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Title: An integrative approach to the ecophysiology of the European cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis
Author: Aitken, J.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2006
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Cephalopods, including cuttlefish, have a reputation for ‘living fast and dying young’. The aim of the work described in this thesis was to perform a metabolic assessment of the European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis), so as to determine if cuttlefish live up to the cephalopod reputation as a high energy consumer. To begin the assessment in Chapter 2, the standard metabolic rate (SMR) of Sepia officinalis was investigated over a water temperature range of 11-21°C. The SMR of cuttlefish was compared to 17 other marine ectotherms at a similar body mass and in corresponding water temperatures. Cuttlefish had an SMR 1.7 times higher than the teleost fish species examined. In Chapter 3, cuttlefish cellular energy budgets were calculated to identify cellular drivers of whole-animal SMR. The purpose of Chapter 4 was to discover the primary catabolic fuel used by adult Sepia officinalis. Respiratory quotients (RQ) and O:N ratios were calculated at 16 and 21°C. Carbohydrates were the primary metabolic substrate in both fasting and fed states. Temperature significantly affected ammonium and phosphate excretion, and the excretion of each substance was tightly correlated with the other. In Chapter 5, experiments were taken outside the laboratory and into a tidal pond. Large (1800 g) cuttlefish were tagged with acoustic jet pressure transmitters and released into a marais in L’Houmeau, France. Cuttlefish were found to be nocturnal, with night time activity significantly influenced by moonlight levels. The respiratory component ‘R’ of the cuttlefish energy budget is calculated in the thesis conclusions of Chapter 6. After deriving estimates of the daily energy expended in activity for Sepia officinalis in the marais, the European cuttlefish may indeed be ‘living faster’ than fish.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available