We assessed seasonal variations in the effects of temperature on hypoxia-induced alterations in the bullfrog Rana catesbeiana by measuring the heart rate, arterial blood pressure, breathing frequency, metabolic rate, blood gas levels, acid-base status and plasma glucose concentration. Regardless of the season, decreased body temperature was accompanied by a reduction in heart and breathing frequencies. Lower temperatures caused a significant decrease in arterial blood pressure during all four seasons. Hypoxia-induced changes in breathing frequency were proportional to body temperature and were more pronounced during winter, less so during spring and autumn and even smaller during summer. Season had no effect on the relationship between hypoxia and heart rate. At any temperature tested, the rate of oxygen consumption had a tendency to be highest during summer and lowest during winter, but the difference was significant only at 35 degrees C. The PaO2 and pH values showed no significant change during the year, but PaCO2 was almost twice as high during winter than in summer and spring, indicating increased plasma bicarbonate levels. Lower temperatures were accompanied by decreased plasma glucose levels, and this effect was greater during summer and smaller during autumn. Hypoxia-induced hyperglycaemia was influenced by temperature and season. During autumn and winter, plasma glucose level remained elevated regardless of temperature, probably to avoid dehydration and/or freezing. In winter, the bullfrog may be exposed not only to low temperatures but also to hypoxia. These animals show temperature-dependent responses that may be beneficial since at low body temperatures the set-points of most physiological responses to hypoxia are reduced, regardless of the season. <P>

This content is only available via PDF.