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Avian pectoral muscle size rapidly tracks body mass changes during flight, fasting and fuelling

Lindström, Åke LU ; Kvist, Anders LU ; Piersma, T; Dekinga, A and Dietz, M W (2000) In Journal of Experimental Biology 203(5). p.913-919
Abstract
We used ultrasonic imaging to monitor short-term changes in the pectoral muscle size of captive red knots Calidris canutus. Pectoral muscle thickness changed rapidly and consistently in parallel with body mass changes caused by flight, fasting and fuelling. Four knots flew repeatedly for 10 h periods in a wind tunnel. Over this period, pectoral muscle thickness decreased in parallel with the decrease in body mass. The change in pectoral muscle thickness during flight was indistinguishable from that during periods of natural and experimental fasting and fuelling. The body-mass-related variation in pectoral muscle thickness between and within individuals was not related to the amount of flight, indicating that changes in avian muscle do not... (More)
We used ultrasonic imaging to monitor short-term changes in the pectoral muscle size of captive red knots Calidris canutus. Pectoral muscle thickness changed rapidly and consistently in parallel with body mass changes caused by flight, fasting and fuelling. Four knots flew repeatedly for 10 h periods in a wind tunnel. Over this period, pectoral muscle thickness decreased in parallel with the decrease in body mass. The change in pectoral muscle thickness during flight was indistinguishable from that during periods of natural and experimental fasting and fuelling. The body-mass-related variation in pectoral muscle thickness between and within individuals was not related to the amount of flight, indicating that changes in avian muscle do not require power-training as in mammals. Our study suggests that it is possible for birds to consume and replace their flight muscles on a time scale short enough to allow these muscles to be used as part of the energy supply for migratory flight. The adaptive significance of the changes in pectoral muscle mass cannot be explained by reproductive needs since our knots were in the early winter phase of their annual cycle. Instead, pectoral muscle mass changes may reflect (i) the breakdown of protein during heavy exercise and its subsequent restoration, (ii) the regulation of flight capacity to maintain optimal flight performance when body mass varies, or (iii) the need for a particular protein:fat ratio in winter survival stores. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of Experimental Biology
volume
203
issue
5
pages
913 - 919
publisher
The Company of Biologists Ltd
external identifiers
  • pmid:10667974
  • scopus:0034032981
ISSN
1477-9145
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
1a7249eb-9de7-401f-be4f-3581002c4da6 (old id 1116371)
alternative location
http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/reprint/203/5/913
date added to LUP
2008-07-01 12:17:20
date last changed
2017-08-20 03:31:49
@article{1a7249eb-9de7-401f-be4f-3581002c4da6,
  abstract     = {We used ultrasonic imaging to monitor short-term changes in the pectoral muscle size of captive red knots Calidris canutus. Pectoral muscle thickness changed rapidly and consistently in parallel with body mass changes caused by flight, fasting and fuelling. Four knots flew repeatedly for 10 h periods in a wind tunnel. Over this period, pectoral muscle thickness decreased in parallel with the decrease in body mass. The change in pectoral muscle thickness during flight was indistinguishable from that during periods of natural and experimental fasting and fuelling. The body-mass-related variation in pectoral muscle thickness between and within individuals was not related to the amount of flight, indicating that changes in avian muscle do not require power-training as in mammals. Our study suggests that it is possible for birds to consume and replace their flight muscles on a time scale short enough to allow these muscles to be used as part of the energy supply for migratory flight. The adaptive significance of the changes in pectoral muscle mass cannot be explained by reproductive needs since our knots were in the early winter phase of their annual cycle. Instead, pectoral muscle mass changes may reflect (i) the breakdown of protein during heavy exercise and its subsequent restoration, (ii) the regulation of flight capacity to maintain optimal flight performance when body mass varies, or (iii) the need for a particular protein:fat ratio in winter survival stores.},
  author       = {Lindström, Åke and Kvist, Anders and Piersma, T and Dekinga, A and Dietz, M W},
  issn         = {1477-9145},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {913--919},
  publisher    = {The Company of Biologists Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Experimental Biology},
  title        = {Avian pectoral muscle size rapidly tracks body mass changes during flight, fasting and fuelling},
  volume       = {203},
  year         = {2000},
}