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Richard Cumming-Marine Science - Richard Cummings III...

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Richard Cummings, III December 6, 2007 Professor Evans Marine Science Lab Mammalian Dive Reflex One of the most interesting labs this year, was the one that had to do with the mammalian dive reflex. As defined in the article it is the physiologic responses to immersion that include 1. bradycardia, 2. decreased cardiac output, 3. lactate accumulation in underperfused muscle, 4. increased peripheral vasoconstriction. What we learned in our lab was mostly that when submerged in cold water, the body reacts a certain way to the environment it has been put in. When divers submerge themselves in deep water(and often it is very cold) they activate a set of physiological reflexes that act as the first line of defense against hypoxia. “Collectively termed either the diving response or mammalian diving reflex (MDR), the mechanism controls the shift of blood to the brain and heart, functioning in tandem as an important oxygen-conserving mechanism, not only in free-divers, but also in whales, penguins and seals.”
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