Ecological Lifestyles and the Scaling Of Shark Gill Surface Area

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Fish gill surface area varies across species and with respect to ecological lifestyles. The majority of previous studies only qualitatively describe gill surface area in relation to ecology and focus primarily on teleosts. Here, we quantitatively examined the relationship of gill surface area with respect to specific ecological lifestyle traits in elasmobranchs, which offer an independent evalu- ation of observed patterns in teleosts. As gill surface area increases ontogenetically with body mass, examination of how gill surface area varies with ecological lifestyle traits must be assessed in the context of its allometry (scaling). Thus, we examined how the relationship of gill surface area and body mass across 11 shark species from the literature and one species for which we made measurements, the Gray Smoothhound, Mustelus californicus, varied with three ecological lifestyle traits: activity level, habitat, and maximum body size. Relative gill surface area (gill surface area at a specified body mass; here we used 5,000g, termed the ‘standardized intercept’) ranged from 4,724.98 to 35,694.39 cm2 (mean and standard error: 17,796.65 2,948.61 cm2) and varied across species and the ecological lifestyle traits examined. Specifically, larger-bodied, active, oceanic species had greater relative gill surface area than smaller-bodied, less active, coastal species. In contrast, the rate at which gill surface area scaled with body mass (slope) was generally consistent across species (0.85 0.02) and did not differ statistically with activity level, habitat, or maximum body size. Our results suggest that ecology may influence relative gill surface area, rather than the rate at which gill surface area scales with body mass. Future com- parisons of gill surface area and ecological lifestyle traits using the quantitative techniques applied in this study can provide further insight into patterns dictating the relationship between gill surface area, metabolism, and ecological lifestyle traits.
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Bigman, J. S., Pardo, S. A., Prinzing, T. S., Dando, M., Wegner, N. C., & Dulvy, N. K. (2018). Ecological lifestyles and the scaling of shark gill surface area. Journal of morphology, 279(12), 1716-1724. DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20879.
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Journal of morphology
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Ecological lifestyles and the scaling of shark gill surface area
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