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A new method for resolving uncertainty of energy requirements in large water breathers: the ‘mega-flume’ seagoing swim-tunnel respirometer

A new method for resolving uncertainty of energy requirements in large water breathers: the ‘mega-flume’ seagoing swim-tunnel respirometer
A new method for resolving uncertainty of energy requirements in large water breathers: the ‘mega-flume’ seagoing swim-tunnel respirometer
Summary

Body size is a key determinant of metabolic rate, but logistical constraints have led to a paucity of energetics measurements from large water-breathing animals. As a result, estimating energy requirements of large fish generally relies on extrapolation of metabolic rate from individuals of lower body mass using allometric relationships that are notoriously variable. Swim-tunnel respirometry is the ‘gold standard’ for measuring active metabolic rates in water-breathing animals, yet previous data are entirely derived from body masses <10 kg – at least one order of magnitude lower than the body masses of many top-order marine predators.

Here, we describe the design and testing of a new method for measuring metabolic rates of large water-breathing animals: a c. 26 000 L seagoing ‘mega-flume’ swim-tunnel respirometer. We measured the swimming metabolic rate of a 2·1-m, 36-kg zebra shark Stegostoma fasciatum within this new mega-flume and compared the results to data we collected from other S. fasciatum (3·8–47·7 kg body mass) swimming in static respirometers and previously published measurements of active metabolic rate measurements from other shark species.

The mega-flume performed well during initial tests, with intra- and interspecific comparisons suggesting accurate metabolic rate measurements can be obtained with this new tool. Inclusion of our data showed that the scaling exponent of active metabolic rate with mass for sharks ranging from 0·13 to 47·7 kg was 0·79; a similar value to previous estimates for resting metabolic rates in smaller fishes.

We describe the operation and usefulness of this new method in the context of our current uncertainties surrounding energy requirements of large water-breathing animals. We also highlight the sensitivity of mass-extrapolated energetic estimates in large aquatic animals and discuss the consequences for predicting ecosystem impacts such as trophic cascades.
allometry, biomass, daily energy expenditure, ectotherm, feeding requirements, field metabolic rate, power curve, tuna, white shark, wind tunnel
2041-210X
668-677
Payne, Nicholas L.
8d4b3dd6-7ef6-450b-a57c-5eedbfda13b3
Snelling, Edward P.
08876b51-f90b-446f-a43e-e05b869b641a
Fitzpatrick, Richard
9459db9b-dc5a-4268-8b81-04d22896452d
Seymour, Jamie
31d99902-9794-4f90-bdf2-9ca75a4d4a8c
Courtney, Robert
ca1299cf-7ff2-4c83-b802-a7942f60e1c6
Barnett, Adam
56a6974e-4b4f-46f3-ad9c-e4e4591ac9ec
Watanabe, Yuuki Y.
2d111efc-807f-4ce0-b2ea-60cb3494f420
Sims, David W.
7234b444-25e2-4bd5-8348-a1c142d0cf81
Squire, Lyle
da283edc-e9e5-454a-9e0f-c5210166af90
Semmens, Jayson M.
05cf8801-91a0-4cdf-a008-bcccf9817506
Kurle, Carolyn
ae26b800-4a2e-462d-9f84-540ebf96220c
Payne, Nicholas L.
8d4b3dd6-7ef6-450b-a57c-5eedbfda13b3
Snelling, Edward P.
08876b51-f90b-446f-a43e-e05b869b641a
Fitzpatrick, Richard
9459db9b-dc5a-4268-8b81-04d22896452d
Seymour, Jamie
31d99902-9794-4f90-bdf2-9ca75a4d4a8c
Courtney, Robert
ca1299cf-7ff2-4c83-b802-a7942f60e1c6
Barnett, Adam
56a6974e-4b4f-46f3-ad9c-e4e4591ac9ec
Watanabe, Yuuki Y.
2d111efc-807f-4ce0-b2ea-60cb3494f420
Sims, David W.
7234b444-25e2-4bd5-8348-a1c142d0cf81
Squire, Lyle
da283edc-e9e5-454a-9e0f-c5210166af90
Semmens, Jayson M.
05cf8801-91a0-4cdf-a008-bcccf9817506
Kurle, Carolyn
ae26b800-4a2e-462d-9f84-540ebf96220c

Payne, Nicholas L., Snelling, Edward P., Fitzpatrick, Richard, Seymour, Jamie, Courtney, Robert, Barnett, Adam, Watanabe, Yuuki Y., Sims, David W., Squire, Lyle, Semmens, Jayson M. and Kurle, Carolyn (2015) A new method for resolving uncertainty of energy requirements in large water breathers: the ‘mega-flume’ seagoing swim-tunnel respirometer. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 6 (6), 668-677. (doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12358).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Summary

Body size is a key determinant of metabolic rate, but logistical constraints have led to a paucity of energetics measurements from large water-breathing animals. As a result, estimating energy requirements of large fish generally relies on extrapolation of metabolic rate from individuals of lower body mass using allometric relationships that are notoriously variable. Swim-tunnel respirometry is the ‘gold standard’ for measuring active metabolic rates in water-breathing animals, yet previous data are entirely derived from body masses <10 kg – at least one order of magnitude lower than the body masses of many top-order marine predators.

Here, we describe the design and testing of a new method for measuring metabolic rates of large water-breathing animals: a c. 26 000 L seagoing ‘mega-flume’ swim-tunnel respirometer. We measured the swimming metabolic rate of a 2·1-m, 36-kg zebra shark Stegostoma fasciatum within this new mega-flume and compared the results to data we collected from other S. fasciatum (3·8–47·7 kg body mass) swimming in static respirometers and previously published measurements of active metabolic rate measurements from other shark species.

The mega-flume performed well during initial tests, with intra- and interspecific comparisons suggesting accurate metabolic rate measurements can be obtained with this new tool. Inclusion of our data showed that the scaling exponent of active metabolic rate with mass for sharks ranging from 0·13 to 47·7 kg was 0·79; a similar value to previous estimates for resting metabolic rates in smaller fishes.

We describe the operation and usefulness of this new method in the context of our current uncertainties surrounding energy requirements of large water-breathing animals. We also highlight the sensitivity of mass-extrapolated energetic estimates in large aquatic animals and discuss the consequences for predicting ecosystem impacts such as trophic cascades.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 14 March 2015
Published date: June 2015
Keywords: allometry, biomass, daily energy expenditure, ectotherm, feeding requirements, field metabolic rate, power curve, tuna, white shark, wind tunnel
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 375310
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/375310
ISSN: 2041-210X
PURE UUID: d34d6f56-9db1-4466-99ff-b2d986307933

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 19 Mar 2015 12:01
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 12:10

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Contributors

Author: Nicholas L. Payne
Author: Edward P. Snelling
Author: Richard Fitzpatrick
Author: Jamie Seymour
Author: Robert Courtney
Author: Adam Barnett
Author: Yuuki Y. Watanabe
Author: David W. Sims
Author: Lyle Squire
Author: Jayson M. Semmens
Author: Carolyn Kurle

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