Download PDF by Eberhard Passarge: Color Atlas of Genetics (Thieme Flexibook)

By Eberhard Passarge

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Two separate types of adaptations beyond simply increasing the surface area to volume ratio can increase the efficiency of gills. These are the second set of alternative approaches facing a larger aquatic animal. One increases the water flow over the gills; the other ensures that recirculation of already respired water is minimized. Increasing the water flow available to the gills can be done in sev- Respiration and the Body Plans of Animal Life 23 eral ways. The simplest would be for the animal to position itself in high current areas, so that more water naturally passes over the respiratory structure.

It seemed to Cornette and his coinvestigators that, somehow, high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere triggered an increase in the rate of new species formation. But why? Animals do not use carbon dioxide in any way—just the opposite. Thus it is very puzzling to see these results. Cornette and his colleagues explained their observations in the following way: The simplest hypothesis is that macroevolution is directly affected by carbon dioxide levels. Alternatively, paleotemperature may be an intermediary between the two systems.

Our own solution is to use a series of muscles, the diaphragm, to inflate our lungs. Because air is far less dense than water, an equal volume of air contains many thousand times fewer molecules of oxygen than does the same volume of normally oxygenated water. Lungs therefore usually have much larger surface areas and, to do this, all are internal. Like powered gills, the animal uses some morphological mechanism to pump air into the lung chamber. Passive contact with air will not work for most larger animals and hence the many adaptations for “breathing”—the pumping of air into the lung chambers.

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