University of Oulu

Thermogenic mechanisms during the development of endothermy in juvenile birds

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Author: Marjoniemi, Kyösti1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2001
Publish Date: 2001-10-30
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Kuusamonsali (Auditorium YB 210), Linnanmaa, on November 30th, 2001, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Docent Hannu Rintamäki
Doctor G. Henk Visser


The use of regulatory and obligatory heat production mechanisms were studied in juvenile birds during the development of endothermy.

The development of shivering thermogenesis was studied in the pectoral and gastrocnemius muscles of the altricial domestic pigeon and in three precocial galliforms (Japanese quail, grey partridge and domestic fowl). The development of shivering was the determinant for the beginning of endothermy. Homeothermy also necessitated avoidance of excess heat loss by insulation and behavioural thermoregulation. In the precocial species, shivering thermogenesis was present in the leg muscles of the youngest age groups (1–2 d) studied. Breast muscles contributed shivering from the second post-hatching week. In the altricial pigeons, significant thermogenesis was apparent later than in the precocials, at the age of 6 d. In contrast to the precocials, the pectoral muscles of the altricials were the most significant heat production tissues. In newly-hatched partridges and pigeons, incipient shivering did not result in significant heat production.

The ability to produce heat in cold by putative nonshivering thermogenesis was studied in Japanese quail chicks and domestic ducklings. In both species, three-week cold acclimation resulted in morphometric and physiological changes, but there was no clear evidence of nonshivering thermogenesis. The lack of NST was evident because an increase in shivering amplitude at least in one of the muscles studied paralleled an increase in oxygen consumption. Consequently, shivering thermogenesis was probably the only mode of regulatory heat production.

The amplitudes of shivering EMGs measured during cold exposure were dependent on the coexistence of postprandial thermogenesis or exercise. Japanese quail chicks were able to substitute shivering thermogenesis partially with postprandial heat production when nourished. Bipedal exercise both inhibited shivering in pectorals directly via inhibitory neural circuits and stimulated it indirectly via decreased body temperature. Because of increased heat loss, exercise was not used as a substitute for shivering.

Shivering is a flexible mode of thermogenesis and its magnitude can be adjusted according to the magnitude of obligatory thermogenesis. The adjustment works towards energy saving by avoidance of the summation of different modes of heat production. The prerequisite for successful adjustment of shivering is adequate insulation, whose role in preventing excessive heat loss is pronounced during exercise. It is concluded that the energetics of posthatching thermoregulation includes the potential for optimizations in energy use in order to avoid dissipation of waste energy as heat.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 951-42-6542-4
ISBN Print: 951-42-6541-6
Issue: 373
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2001. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.