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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1985 Feb;58(2):392-9.

Potentially conflicting metabolic demands of diving and exercise in seals.


Metabolic replacement rates (Ra) for glucose and free fatty acids (FFA) were determined during rest, exercise, and diving conditions in the gray seal using bolus injections of radiotracers. In the exercise experiments the seal swam at a metabolic rate elevated twofold over resting Ra for glucose and FFA while resting were similar to values found in terrestrial mammals and other marine mammal species. During exercise periods glucose turnover increased slightly while FFA turnover changes were variable. However, the energetic demands of exercise could not be met by the increase in the replacement rates of glucose or FFA even if both were completely oxidized. Under diving conditions the tracer pool displayed radically different specific activity curves indicative of the changes in perfusion and metabolic rate associated with a strong dive response. Since the radiotracer curves during exercise and diving differed qualitatively and quantitatively, it is possible that similar studies on freely diving animals can be used to assess the role of the diving response during underwater swimming in nature.

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