Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
Science & Environmental Policy
nergetic needs of marine mammals are not well studied. Studying the energetic needs of marine mammals contributes to the understanding of basic physiological needs such as health, food intake and requirements for daily survival. Since it it difficult to study the energy use of marine mammals in the wild, respiratory rates of captive marine mammals can be used as a gross estimate of oxygen consumed, and in turn, energy use of marine mammals. This study examined the respiratory rates of four captive California sea lions: 3 males (2 sub-adults, 1 adult) and 1 female (adult). Respiratory rates were determined in three conditions: lying down, standing and swimming both in and outside of training situations. Respiratory rates were tested for differences related to sex, size, age and activity by using T-tests. Results showed the sea lions had generally no significant difference in respiratory rates between in and outside of training, suggesting the merits of using this technique was not biased by training. There was generally no significant difference between lying down and standing on front flippers. There was however a significant difference between lying down and swimming and also standing on front flippers and swimming with all animals, as expected with differing energetic demands. Results showed a significant difference in respiratory rates between the adult male and the other 3 sea lions, however there was not a significant difference between the other 3 sea lions. This indicated there might be a difference of respiratory rates related to size. This study showed by using respiratory rates of captive marine mammals, there is a possibility we can use these same techniques as a representative of marine mammals in the wild. This study will be part of an on going investigation of the SLEWTHS project to expand an understanding of sea lion physiology and will also contribute to sea lion veterinary science.
Ellsworth, Jennifer, "Respiratory rates of captive California sea lions (Zalophus californianus)" (2001). Capstone Projects and Master's Theses. 119.