Respiration in Neonate Sea Turtles
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
The pattern and control of respiration is virtually unknown in hatchling sea turtles. Using incubator-raised turtles, we measured oxygen consumption, frequency, tidal volume, and minute volume for leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) turtle hatchlings for the first six days after pipping. In addition, we tested the hatchlings' response to hypercapnic, hyperoxic, and hypoxic challenges over this time period. Hatchling sea turtles generally showed resting ventilation characteristics that are similar to those of adults: a single breath followed by a long respiratory pause, slow frequency, and high metabolic rate. With hypercapnic challenge, both species responded primarily by elevating respiratory frequency via a decrease in the non-ventilatory period. Leatherback resting tidal volume increased with age but otherwise, neither species' resting respiratory pattern nor response to gas challenge changed significantly over the first few days after hatching. At the time of nest emergence, sea turtles have achieved a respiratory pattern that is similar to that of actively diving adults.
Edwin R. Price, Frank V. Paladino, Kingman P. Strohl, T. Pilar Santidrián, Kenneth Klann, and James R. Spotila (2007).
Respiration in Neonate Sea Turtles. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A, Molecular & Integrative Physiology.146 (3), 422-428.