Effects of hypoxia on oxygen uptake and surfacing behavior in the giant aquatic salamander Siren lacertina

Zachary C. DeVries, Raymond P. Henry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The greater siren (Siren lacertina) can acquire oxygen from both air and water (bimodal breathing). Currently, only physiological measurements have been made on bimodal breathing, with little work being done on the unique surfacing behaviors associated with this process. Flow-through respirometry was used to measure O2 uptake in increasingly hypoxic water. In addition, video recordings were made to capture and quantify the surfacing behavior of greater sirens in response to progressive hypoxia. Greater sirens showed an increase in aerial O2 uptake, a decrease in aquatic O2 uptake, and no change in total O2 uptake as the aquatic O2 tension decreased. Also, greater sirens shifted only the number of surfacing trips they made as the aquatic O2 tension decreased; all other surfacing behaviors remained unchanged. Greater sirens appear to maintain their metabolic rate despite the aquatic O2 tension solely by modifying the number of trips they take to the surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-143
Number of pages9
JournalMarine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Auburn University as this work was funded by an Auburn University Undergraduate Competitive Research Fellowship. We also thank the Auburn University Department of Biological Sciences as additional funding was provided through a Fund for Excellence award. We also thank C. Guyer, D. Folkerts, D. DeVries, S. Jacobson, M. Alcorn, M. Loraas, D. Steen, M. Folkerts, V. Johnson, and all others who assisted in the attempts to capture greater sirens. In addition, we thank the owners of Hutto pond, who graciously allowed us to use their pond for greater siren capture attempts. In addition, we greatly appreciate A. Appel and two anonymous reviewers for their help in creating a publishable manuscript. Finally, we thank Maryann DeVries for her many edits of this manuscript and assistance with our work.


  • Siren lacertina
  • bimodal breathing
  • greater siren
  • respiration
  • surfacing behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science


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