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Marine mammals and Emperor penguins: a few applications of the Krogh principle

TitleMarine mammals and Emperor penguins: a few applications of the Krogh principle
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsKooyman G.
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Date Published2015/01
Type of ArticleReview
ISBN Number0363-6119
Accession NumberWOS:000349297900002
Keywordsantarctica; bends; blood; deep; depth; dives; diving mammals; harbor seals; lactate; lung; lungs; porpoise; rates; tursiops-truncatus; weddell seal; weddell seals

The diving physiology of aquatic animals at sea began 50 years ago with studies of the Weddell seal. Even today with the advancements in marine recording and tracking technology, only a few species are suitable for investigation. The first experiments were in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. In this paper are examples of what was learned in Antarctica and elsewhere. Some methods employed relied on willingness of Weddell seals and emperor penguins to dive under sea ice. Diving depth and duration were obtained with a time depth recorder. Some dives were longer than an hour and as deep as 600 m. From arterial blood samples, lactate and nitrogen concentrations were obtained. These results showed how Weddell seals manage their oxygen stores, that they become reliant on a positive contribution of anaerobic metabolism during a dive duration of more than 20 min, and that nitrogen blood gases remain so low that lung collapse must occur at about 25 to 50 m. This nitrogen level was similar to that determined in elephant seals during forcible submersion with compression to depths greater than 100 m. These results led to further questions about diving mammal's terminal airway structure in the lungs. Much of the strengthening of the airways is not for avoiding the "bends," by enhancing lung collapse at depth, but for reducing the resistance to high flow rates during expiration. The most exceptional examples are the small whales that maintain high expiratory flow rates throughout the entire vital capacity, which represents about 90% of their total lung capacity.

Short TitleAm. J. Physiol.-Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol.
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