Allometric scaling of lung volume and its consequences for marine turtle diving performance

S Hochscheid, Clive McMahon, Corey Bradshaw, F Maffucci, F Bentivegna, Graeme Hays

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Marine turtle lungs have multiple functions including respiration, oxygen storage and buoyancy regulation, so lung size is an important indicator of dive performance. We determined maximum lung volumes (VL) for 30 individuals from three species (Caretta caretta n = 13; Eretmochelys imbricata n = 12; Natator depressus n = 5) across a range of body masses (Mb): 0.9 to 46�kg. VL was 114�ml kg-1 and increased with Mb with a scaling factor of 0.92. Based on these values for VL we demonstrated that diving capacities (assessed via aerobic dive limits) of marine turtles were potentially over-estimated when the VL-body mass effect was not considered (by 10 to 20% for 5 to 25�kg turtles and by > 20% for turtles ? 25�kg). While aerobic dive limits scale with an exponent of 0.6, an analysis of average dive durations in free-ranging chelonian marine turtles revealed that dive duration increases with a mass exponent of 0.51, although there was considerable scatter around the regression line. While this highlights the need to determine more parameters that affect the duration-body mass relationship, our results provide a reference point for calculating oxygen storage capacities and air volumes available for buoyancy control. � 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)360-367
    Number of pages8
    JournalComparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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