Physiological regulation of evaporative water loss in endotherms: Is the little red kaluta (Dasykaluta rosamondae) an exception or the rule?

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    12 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    It is a central paradigm of comparative physiology that the effect of humidity on evaporative water loss (EWL) is determined for most mammals and birds, in and below thermoneutrality, essentially by physics and is not under physiological regulation. Fick's law predicts that EWL should be inversely proportional to ambient relative humidity (RH) and linearly proportional to the water vapour pressure deficit (Δwvp) between animal and air. However, we show here for a small dasyurid marsupial, the little kaluta (Dasykaluta rosamondae), that EWL is essentially independent of RH (and Δwvp) at low RH (as are metabolic rate and thermal conductance). These results suggest regulation of a constant EWL independent of RH, a hitherto unappreciated capacity of endothermic vertebrates. Independence of EWL from RH conserves water and heat at low RH, and avoids physiological adjustments to changes in evaporative heat loss such as thermoregulation. Re-evaluation of previously published data for mammals and birds suggests that a lesser dependence of EWL on RH is observed more commonly than previously thought, suggesting that physiological independence of EWL of RH is not just an unusual capacity of a few species, such as the little kaluta, but a more general capability of many mammals and birds. © 2014 The Author(s).
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages6
    JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
    Volume281
    Issue number1784
    Early online date16 Apr 2014
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Physiological regulation of evaporative water loss in endotherms: Is the little red kaluta (Dasykaluta rosamondae) an exception or the rule?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this