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Diving Seals and Meditating YogisStrategic Metabolic Retreats$
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Robert Elsner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226246710

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226247045.001.0001

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Marine mammal divers

Marine mammal divers

(p.15) 2 Marine mammal divers
Diving Seals and Meditating Yogis

Robert Elsner

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the diving capacities of marine mammals, focusing on certain species of seal: ringed seals, harbor seals, harp seals, gray seals, hooded seals, Antarctic Weddell seals, and elephant seals. Maximum diving times of seals have been recorded in ranges from about fifteen minutes (ringed seals) to more than two hours (northern elephant seals); depths range from seventy (ringed seals) to a thousand meters (hooded seals and elephant seals). The seal must depend upon its steadily declining respiratory resources throughout the dive. Cessation of breathing sets the course toward progressive asphyxia, advancing inexorably unless reversed by timely respiratory exchange. The overall effect limits the range, duration, and depth of underwater excursions, depending on the animal's breath-holding endurance.

Keywords:   diving seals, ringed seals, harbor seals, harp seals, gray seals, hooded seals, Antarctic Weddell seal, elephant seals, breathing cessation, asphyxia

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