Cardiovascular responses of decapod crustaceans to environmental challenges have received extensive attention. However, nearly all of these studies have been restricted to lab-based experiments; here we describe a methodology that will enable measurement of heart rate (HR) in free-moving decapods in the field. Data storage tag heart rate and temperature loggers (DST micro-HRT; Star-Oddi) were used to record electrocardiograms (ECG) and HR in large decapod crustaceans. These loggers were originally designed for use in vertebrates and must be surgically implanted in the body cavity near the heart in order to function. We adapted these loggers for external use in large decapod crustaceans. The method involved abrading the carapace directly above the heart and placing the electrodes of the logger directly on top of the dermal tissue. The loggerwas then secured in place with periphery wax. This method negated some of the more intricate operations used for vertebrates. The rapid setup time of approximately 5 min suggested that animals could be easily instrumented in the field and without the use of anesthetic. The logger was calibrated by simultaneously measuring theHRchanges of aWest Indianspider crabMithrax spinosissimus with a pulsed-Doppler flowmeter. The data gathered with the two methods showed a tight correlation during an increase in temperature. The loggers were also successfully implanted in a variety of other large species of aquatic and terrestrial decapods. The data obtained showed that the method works in a broad range of species, under different experimental conditions. In each case, the loggers comprised less than 1% of the body mass and would be suitable for use in animals 1300 g. All animals survived the attachment procedures and were feeding and active after removal of the loggers. Nearly all previous cardiac measurements on decapods have been carried out in controlled laboratory settings. The use of these loggers will make significant advances in measuring HR in unrestrained, undisturbed animals in their natural environment during extended periods of time and has the potential to lead to novel findings.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Crustacean, Data logger, Heart rate, Physiology, Star-Oddi
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1086/695839
Journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology
Citation
McGaw, I.J. (Iain J.), Steell, S.C. (S. Clay), Van Leeuwen, T.E. (Travis E.), Eliason, E.J. (Erika J.), & Cooke, S.J. (2018). Application of miniature heart rate data loggers for use in large free-moving decapod crustaceans: Method development and validation. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 91(1), 731–739. doi:10.1086/695839