Environmental temperature varies temporally and spatially and may consequently affect organismal function in complex ways. Effects of temperature are often most pertinent on locomotor performance traits of ectothermic animals. Given the importance of locomotion to mobility and dispersion, variability in temperature may therefore affect the current and future distribution of species. Many previous studies have demonstrated that burst muscle performance changes with temperature. However, less is known about the effects of temperature on sustained skeletal muscle performance. The iliotibialis muscle was isolated from eight male Xenopus tropicalis individuals and subjected to in vitro isometric and work-loop studies at test temperatures of 15, 24, 30 and 32°C. Work-loop power output (average power per cycle) was maximised at each temperature by altering stimulation and strain parameters. A series of 10 work loops was also delivered at each test temperature to quantify endurance performance. Warmer test temperatures tended to increase twitch stress (force normalised to muscle cross-sectional area) and significantly increased tetanic stress. Increased temperature significantly reduced twitch and tetanus activation and relaxation times. Increased temperature also significantly increased both burst muscle power output (cycle average) and sustained (endurance) performance during work loop studies. The increase in burst power output between 15 and 24°C yielded a high Q10 value of 6.86. Recent studies have demonstrated that the negative effects of inorganic phosphate accumulation during prolonged skeletal muscle performance are reduced with increased temperature, possibly explaining the increases in endurance found with increased test temperature in the present study.
- work loop