Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Maximum submergence time of Canada geese was 18% of that of similarly sized Pekin ducks. Due to a smaller respiratory system volume the oxygen store of Canada geese was 82% of that of Pekin ducks, accounting for approximately 33% of the difference in underwater survival times. The respiratory properties and volume of the blood were similar in both species. Both species utilised approximately 79% of the respiratory oxygen store and 90% of the blood oxygen store. Therefore, most of the species difference in survival times was due to a less effective oxygen-conserving cardiovascular response (bradycardia, peripheral vasoconstriction) in Canada geese. Duck cardiac chronotropic sensitivity to hypoxia during submergence was twice that observed in geese. Furthermore, a lower hypoxic ventilatory response was observed in geese than in ducks. Density of monoamine varicosities in hindlimb artery walls was lower in geese than ducks. However, electrical stimulation of the hindlimb muscles did not cause ascending vasodilation during submergence in either species, perhaps due to higher levels of catecholamines in submerged geese. We conclude that the major difference between species is higher oxygen chemosensitivity in ducks which effects a much more rapid and efficacious oxygen-conserving response during forced submergence.
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