Performance of muscle-powered movements depends on temperature through its effects on muscle contractile properties. In vitro stimulation of Cuban treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) plantaris muscles reveals that interactions between force and temperature affect the mechanical work of muscle. At low temperatures (9 – 17°C), muscle work depends on temperature when shortening at any force, and temperature effects are greater at higher forces. At warmer temperatures (13 – 21°C), muscle work depends on temperature when shortening with intermediate and high forces (≥ 30% P0). Shortening velocity is most strongly affected by temperature at low temperature intervals and high forces. Power is also most strongly affected at low temperature intervals but this effect is minimized at intermediate forces. Effects of temperature on muscle force explain these interactions; force production decreases at lower temperatures, increasing the challenge of moving a constant force relative to the muscle's capacity. These results suggest that animal performance that requires muscles to do work with low forces relative to a muscle's maximum force production will be robust to temperature changes, and this effect should be true whether muscle acts directly or through elastic-recoil mechanisms and whether force is prescribed (i.e. internal) or variable (i.e. external). Conversely, performance requiring muscles to shorten with relatively large forces is expected to be more sensitive to temperature changes.
- Received November 14, 2016.
- Accepted March 15, 2017.
- © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd