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Nuno

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Anyone know how whales can withstand the crushing pressures at depth but still handle being at the surface? What stops them getting the bends?
 


Posts: 20 | Posted: 6:52 PM on December 26, 2005 | IP
RoyLennigan

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as a scuba diver, i know that you can repressurize yourself as you go deeper.  there are air pockets in your sinuses that you can manipulate if you hold your nose and swallow.  this is vital to diving because if you don't, your eardrums can burst.

the bends isn't necessarily about going too deep, but rather going down or coming back up too fast.  you don't give enough time to depressurize and the air bubbles within your body expand.  its not a very pleasant experience.

also, whales, especially sperm whales, have adapted to be able to handle such high pressure, so they are a lot better at it than me.

(Edited by RoyLennigan 1/8/2006 at 1:32 PM).
 


Posts: 152 | Posted: 1:31 PM on January 8, 2006 | IP
Nuno

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Thank you.
 


Posts: 20 | Posted: 10:27 AM on January 12, 2006 | IP
SilverStar

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Designed.


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Posts: 681 | Posted: 5:22 PM on January 10, 2007 | IP
Unriggable

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Quote from Nuno at 6:52 PM on December 26, 2005 :
Anyone know how whales can withstand the crushing pressures at depth but still handle being at the surface? What stops them getting the bends?


More surprising are these birds that dive seventy feet into the water (they stay within ten feet of the surface of the water) to catch fish, then swim back up and fly back to their perch.


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Posts: 51 | Posted: 5:34 PM on May 7, 2007 | IP
EntwickelnCollin

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70 feet? Pussies. The loon rules all. Check them out. They're Minnesota's state bird. They can dive to 200 feet, they've got vampire eyes, and their call is like no other.


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Posts: 729 | Posted: 8:38 PM on May 21, 2007 | IP
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Quote from EntwickelnCollin at 8:38 PM on May 21, 2007 :
70 feet? Pussies. The loon rules all. Check them out. They're Minnesota's state bird. They can dive to 200 feet, they've got vampire eyes, and their call is like no other.


No they fly 70 feet above the water and dive in. They stay relatively close to the surface of the water.


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Posts: 51 | Posted: 06:53 AM on May 24, 2007 | IP
Hespero

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Scuba diver can correct me but... isnt it true the "bends" is caused by air coming out of the blood, something like bubbles in a soft drink that is opened?

So.. it gets in the scuba diver's blood by breathing high pressure air, but a whale does not breathe under water.  I'd guess they hyperventilate then expel air from their lungs and down they go.  No supersaturated blood, no bends.
 


Posts: 24 | Posted: 4:06 PM on December 12, 2008 | IP
Demon38

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Anyone know how whales can withstand the crushing pressures at depth but still handle being at the surface? What stops them getting the bends?

Nothing, sperm whales get the bends.
 


Posts: 1664 | Posted: 11:44 PM on December 29, 2008 | IP
firechild

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Quote from Hespero at 08:06 AM on December 13, 2008 :
Scuba diver can correct me but... isnt it true the "bends" is caused by air coming out of the blood, something like bubbles in a soft drink that is opened?

So.. it gets in the scuba diver's blood by breathing high pressure air, but a whale does not breathe under water.  I'd guess they hyperventilate then expel air from their lungs and down they go.  No supersaturated blood, no bends.


This is correct. The bends is to do with partial pressure of nitrogen at depth. The partial pressure increases for a SCUBA diver because they are constantly breating while underwater and the partial pressure of gases in the blood must equilibrate with the partial pressure of the surrounding water (related to the pressure of the water on the lungs), meaning the nitrogen content increases. If you are snorkelling, you cannot get the bends (an exception to this is if you snorkel immediately after SCUBA diving) because the nitrogen content of your blood does NOT change when you dive. Because a whale does not breath underwater, the nitrogen concentration will not change meaning no bends.
 


Posts: 86 | Posted: 12:01 AM on January 13, 2010 | IP
firechild

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Quote from Nuno at 10:52 AM on December 27, 2005 :
Anyone know how whales can withstand the crushing pressures at depth but still handle being at the surface?


The human body can handle pressures of over 30 atmospheres with the record scuba depth now at 318m. The body of a whale is much larger with a far thicker, stronger skeleton meaning they are able to go to depths of well over 1000m. It is simply a matter of size and strength (skeleton and muscle strength mostly) that allows this kind of depth to be achieved.
 


Posts: 86 | Posted: 12:08 AM on January 13, 2010 | IP
Gaunt

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Firstly, you only get the bends if you stay at depth for any length of time, allowing nitrogen to saturate your cells. Human Freedivers, loons and other animals that dive quickly and ascend quickly never get the bends because they never have much nitrogen in their bloodstreams, they spend mere seconds at depth.

The bends comes when these tiny bubbles of nitrogen get released too quickly into the bloodstream, combine into bigger bubbles and then lodge at narrow points in the bloodstream. They doo this faster than they can be expelled by the lungs. So when asking why whales dont get the bends, remind yourself that the lungs of a sperm whale are the size of a van, and that a human could comfortably swim inside their aorta. So it takes a LOT more nitrogen in the bloodstream to cause them any danger, and they cleanse themselves of it more quickly. Whales, being air breathers, also do not stay at depth for very long, meaning less nitrogen to cleans from the blood.


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Posts: 196 | Posted: 10:47 AM on July 14, 2010 | IP
    
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