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Diving Mammals

  1. Paul J. Ponganis

Published Online: 1 JAN 2011

DOI: 10.1002/cphy.c091003

Comprehensive Physiology

Comprehensive Physiology

How to Cite

Ponganis, P. J. 2011. Diving Mammals. Comprehensive Physiology. 1:447–465.

Author Information

  1. Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JAN 2011


The ability of diving mammals to forage at depth on a breath hold of air is dependent on gas exchange, both in the lung and in peripheral tissues. Anatomical and physiological adaptations in the respiratory system, cardiovascular system, blood and peripheral tissues contribute to the remarkable breath-hold capacities of these animals. The end results of these adaptations include efficient ventilation, enhanced oxygen storage, regulated transport and delivery of respiratory gases, extreme hypoxemic/ischemic tolerance, and pressure tolerance. © 2011 American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 1:447-465, 2011.