The Loh Down On Science | 89.3 KPCC
About This Show
The Loh Down on Science is the fun way to get your daily dose of science in less than two minutes. The program explains the world of science with a dash of humor. Hosted by writer/performer and Caltech alumna Sandra Tsing Loh, it's a program for those who love science as well as for those who avoid it!
Most Recent Episode
< 1 day ago
The Loh Down On ScienceNow, for some breathtaking research on puffer fish!
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.
Puffer fish famously inflate into spiky spheres that are difficult for predators to eat. To do so, they swallow huge amounts of water. Their super-stretchy stomachs expand like water balloons. It’s assumed that the fish hold their breath, by shutting down their gills, the entire time they’re bloated—for up to twenty minutes! Oh, really?!
Australian researchers Georgia McGee and Timothy Clark took a closer look. They put wild-caught puffers in individual containers with oxygen sensors. The sensors measured oxygen levels in the water continuously. So any decrease reflected the occupant’s real-time oxygen consumption.
After noting each fish’s normal breathing rate, they startled it—BOO! Predictably, each fish puffed up. But then? Its oxygen consumption skyrocketed! This means that the fish somehow huff and puff more when they’re inflated. Indeed, they consumed about five times more oxygen than usual.
So you can scratch breath-holding off the list of amazing puffer fish tricks.
Sorry folks, if you find that news, uh, deflating.This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.