Embryos in the fast lane

high-temperature heart rates of turtles decline after hatching

Wei-Guo Du, Bo Zhao, Richard Shine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In ectotherms such as turtles, the relationship between cardiovascular function and temperature may be subject to different selective pressures in different life-history stages. Because embryos benefit by developing as rapidly as possible, and can "afford" to expend energy to do so (because they have access to the yolk for nutrition), they benefit from rapid heart (and thus, developmental) rates. In contrast, hatchlings do not have a guaranteed food supply, and maximal growth rates may not enhance fitness - and so, we might expect a lower heart rate, especially at high temperatures where metabolic costs are greatest. Our data on two species of emydid turtles, Chrysemys picta, and Graptemys pseudogeographica kohnii, support these predictions. Heart rates of embryos and hatchlings were similar at low temperatures, but heart rates at higher temperatures were much greater before than after hatching.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9557
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2010. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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