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Scaling of insulation in seals and whales

Authors

  • M. Ryg,

    1. University of Oslo, Department of Biology, Division of General Physiology, PO Box 1051, Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway
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    • *Institute of Aviation Medicine, P.O. Box 14, Blindern, 0313 Oslo, Norway.

  • C. Lydersen,

    1. University of Oslo, Department of Biology, Division of General Physiology, PO Box 1051, Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway
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  • L. Ø. Knutsen,

    1. Greenland Fisheries Research Institute, Marine Mammal Section, Tagensvej 135, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark
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  • A. Bjørge,

    1. Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, University of Oslo, PO Box 1037, Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway
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  • T. G. Smith,

    1. Fisheries and Oceans, Arctic Biological Station, Ste-Anne de Bellevue, Province de Québec, Canada H9X 3R4
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    • **Fisheries and Oceans, Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo, B.C. Canada V9R 5K6

  • N. A. ØRitsland

    1. Norwegian Polar Institute, PO Box 158, 1330 Oslo lufthavn, Norway; and University of Oslo, Department of Biology, Division of General Physiology, PO Box 1051, Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway
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Abstract

We describe scaling of morphological variables that influence total insulation in eight species of marine mammals ranging in average size from 35 to 30000 kg. We also calculate total heat loss and the partitioning of heat loss through the body surface and appendages. For the eight species investigated, heat loss in 0°C water is appreciably higher than the predicted basal metabolic rates for small species such as the ringed seal. Rorquals, on the other hand, will probably not need to raise their metabolic rates to keep warm. At rest, 10–30% of the heat production of a resting animal is lost through flippers, fins and flukes. This amount can increase to 70–80% during moderate exercise. Whole-body conductance scales with body size in the same way in marine as in terrestrial mammals, although conductance is higher for a given body size in a marine mammal.

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