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Body Temperature and Heat Transfer in the Green Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas

Martha E. Heath and Samuel M. McGinnis
Copeia
Vol. 1980, No. 4 (Dec. 5, 1980), pp. 767-773
DOI: 10.2307/1444455
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1444455
Page Count: 7
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Body Temperature and Heat Transfer in the Green Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas
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Abstract

The deep body temperature ( T db) of adult and juvenile green sea turtles in thermal equilibrium with their environment is consistently 1-2.5 C above ambient temperature ( T a). This gradient and a constant heat loss indicates a degree of endothermy in this species. The heat production, however, is not solely attributable to muscular activity since the temperature gradient between T db and T a exists even during inactivity. The difference between T db and T a is greater in a 20 C than in a 30 C environment. This is due to a greater conductivity of the peripheral tissues and therefore greater rate of heat loss at 30 C than at 20 C rather than to a higher rate of heat production at 20 C. Adult turtles became inactive when presented with warm (26-28 C) water. This is viewed as a mechanism which permits aquatic basking.

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