Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The metabolic and cardiac responses to temperature were studied in two species (four subspecies) of western chipmunks (genusEutamias), inhabiting boreal and alpine environments. A specially designed (Fig. 1) implantable biopential radiotransmitter was used to measure heart rate in unrestrained animals. The estimated basal metabolic rates (EBMR) were 1.78 (E. minimus borealis), 1.64 (E. m. oreocetes), 1.50 (E. m. operarius), and 1.69 ml O2 g−1 h−1 (E. amoenus luteiventris), or 839, 752, 698, and 628 ml O2 kg−0.75 h−1, respectively, for the four subspecies (Table 1). The two alpine species (E.m.or. andE.m.op.) had significantly lower EBMR than both of their boreal counterparts. The EBMR from all animals are 120–135% of the predicted values based on body weights of the animals. The thermal neutral zone for the four subspecies ranged from 23.5 to 32°C and the minimum thermal conductances were 0.113, 0.111, 0.112 and 0.112 ml O2 g−1 h−1 °C−1, respectively, or 54.4, 54.0, 50.4 and 52.1 ml O2 kg−0.75 h−1 °C−1, respectively (Fig. 2). No interspecific diffence in conductance was observed. These values are 72 to 85% of their weight specific values. The body temperature ranged between 35.0 and 39.5°C and was usually maintained between 36 and 38°C in all subspecies between ambient temperatures of 3 and 32°C. The estimated basal heart rates were 273, 296, 273 and 264 beats/min, respectively, for the four subspecies, 49–55% of their predicted weight specific values. The resultant oxygen pulses (metabolic rate/heart rate) were 5.49, 4.50, 4.48 and 5.56×10−3 ml O2/beat, respectively, which are 2 to 2.4 times their weight specific values (Table 2). The observed reduction of basal heart rate without the corresponding decreases of basal metabolic rate and body temperature indicate sufficient compensatory increases in stroke volume and/or A-V oxygen difference at rest. Such cardiovascular modifications provide extra reserves when demand for aerobic metabolism rises during bursts of activity typically observed in the western chipmunk.
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