After completing this section, you should know:
- why animals need energy and how they make it in cells
- why animals require oxygen and need to get rid of carbon dioxide
- what the term gas exchange means
- the structure of alveoli and how oxygen and carbon dioxide pass across their walls
- how oxygen and carbon dioxide are carried in the blood
- the route air takes in the respiratory system (i.e. the nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchus, bronchioles, alveoli)
- the movements of the ribs and diaphragm to bring about inspiration
- what tidal volume, minute volume and vital capacity are
- how the rate of breathing is controlled and how this helps regulate the acid-base balance of the blood
- 9.6: Breathing
- The process of breathing moves air in and out of the lungs. Sometimes this process is called respiration but it is important not to confuse it with the chemical process, cellular respiration, that takes place in the mitochondria of cells. Breathing is brought about by the movement of the diaphragm and the ribs.
Thumbnail: Lungs diagram with internal details. (CC BY 2.5; Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator).