The respiratory ecology of the rough-skinned newt Taricha granulosa (Skilton) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/hq37vq83n

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  • An investigation was undertaken to determine if respiratory changes might occur in conjunction with migrations of the rough-skinned newt, Taricha granulosa (Skilton) in and out of ponds in the Willamette Valley. A field study was carried on from December 1964 through October 1965 to investigate certain physical and chemical parameters imposed on T. granulosa in relation to respiration. A laboratory study of Taricha in the summer and winter was conducted to uncover any changes in oxygen uptake by the various respiratory surfaces. The investigations found that the animals had a higher respiratory rate in winter than in summer. When they left the ponds in late summer the percent of pulmonary respiration increased and the percent of cutaneous respiration decreased. When the animals again took up their aquatic habitat in the winter cutaneous respiration assumed a dominant role. Oxygen uptake through the pulmonary system appeared to increase substantially with temperature in the range 10° to 25°C, while cutaneous oxygen uptake appeared to increase slightly in the same range. Carbon dioxide was released primarily by the skin in both summer and winter. Temperature coefficients were generally lower than values predicted by van't Hoff's rule which may be an adaptation to Taricha's exposure to wide fluctuations in temperature. The exponential value of b in the equation M = aW[superscript b] indicated metabolism (M) increased by the 2/3 power of weight (W). This relationship did not appear to change significantly from summer to winter, that is, from terrestial phase to aquatic phase, even though the predominant route of oxygen uptake changed from lungs to skin. The buccopharyngeal membrane appeared to have a respiratory function in T. granulosa. Animals maintained underwater with their lungs and skin eliminated from respiration were shown to consume measurable amounts of oxygen. The atmospheric respiratory potentials of the buccopharyngeal membrane and lungs were found to be of the same order of magnitude, except at 25° C. The flexibility of shifting to alternate respiratory surfaces for oxygen uptake is believed to be a factor in the ability of Taricha granulosa to survive and to successfully exploit new habitats.
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