Tb.


Pre-chilling elicited no overt behavioural changes to diving in adult muskrats. Both diving and average rates of oxygen consumption () of adults were unaffected by hypothermia when animals were tested in 30C water. However, significant interactions between water and body temperatures (Tb) were observed for diving (P = 0.045) and average (P = 0.040) , resulting in significantly higher (P = 0.045-0.017) values for hypothermic adults diving from the water surface in 10C water. Hypothermia reduced diving heart rate only in dives < 25 s (P = 0.007), and did not appear to affect the onset or temporal pattern of diving bradycardia. These study indicates that hypothermia does influence the dive response in a way that could potentially extend dive time through oxygen conservation.

However, the bradycardia response of hypothermic and normothermic muskrats quickly becomes indistinguishable as dive length increases. Consequently, the observed cardiac response to hypothermia was not strong enough to yield a relationship between mean diving heart rate and degree of pre-chilling (Tb). As well, heart rates of muskrats resting at the surface did not differ between hypothermic animals floating in cold (6C) water and normothermic animals resting in warm (30C) water. Presumably hypothermic muskrats experienced a greater vasoconstrictor response since abdominal Tb was lower. If so, failure to detect an attendant reduction in heart rate implies muskrats may readily tolerate hypertension during immersion.


This study docum

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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