Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Andreas Fahlman

» Gas exchange in diving animals

» Imaging the lung under pressure.

» Allometric scaling of decompression sickness risk.


Modelling exchange of metabolic and inert gases during breath-hold diving in marine mammals and sea birds.

David Jones,  Brian Bostrom, Al Olszowka, Sascha Hooker

Since 2006 we have developed a mathematical model to estimate exchange of metabolic (O2 and CO2) and inert (N2) gases during breath-hold diving. We have used this model to determine how variation in physiology (e.g. dive response), behaviour (dive and surface interval duration) and anatomy (structural properties of the lung) affects and possibly restrict an animal’s ability to perform extended dive bouts with repeated deep and long dives. Understanding these physiological limitations and how they may be modified will be critical to understand these animals ability to survive in a changing environment.

Selected references. The can be obtained via e-mail request to
- Hooker, S.K., R.W. Baird, A. Fahlman. Could beaked whales get the bends? Effect of diving behaviour and physiology on modeled gas exchange for three species: Ziphius cavirostris, Mesoplodon densirostris and Hyperoodon ampullatus. Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology. 167: 235-246.

- Fahlman, A., S.K. Hooker, A. Olszowka., B.L. Bostrom, D.R. Jones. 2009. Estimating the effect of lung collapse and pulmonary shunt on gas exchange during breath-hold diving: the Scholander and Kooyman legacy. Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology, 165: 28-39-

- Bostrom, B., A. Fahlman, and D.R. Jones. 2008. Tracheal compression delays alveolar collapse during deep diving in marine mammals. Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology, 161: 298-305.


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