How do we work out how many calories a task requires?

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Offline sammybingo

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Hi :)
I have been thinking a lot about the energy costs in foraging lately (honestly, it's part of my degree, I'm not just crackers!).
I've got thinking tonight - how do we know how many calories are required to perform a given task? How can we measure calorie expenditure in non-mammal critters? I know we can measure calories in a nutritional substance in a caloromiter [sp?], is there some similar instrument we can use to measure calorie usage?
Whenever I think about a uni project in the night instead of sleeping, I go off at a mad tangent and think about something that isn't something I really need to know, but would like to. I won't be able to sleep now!
If anyone has any ideas, I'd be most pleased to hear them, as this will bother me all night now.
Thanks!
Sam

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Offline RD

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How do we work out how many calories a task requires?
« Reply #1 on: 24/11/2011 01:14:14 »
Could put the non-mammal critters in a gas-tight container and measure the CO2 produced by respiration.

[You'd have to continuously remove the CO2 from the chamber otherwise critter task performance could suffer as CO2 levels increased ]

NB: things other than critters in question could produce or absorb CO2, e.g. plants (photosynthesis), bacteria (decomposition) or inanimate things like concrete ...

Quote
carbon dioxide was reacting with exposed concrete inside Biosphere 2 to form calcium carbonate, thereby sequestering the carbon dioxide and, as part of it, the oxygen that had disappeared
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere2#Oxygen
« Last Edit: 24/11/2011 01:52:03 by RD »

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Offline CliffordK

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How do we work out how many calories a task requires?
« Reply #2 on: 24/11/2011 17:55:17 »
Good idea, RD.  That is probably the most accurate.

If you are choosing a task vs rest...  you could setup a control experiment with the same animal mostly at rest.

Depending on how long-term the testing is, you could simply monitor the animal's caloric intake and weight compared to a control group.

You could also connect an exercise wheel to a generator and monitor the output.  [::)]