Continuous arterial P-O2 profiles in unrestrained, undisturbed aquatic turtles during routine behaviors

TitleContinuous arterial P-O2 profiles in unrestrained, undisturbed aquatic turtles during routine behaviors
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsWilliams C.L, Hicks J.W
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Date Published2016/11
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0022-0949
Accession NumberWOS:000387989600016
KeywordsArterial P-O2; Blood oxygen; Cardiac shunt; cardiac shunts; depletion; Diving; emperor penguins; fresh-water turtle; gas-exchange; mixed-effects models; oxygen; pseudemys-scripta; store management; Trachemys scripta; trachemys-scripta; turtle; weddell seals

Mammals and birds maintain high arterial partial pressure of oxygen (P-O2) values in order to preserve near-complete hemoglobin (Hb) oxygen (O-2) saturation. In diving mammals and birds, arterial O-2 follows a primarily monotonic decline and then recovers quickly after dives. In laboratory studies of submerged freshwater turtles, arterial O-2 depletion typically follows a similar pattern. However, in these studies, turtles were disturbed, frequently tethered to external equipment and confined either to small tanks or breathing holes. Aquatic turtles can alter cardiac shunting patterns, which will affect arterial P-O2 values. Consequently, little is known about arterial O-2 regulation and use in undisturbed turtles. We conducted the first study to continuously measure arterial P-O2 using implanted microelectrodes and a backpack logger in undisturbed red-eared sliders during routine activities. Arterial P-O2 profiles during submergences varied dramatically, with no consistent patterns. Arterial P-O2 was also lower than previously reported during all activities, with values rarely above 50 mmHg (85% Hb saturation). There was no difference in mean P-O2 between five different activities: submerged resting, swimming, basking, resting at the surface and when a person was present. These results suggest significant cardiac shunting occurs during routine activities as well as submergences. However, the lack of relationship between P-O2 and any activity suggests that cardiac shunts are not regulated to maintain high arterial P-O2 values. These data support the idea that cardiac shunting is the passive by-product of regulation of vascular resistances by the autonomic nervous system.

Short TitleJ. Exp. Biol.
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