Insights from venous oxygen profiles: oxygen utilization and management in diving California sea lions

TitleInsights from venous oxygen profiles: oxygen utilization and management in diving California sea lions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsMcDonald B.I, Ponganis P.J
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Date Published2013/09
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0022-0949
Accession NumberWOS:000322955200028
Keywordsblood oxygen depletion; blood-flow; capacity; depletion; dissociation curve; dive; dives; emperor penguins; eumetopias-jubatus; hemoglobin; hemoglobin saturation; metabolic-rate; oxygen-hemoglobin; P-50; P-O2; weddell seals; zalophus-californianus

The management and depletion of O-2 stores underlie the aerobic dive capacities of marine mammals. The California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) presumably optimizes O-2 store management during all dives, but approaches its physiological limits during deep dives to greater than 300. m depth. Blood O-2 comprises the largest component of total body O-2 stores in adult sea lions. Therefore, we investigated venous blood O-2 depletion during dives of California sea lions during maternal foraging trips to sea by: (1) recording venous partial pressure of O-2 (PO2) profiles during dives, (2) characterizing the O-2-hemoglobin (Hb) dissociation curve of sea lion Hb and (3) converting the PO2 profiles into percent Hb saturation (SO2) profiles using the dissociation curve. The O-2-Hb dissociation curve was typical of other pinnipeds (P-50=28 +/- 2mmHg at pH 7.4). In 43% of dives, initial venous SO2 values were greater than 78% (estimated resting venous SO2), indicative of arterialization of venous blood. Blood O-2 was far from depleted during routine shallow dives, with minimum venous SO2 values routinely greater than 50%. However, in deep dives greater than 4. min in duration, venous SO2 reached minimum values below 5% prior to the end of the dive, but then increased during the last 30-60s of ascent. These deep dive profiles were consistent with transient venous blood O-2 depletion followed by partial restoration of venous O-2 through pulmonary gas exchange and peripheral blood flow during ascent. These differences in venous O-2 profiles between shallow and deep dives of sea lions reflect distinct strategies of O-2 store management and suggest that underlying cardiovascular responses will also differ.

Short TitleJ. Exp. Biol.
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