The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the allocation of exercise-generated heat and resting metabolic heat production during cold exposure. We tested the hypothesis that, during cold exposure, exercise-generated heat contributes to the fulfillment of the thermostatic requirement. Our assumption was that the thermostatic requirement is higher for exercising than for resting birds in still air because of the disruption of boundary and plumage insulation layers. We predicted that, during moderate exercise, the metabolic heat production of exercising birds would be higher than that for resting birds in still air but would not differ significantly from the metabolic heat generated by resting birds exposed to similar convective conditions. To test our hypothesis we measured whole-animal oxygen consumption of Gambel's quail (Callipepla gambelii Gambel) running in a circular metabolic chamber and at rest in still air at ambient temperatures below the animal's lower critical temperature. We compared these data to previous data for Gambel's quail at rest exposed to wind at a speed equal to the running speed used in our experiments. In addition to oxygen consumption measurements, we measured body temperatures of exercising and resting birds. The data supported our assumption and predictions. (1) Whole-body thermal resistance for exercising birds was lower than that for resting birds in still air, indicating that the thermostatic requirement was higher for exercising birds because of the disruption of boundary and plumage insulation layers. (2) Heat productions of exercising birds were significantly higher than those of resting birds in still air but were not significantly different from the heat productions of resting birds exposed to similar convective conditions. (3) Body temperatures were not significantly different between resting birds in still air and exercising birds. The mean body temperature of exercising birds, however, was 2°C higher than that of resting birds exposed to wind. We concluded that an exercising animal probably does not incur an energetic cost associated with locomotor activity at low ambient temperatures in comparison to an inactive animal exposed to a similar convective regime.
Note: Present address: Department of Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109–1048, USA.