A new method in applying Power Spectral statistics to examine cardio-respiratory interactions in fish

Hamish Campbell, JZ Klepacki, Stuart Egginton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


Power spectral analysis (PSA) provides a powerful tool for determining frequency oscillations in time signals, and it is accepted that mammals can show distinct components in the heart rate (fH) spectrum that are synchronous with ventilatory frequency (fV). Using similar signal processing techniques, these fundamental components at fV are not apparent in the spectrum calculated from fish fH. Here we compare conventional PSA on the R-R interval tachogram generated from ECG traces recorded in rats and fish, with PSA on the raw ECG waveform. The rat R-R tachogram showed a defined sigmoidal component, whereas the fish R-R tachogram was a more chaotic waveform. In agreement with the literature, PSA of these respective waveforms produced a component at the same frequency as ventilation in the rat, but of lower frequency than ventilation for the fish. Applying PSA to the rat ECG produced a spectrum with a fundamental component of similar frequency to that observed in the R-R tachogram spectrum, indicating that the latter adequately contained heart rate variability (HRV) oscillations. However, PSA of the ECG in fish contrasted with that from the R-R tachogram, with components observed in the latter spectrum being absent from the former. This suggests that the frequency components determined by PSA on the fish R-R tachogram were not true components, but were aliased (or folded-back) from higher up in the spectrum. Using established aliasing equations, recalculation of these peaks showed that their true frequency was similar to that of the ventilatory frequency for individual fish. The extent of cardio-respiratory interaction, resulting in fV <f(H/2) in rats but fV > f(H/2) in fish, is suggested to be the origin of the differences observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-419
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2006


  • respiratory synchrony
  • coupling
  • aliasing
  • Fourier transform


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