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Cardio-respiratory Physiology: How can seals dive so deep for so long? | Virtual Lab

Higher Education
Health Sciences
Biology
Health Sciences
Cardio-respiratory Physiology: How can seals dive so deep for so long?
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About This Simulation

Monitor three dives of a Weddell seal in Antarctica and discover how long it can dive with the oxygen available in its stores.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain physiological adaptations of the cardio-respiratory system of seals to deep diving
  • Point out differences between human and seal physiology during long, deep dives without oxygen
  • Evaluate respiratory and cardiovascular function
  • Measure oxygen consumption and calculate the total amount of oxygen needed for dives of various durations, and compare this to estimated oxygen stores in the lungs, blood, and tissues of seals
  • Use graphing approaches to relate type of exercise to metabolic and heart rates

About This Simulation

Level:
Higher Education
Length:
36
Min
Accessibility Mode:
Available
Languages:
English

Lab Techniques

  • Use a metabolic dome and oxygen analyzer to collect oxygen consumption data
  • Interpret an ECG
  • Catheter insertion and blood collection at different time points
  • Data analysis through calculations and results interpretation (calculate total oxygen stores, aerobic dive limit, oxygen consumption, and ATP generation from aerobic and partially anaerobic dives)
No lab techniques are listed for this simulation.

Related Standards

University:
NGSS:
  • No direct alignment
AP:
  • No direct alignment
LB:
  • Biology D.6 Transport of respiratory gases
  • 6.4 Gas exchange
No lab techniques are listed for this simulation.

Learn More About This Simulation

How Weddell seals can dive up to 600 meters and for over 30 minutes is a bit of a mystery. In this simulation, you will learn about oxygen stores, aerobic dive limit, aerobic and partially anaerobic ATP generation, and special cardio-respiratory adaptations that allow seals to perform deep, long dives that would be impossible for humans without scuba diving equipment.

Monitor seal dives in Antarctica

Welcome to the Labster research station in Antarctica! Here, you will join our team and help monitor Weddell seal dives to study what cardio-respiratory adaptations seals possess to be able to dive so deep and for such a long amount of time. Humans and seals have different amounts of oxygen available to them, and they also store it at different proportions in lungs, blood and muscle. Do seals and humans have the same factorial increase in oxygen consumption? Monitor three dives and collect data on consumed oxygen and blood lactate to find out.

Get a puzzle piece for each calculation you get right

You will equip a Weddell seal with a camera, instruments pack and catheter for blood collection, and watch it dive and come back up to the surface of the hole in the ice in the research hut. Through fun mini-games, you will calculate available oxygen, aerobic dive limit and ATPs generated during aerobic and partially anaerobic dives. For each correct result, you will get a piece of the puzzle!

Swim with a seal

At the end, when you have all your puzzle pieces, your reward will be an interactive dive with the seal. You will be able to see a summary of its main cardio-respiratory adaptations to diving.

Will you be able to guess them before you click the different parts?

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Professor Margaret Brady was able to enhance student learning with A&P virtual labs.
Margaret Brady
Associate Professor
North Dakota State College of Science

“They did the simulation at home, then completed the in-person lab within 30 minutes, no questions asked, and passed the quiz with flying colors.”

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PhD
Lecturer in Human Physiology
University of Westminster

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Modesto City Schools

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Wenatchee Valley College

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Chemistry Lecturer
San José State University

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Dr. Stuart Goodall
Lecturer
Northumbria University

“The Labster simulations get students to do things, and they're not just sitting there consuming a webinar where their mind can drift. They become an active participant in that learning experience.”

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