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Physiological and Biochemical Zoology


Water influx rates (WIR) measured with tritiated water dilution were compared with direct measures of water and energy intake in glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus). Total body water (TBW) measured isotopically was also compared with TBW determined by body composition analysis (BCA) of the same birds. Seventeen wild gulls were captured and studied in outdoor enclosures at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, in July 2002. Gulls were hand-fed known quantities of Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) or given water on the basis of one of four experimental treatments: (A) fasting, (B) fish only, (C) water only, or (D) fish and water. Water and energy content of Arctic cod was also determined. WIR of gulls (after subtracting metabolic water production) in treatments A, B, C, and D were 0, 101 ± 5, 62 ± 19, and 122 ± 21 SD g d-1, respectively. Measured water intake in each group was 0, 111 ± 2, 64 ± 3, and 134 ± 15 SD g d-1, respectively. On average, WIR underestimated measured water intake in each group. Errors were lowest but most variable for gulls fed water only (-2.2% ± 32.8%) compared with gulls fed fish only (-9.0% ± 5.4%) or fish and water (-9.0% ± 7.0%). Compared with measured water intake, errors in WIR were relatively low overall (-6.9% ± 17.4%) and comparable to previous validation studies. The difference in TBW determined by BCA versus isotopic dilution ranged between -1.02% and +8.59% of mass. On average, TBW measured isotopically (632 ± 24 g kg-1) overestimated true body water by a factor of 1.033.


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