Is the scaling of swim speed in sharks driven by metabolism?

Jacoby, David and Siriwat, Penthai and Freeman, Robin and Carbone, Chris (2015) Is the scaling of swim speed in sharks driven by metabolism? Biology Letters, 11. ISSN 1744-9561

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The movement rates of sharks are intrinsically linked to foraging ecology, predator–prey dynamics and wider ecosystem functioning in marine systems. During ram ventilation, however, shark movement rates are linked not only to ecological parameters, but also to physiology, as minimum speeds are required to provide sufficient water flow across the gills to maintain metabolism. We develop a geometric model predicting a positive scaling relationship between swim speeds in relation to body size and ultimately shark metabolism, taking into account estimates for the scaling of gill dimensions. Empirical data from 64 studies (26 species) were compiled to test our model while controlling for the influence of phylogenetic similarity between related species. Our model predictions were found to closely resemble the observed relationships from tracked sharks, providing a means to infer mobility in particularly intractable species.

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Journal Article
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Biology Letters
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03 Feb 2022 14:15
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 11:04