Life in a Shell: A Physiologist's View of a Turtle by Donald C. Jackson

By Donald C. Jackson

Trundling alongside in basically a similar shape for a few 220 million years, turtles have noticeable dinosaurs come and move, mammals emerge, and humankind extend its dominion. Is it any ask yourself the chronic reptile bested the hare? during this attractive booklet physiologist Donald Jackson stocks a life of remark of this curious creature, permitting us a glance lower than the shell of an animal instantly so well-known and so unusual. right here we find how the turtle’s proverbial slowness is helping it continue to exist a protracted, chilly iciness below ice. How the shell not just serves as a protecting domestic but additionally impacts such crucial features as buoyancy keep watch over, respiring, and surviving remarkably lengthy classes with no oxygen, and the way many different physiological positive aspects support outline this precise animal. Jackson bargains perception into what precisely it’s wish to reside inside of a shell—to hold the heavy carapace on land and in water, to respire with out an expandable ribcage, to have intercourse with all that physique armor intervening. alongside the way in which we additionally research anything in regards to the technique of clinical discovery—how the reply to 1 query results in new questions, how an opportunity commentary can switch the path of analysis, and peculiarly how new learn consistently builds at the prior paintings of others. a transparent and informative exposition of physiological suggestions utilizing the turtle as a version organism, the e-book is as attention-grabbing for what it tells us approximately clinical research because it is for its deep and exact figuring out of the way the iconic turtle “works.” (20110210)

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Extra resources for Life in a Shell: A Physiologist's View of a Turtle

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0. I then returned the turtle to the tank, waited about a day, and then repeated the measurement of specific grav20 BUOYANCY ity. Consistent with the original observation, the turtles’ (a total of eight animals, which were all tested with both attachments) buoyancy returned to normal, due to approximately equal changes in their weights in both air and water. Both weights increased in response to floats and both decreased in response to weights. To confirm that the change in weight in water was due to a change in lung volume, I measured the lung volume of thirteen turtles that were exposed to a range of weights and floats.

This still represents a relative hypoventilation and is the response that is required to sustain a decrease in blood pH and an increase in blood PCO2 as temperatures rise. A more important challenge to the alphastat hypothesis, and the basis for considerable controversy about the hypothesis, is that blood pH and particularly intracellular pH do not always follow the ideal relationship described by Reeves and his colleagues (Heisler, 1986), and in some animals, such as monitor lizards and hibernating mammals, blood pH is relatively independent of temperature.

We reported this phenomenon as an incidental observation (Jackson and Prange, 1979), and although we did not attempt to study its basis, we postulated that one possible explanation was that some of the green turtle’s muscles contribute to both breathing and locomotion, thus the two activities could not occur simultaneously. At about the same time, an undergraduate student, David Kraus, set up in my lab at Brown University a swimming tank, a flume, with the intention of studying swimming metabolism in juvenile green turtles.

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