Respiratory mechanics were evaluated in excised lungs and in spontaneously breathing loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta). Respiratory compliance curves reflect the pressure volume characteristics of the body wall. Compliance values are comparable to those of reptiles having simpler lung structure. Maximum flow rates in excised lungs (18-25 ml·sec-1·kg-1) were only slightly below the range reported for marine mammals. During spontaneous tidal breathing expiratory flow rates (11.8 ml·sec-1·kg-1) were lower than maximum values. In the sea turtle, respiratory adaptations including reduced airway resistance and muscular contribution to breathing are similar to marine mammals. These mechanical specializations shorten breathing time, which contributes to diving performance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine