Animal Respiration Group
Convenor: Michael Berenbrink (University of Liverpool)
The field of respiration physiology studies organisms as a system of gas exchange that spans from the use of oxygen and provision of energy in the mitochondria and the cellular production of carbon dioxide, to the diffusive and convective transfer of these respiratory gases through multiple structures and compartments between organelles and the environment, water or air.
Respiratory physiologists detail mechanistic studies of respiration at all levels of biological organisation, as well as in integrating findings into a holistic picture of how animals function in their environment. Respiration physiology greatly benefits from the comparative approach, where variations in respiratory mechanisms employed by animals in different, often challenging environments, or with different lifestyles are used to elucidate fundamental principles of respiratory function.
Wide-ranging studies – from diving insects to air-breathing lungfishes to oxygen-depositing deep sea fishes, from hibernating frogs to running lizards and digesting snakes, and from high-flying birds to burrowing moles to deep-diving seals – have greatly increased our knowledge about the capacities and limits of respiratory mechanisms across animals. This is a key factor for assessing consequences of past and future changes in respiratory environments.