Sunday, May 4, 2008

Diving Physiology

Those of you that are interested in marine biology and diving should take this opportunity to look into the diving physiology of marine mammals which, to be quite honest make humans look pretty shabby. The Weddell seal for example can dive to over 1000' and remain there for up to an hour. Elephant seals dive down over a mile and stay down for two hours (what is this a competition?). These mammals tend to store their oxygen in blood and muscle rather than in their lungs, which would cause buoyancy problems. The Weddell seal also stores a huge amount, over 50 pints, of oxygenated blood in its spleen. The spleen contracts after a dive begins fortifying the blood with oxygenated cells. As this paper explains animals also use physiological tricks to extend their time underwater

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