Core Concepts for Respiration and Gas Exchange

Core Concepts

1. Types of respiration

  • Cellular respiration – The chemical breakdown of food substances to yield ATP (aerobic and/or anaerobic)
  • Gas exchange – Different organisms use different kinds of breathing apparatus in order to transport oxygen throughout its body

2. Evolutionary adaptations of gas exchange systems and respiration

  • Different plant adaptations in acquiring CO2 from the environment evolved (C3, C4 and CAM pathways).
  • Structural adaptations of respiratory apparatus depend on the animal’s habitat. The three most common respiratory organs are gills, tracheae, and lungs
  • The respiratory system and circulatory system cooperate directly with each other.

3. Mammalian respiration

  • The respiratory system is divided into the upper respiratory tract (nasal passages, mouth, throat, larynx and trachea) and lower respiratory tract (bronchi and the lungs).
  • Air enters (inhalation) the respiratory system due to a pressure drop inside the lungs (negative pressure).
  • Air exits (exhalation) the respiratory system due to an increase in pressure inside the lungs.
  • Breathing is regulated by control centers in the brain (medulla oblongata and pons.)
  • Gases are transported via passive diffusion throughout the body.

4. Respiratory diseases and their prevention

  • Respiratory disorders may be congenital or environmental.
  • Respiratory disorders can be prevented through a combination of proper diet and lifestyle change.

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