Subject: How do they breathe ?

Rui Prieto (rprieto@dop.uac.pt)
Mon, 28 Sep 1998 21:05:45 -0100

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   =20
   =20
    To whom it may concern,
    =20
         Hi, my name is Andy Martin, and I am doing a research paper on =
whales. My particular subject though, is how do whales maintain safe =
levels of oxygen while diving to depths of 5000 ft. or more for hours =
sometimes?  Do they sort of switch on a "oxygen saver",  or do they =
breathe more than just oxygen? An answer will be greatly appreciated. My =
address is:  robiemartin@integrityonline4.com
    =20
    Sincerly,    Andy Martin
   =20
    Hello Andy,
   =20
    Cetaceans have several ways to stay underwater for several hours =
without breathing.
        1. They have a bigger concentration of myoglobin compared to =
other mammals. Myoglobin is responsible for the storing of oxigen in the =
muscles, while it is not being used. Having more myoglobin means that =
more oxigen can be stored. Is this high concentration that makes the =
flesh of cetaceans very dark.
        2. They have a better renovation of the air in the lungs. When =
they breathe, they change most (80-90%) of the air in the lungs for new =
air. This makes more oxigen enter the circulation in less time.
        3. Their heart rate slows down when diving. That makes the =
methabolism to slow down as well. This means that only the necessary =
oxigen to swim and keep the animal alive is used.The blood flow may also =
be limited to the heart and brain, decreasing the oxigen debt.
        4. The muscle may work in what is called anaerobiosis. In this =
way, oxigen is not needed to produce energy in the muscles, but as a =
by-product of the process, lactic acid is produced. This is the =
substance that makes our muscles hurt some hours after we make intensive =
exercise. The cetaceans can have their muscles working in an =
anaerobiotic manner, but the lactic acid can neutralised not causing =
problems to the animal.=20
   =20
    I hope this answered your great question.
   =20
    All the best,
   =20
    Rui   :-=AB)=BB


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To whom it may = concern,
 
     Hi, my = name is Andy=20 Martin, and I am doing a research paper on whales. My particular = subject=20 though, is how do whales maintain safe levels of oxygen while diving = to=20 depths of 5000 ft. or more for hours sometimes?  Do they sort = of switch=20 on a "oxygen saver",  or do they breathe more than = just=20 oxygen? An answer will be greatly appreciated. My address is:  = robiemartin@integrityonl= ine4.com
 
Sincerly,    Andy = Martin
 
Hello Andy,
 
Cetaceans have several ways to = stay=20 underwater for several hours without breathing.
    1. They have = a bigger=20 concentration of myoglobin compared to other mammals. Myoglobin is=20 responsible for the storing of oxigen in the muscles, while it is = not being=20 used. Having more myoglobin means that more oxigen can be stored. Is = this=20 high concentration that makes the flesh of cetaceans very = dark.
    2. They have = a better=20 renovation of the air in the lungs. When they breathe, they change = most=20 (80-90%) of the air in the lungs for new air. This makes more oxigen = enter=20 the circulation in less time.
    3. Their = heart rate slows=20 down when diving. That makes the methabolism to slow down as well. = This=20 means that only the necessary oxigen to swim and keep the animal = alive is=20 used.The blood flow may also be limited to the heart and brain, = decreasing=20 the oxigen debt.
    4. The muscle = may work in=20 what is called anaerobiosis. In this way, oxigen is not needed to = produce=20 energy in the muscles, but as a by-product of the process, lactic = acid is=20 produced. This is the substance that makes our muscles hurt some = hours after=20 we make intensive exercise. The cetaceans can have their muscles = working in=20 an anaerobiotic manner, but the lactic acid can neutralised not = causing=20 problems to the animal.
 
I hope this answered your great = question.
 
All the best,
 
Rui   :-«)»
 
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