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Physiol Biochem Zool. 1999 Nov-Dec;72(6):740-9.

Validation of the doubly labeled water method in growing precocial birds: the importance of assumptions concerning evaporative water loss.

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1
Centre for Isotope Research, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands. vissergh@phys.rug.nl

Abstract

The doubly labeled water (DLW) method was validated against respiration gas analysis in growing precocial chicks of the black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa) and the northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus). To calculate the rate of CO2 production from DLW measurements, Lifson and McClintock's equations (6) and (35) were employed, as well as Speakman's equation (7.17) (all single-pool models). The average errors obtained with the first two equations (+7.2% and -11.6%, respectively) differed significantly from zero but not the error obtained with Speakman's equation (average: -2.9%). The latter error could be reduced by taking a fractional evaporative water loss of 0.13, instead of the value of 0. 25 recommended by Speakman. Application of different two-pool models resulted in relative errors of the DLW method of -15.9% or more. After employing the single-pool model with a fractional evaporative water loss value of 0.13, it was found that there was no relationship between the relative growth rate of the chick and the relative error of the DLW method. Recalculation of previously published results on Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) chicks revealed that the fit of the validation experiment could be considerably improved by employing a single-pool model and assuming a fractional evaporative water loss of 0.20 instead of the value of 0.50 taken originally. After employing the value of 0.20, it was found that there was no relationship between the relative growth rate of the chick and the relative error of the DLW method. This suggests that isotope incorporation into new body substances does not cause a detectable error. Thus, the DLW method seems to be applicable in young birds growing as fast as 20% d-1, after making adjustments for the fractional evaporative water loss. We recommend Speakman's equation (7.17) for general use in growing birds when evaporation is unknown.

PMID:
10603338
DOI:
10.1086/316713
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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