Cardiac output and stroke volume in swimming harbor seals

Paul J. Ponganis, Gerald L. Kooyman, Mark H. Zornow, Michael A. Castellini, Donald A. Croll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Cardiac output was measured by the thermodilution method in three young harbor seals, at rest and while swimming up to the maximum effort for which they could be trained. Stroke volume was determined by counting heart rate simultaneously with determination of cardiac output. Cardiac outputs varied widely between surface breathing (7.8 ml · kg-1 · s-1) and breath-holding while swimming under water (1.8 ml · kg-1 · s-1). Stroke volume while at the surface was almost twice the volume white submerged. Surface cardiac output was always near maximal despite work effort, whereas submerged cardiac output gradually increased at higher work efforts. The cardiovascular performance of seals at the maximum MO2 we could induce from them is equivalent to that of the domestic goat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-482
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology B
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Breath-hold
  • Percutaneous
  • Phoca vitulina
  • Pulmonary artery
  • Thermodilution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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