To the bottom of the heart: Cloacal movement as an index of cardiac frequency, respiration and digestive evacuation in penguins.

Wilson, Rory P., Scolaro, Alejandro, Quintana, Flavio, Siebert, Ursula, thor Straten, Marion, Mills, K., Zimmer, Ilka, Liebsch, Nikolai, Steinfurth, Antje, Spindler, Gitta and Müller, Gabriele (2004) To the bottom of the heart: Cloacal movement as an index of cardiac frequency, respiration and digestive evacuation in penguins. Marine Biology, 144 . pp. 813-827. DOI 10.1007/s00227-003-1247-9.

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Abstract

A system is presented which uses a Hall sensor
and an adjacent magnet, attached close to the cloaca of
penguins, to record defecation, respiration and heart
rates for both free-living birds and those in captivity.
The output of the Hall sensor depends on a magnetic
field, the strength of which is influenced in the presented
scenario by the proximity of the magnet, which varies
with movement of the cloaca. The elasticity of the cloaca
results in minute, but perceptible, movements associated
with the heart, respiration and defecation, although
placement of the magnet and sensor is critical, and not
all parameters can be measured all of the time. The
system, incorporating a logger that can record at frequencies
of 50 Hz, was tested on 17 captive and 4 freeliving
Magellanic penguins, Spheniscus magellanicus, in
Argentina. It showed increased defecation rate associated
with feeding, the expected trends in bradycardia
and tachycardia associated with diving, and appeared to
record some movement of air sacs associated with
breathing. The concept of measuring minute changes in
relative exterior body positions as a cue to internal
processes may be important in future studies for both
free-living and captive animals, particularly since it is
non-invasive and relatively easy to deploy.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Zoology; penguin, cloace, respiration, cardiac frequency, digestive evacuation, logger technology
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-B Experimental Ecology - Benthic Ecology
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1007/s00227-003-1247-9
ISSN: 0025-3162
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2009 21:44
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2012 15:11
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/5816

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