Whale Blood vs Human Blood

From: Kim Marshall-Tilas (kimm@oceanalliance.org)
Date: Fri Dec 22 2000 - 10:22:51 EST


>Q&A:
>
>Thanks for the clarification. Sounds like the demonstration of whale blood
>will not work. Oh well. We still have the Baleen he made from straw and
>fiberglass and the whale & human lungs I made from syringes that are
>restricted to 88% and 12% strokes respectively.
>
>>From reading around and what you are telling me I believe the whale takes
>deep breaths that provide lots of oxygen to the blood. The blood spreads
>the oxygen around and it soaks into the muscle tissue. The muscles then
>use the stored oxygen during the dive. The whale can also selectively slow
>down the metabolism in non essential areas during the dive. Thus
>conserving the limited oxygen while submerged. Do I have this right?

Yes

>I want to show how whales can store oxygen so they have it handy while
>they dive. Perhaps a pie chart can demonstrate the whale's oxygen storage
>mechanisms. What would the percentages be for oxygen stored in the
>lungs, blood and muscle for whales and humans?

On a dive whales can collapse their lungs therefore little or no
oxygen is stored. The blood transports millions of cells carrying
oxygen per liter but the muscle area actually stores the oxygen and
is much denser then the blood - I would guess about 1/3 to 1/2 more
oxygen. Humans of course do not store the oxygen like whales so it
would look much lighter than the whale muscle.

Again, good luck!
Kim

-- 
Kim Marshall-Tilas
Senior Director
Ocean Alliance/Whale Conservation Institute
191 Weston Road, Lincoln, MA  01773
781.259.0423 or fax 259.0288
www.oceanalliance.org



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