The effects of acute temperature change and digestive status on in situ cardiac function in mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus)

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In this study, we investigated the effect of acute increases in temperature on cardiovascular function of mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus). We also describe, for the first time, an artery that supplies the gastrointestinal tract that originates from the fourth branchial artery. We used vascular casting to verify the anatomical location of this unique celiaco-mesenteric artery. We predicted that blood flow in this vessel would be correlated with the digestive state of the animal. Increasing water temperature from 25.0 to 30.5 °C resulted in a linear increase in heart rate (fH) from 165 ± 4 beats∙min−1to 232 ± 7 beats∙min−1. Over this temperature range, fH strongly correlated with water temperature (R2 = 0.79). At 31 °C fH no longer correlated with water temperature, and at 34 °C fH had dropped to 114 ± 19 beats∙min−1. Furthermore, we found that mahi are capable of maintaining constant cardiac output over a temperature range from 25 to 31 °C. Cardiac function appeared to be compromised at temperatures >31 °C. In fed anesthetized fish, blood flow was pulsatile in the celiaco-mesenteric artery and was not in fasted fish. In fed fish, blood flow in the left celiaco-mesenteric artery was 1.99 ± 0.78 ml·min−1·kg−1 compared to the total cardiac output of 168.6 ± 12.7 ml·min−1·kg−1. The data suggest that mahi can differentially regulate gastric blood flow based on feeding state, which may explain the high digestive efficiency and very high growth rates of these pelagic predators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110915
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology -Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Cardiac
  • Fish
  • Postprandial
  • Stress
  • Thermal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology


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