Ferguson, J. Homer Department of Biological Science, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho.
- Physiological characteristics
- Diving species
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Various species of diving, air-breathing animals that can be found in every class of terrestrial vertebrates, having almost complete freedom in the aquatic habitat through several specialized physiological adaptations. Modern technology has allowed the investigation of many mechanisms that permit diving animals to spend long periods of time submerged. These investigations include studies to determine the physiological changes that occur during the dive. Truly aquatic animals have no need for a specialized diving response, because they are able to obtain oxygen directly from the water and thus sustain themselves indefinitely in the water. Terrestrial animals, on the other hand, have in many cases gone back in varying degrees to the aquatic mode of living. In all of these, the problem of supplying oxygen and nutrients to the tissues while submerged with only the physical attributes of a terrestrial animal has been a major specialization.
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