Published in Journal of Experimental Biology, Volume 207, Issue 5, February 15, 2004, pages 881-890. Copyright © 2004 by the authors. Published by The Company of Biologists. The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.00820.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Jason Blank was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
This study reports the cardiovascular physiology of the Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) in an in situ heart preparation. The performance of the Pacific bluefin tuna heart was examined at temperatures from 30°C down to 2°C. Heart rates ranged from 156 beats min–1 at 30°C to 13 beats min–1 at 2°C. Maximal stroke volumes were 1.1 ml kg–1 at 25°C and 1.3 ml kg–1 at 2°C. Maximal cardiac outputs were 18.1 ml kg–1 min–1 at 2°C and 106 ml kg–1 min–1 at 25°C. These data indicate that cardiovascular function in the Pacific bluefin tuna exhibits a strong temperature dependence, but cardiac function is retained at temperatures colder than those tolerated by tropical tunas. The Pacific bluefin tuna's cardiac performance in the cold may be a key adaptation supporting the broad thermal niche of the bluefin tuna group in the wild. In situ data from Pacific bluefin are compared to in situ measurements of cardiac performance in yellowfin tuna and preliminary results from albacore tuna.