Control and Co-Ordination of Gas Exchange in Water Breathers

  • D. Randall
Part of the Advances in Comparative and Environmental Physiology book series (COMPARATIVE, volume 6)


Approximately equal amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide2 are transferred across the gills of fish, but in opposite directions, whereas ammonia1 excretion is only 10 to 30% of oxygen uptake. This is, of course, a reflection of the metabolic utilization and production of these compounds by fish. The carbon dioxide/oxygen exchange ratio is usually between 0.7 and 1, whereas the ammonia/carbon dioxide exchange ratio is around 0.1 to 0.3. Variations in exchange ratios outside these levels result from changes in body stores of carbon dioxide and/or ammonia, but not oxygen, because these are too small to have a significant effect on oxygen uptake. Body stores of carbon dioxide and ammonia are about three times the excretion rate per hour, so changes in stores can have a marked, but nevertheless short-term effect on exchange ratios. Oxygen stores in fish, ignoring that in the swim bladder, are low and would supply the requirements of the fish for only a few minutes, so oxygen uptake from the environment is approximately equal to oxygen utilization. The swim bladder, however, can act as an oxygen store (as well as a float, sound guide and sound generating organ), the oxygen in the bladder being utilized during hypoxia (see Randall and Daxboeck 1984). Assuming that the swim bladder contains only oxygen and that the fish can utilize all the oxygen present, then the swim bladder oxygen could maintain the tissue oxygen requirements for several hours.


Rainbow Trout Ammonia Excretion Carbonic Anhydrase Activity Fish Gill Carbon Dioxide Excretion 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Randall
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoology DepartmentUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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