Myoglobin profiles in marine mammals Academic Article uri icon


  • The distribution and concentration of muscle myoglobin is important in marine mammals as a source of oxygen during diving. A spectrophotometric analysis technique was used to determine myoglobin concentration. Samples were taken from fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus), harp seals (Phoca groenlandica), Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), a false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens), a common dolphin (Delphinus delphinus), humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis), a dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus ohscurus), a spotted dolphin (Stenella altenuata), a striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus). The entire swimming muscle was removed, weighed, and subsampled for analysis. Cross sectional pieces of the muscle were subsampled using a circular grid of at least 35 sites. In cetaceans the muscles removed were the dorsal and the ventral longisimus; in otariids it was the pectoralis; and in phocids the langisimus was removed. Contour maps of myoglobin concentration were made for each animal using a PC based program S-plus (StatSci, Seattle). Myoglobin concentration was not uniformly distributed within the muscle. In the dolphin, the myogiobin gradient increased along the longisimus muscle from the cranial to the caudal end. The concentration also increased closer to the muscle attachment on the transverse processes and the neural spines of the vertebrae.

published proceedings

  • FASEB Journal

author list (cited authors)

  • Harrison, L., & Davis, R.

complete list of authors

  • Harrison, L||Davis, R

publication date

  • December 1997