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J Exp Biol. 1998 Oct;201 (Pt 19):2779-89.

Cardiac output as a predictor of metabolic rate in cod gadus morhua

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  • 1Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4J1 and Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB1 3EJ, UK.


Adult Atlantic cod (2 kg Gadus morhua) were fitted with Doppler ultrasonic flow-probes to measure ventral aortic outflow (i.e. cardiac output). The probes remained patent for upwards of 3 months, during which time detailed relationships between cardiac output (), heart rate (fh) and rate of oxygen consumption (O2) were determined as a function of swimming speed and temperature (5 degreesC and 10 degreesC). The rate of oxygen consumption increased linearly with and exponentially with swimming speed. A very good correlation was observed between O2 and (r2=0.86) compared with the correlation between O2 and fh (r2=0.50 for all 10 degreesC data and r2=0.86 for all 5 degreesC data). However, the O2 versus fh correlation gradually improved over approximately 1 week after surgery (r2=0.86). The relationship between O2 and was independent of temperature, while the relationship between O2 and fh changed with temperature. Hence, calculating O2 from is simpler and does not require that temperature be recorded simultaneously. Variations in cardiac output were determined more by changes in stroke volume (Vs) than by fh; therefore, fh was a less reliable predictor of metabolic rate than was . Given that can be used to estimate O2 so faithfully, the advent of a cardiac output telemeter would enable robust estimates to be made of the activity metabolism of free-ranging fish in nature, thereby strengthening one of the weakest links in the bioenergetic models of fisheries biology.

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