The proximal airway of the bat Tadarida brasiliensis: a minimum entropy production design
The bronchial tree of most mammalian lungs is a good example of an efficient distribution system whose geometry and dimensions of branched structures are important factors in determining the efficiency of respiration. Small and flying endothermic animals have high-energy requirements, requiring morphological and physiological adaptations to reduce energy loss. Here we show that Tadarida brasiliensis, a nocturnal small bat whose energy requirements are exacerbated by this small size and by their frequent exposure to high altitude, has a different morphology in the proximal airway, sustained by a wider trachea and better scaling factors, than other non-flying mammals. This design allows a great decrease of the volume specific resistance of the proximal airway and in consequence a very low entropy production during breathing, approximately 1/18 of that expected for a non-flying mammals of similar body size.
Quote ItemJOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE PHYSIOLOGY B-BIOCHEMICAL SYSTEMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL PHYSIOLOGY Volume: 178 Issue: 3 Pages: 377-384 Published: MAR 2008