Marine Mammals suffer Irregular Heartbeats while they dive deeper

Marine Mammals suffer Irregular Heartbeats while they dive deeper

A study published in journal Nature Communications has found problem of arrhythmias in marine mammals when they performed deep-dives. Research team from the University of California, Santa Cruz, explained that for deep diving one needs to hold breath for long periods to conserve oxygen. Humans who perform deep diving are aware of the fact that whenever they dive into deeper depths, they risk heart trouble.

When the marine mammals hold breath, it puts pressure on the heart and longer they dive, the risk factor increases for the heart. The research has found that the same risk is being faced by deep-diving mammals like seals and dolphins.

Study's lead author, Terrie Williams, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz, said their study has proven that these conflicting signals to the heart can cause cardiac arrhythmias.

A monitoring device to record heart rate, swimming stroke frequency, depth and times was developed. It was attached to the trained bottlenose dolphins diving in pools or open water and also at free-ranging Weddell seals swimming beneath the ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

The research team noticed arrhythmias in more than 70% of the dives of these mammals. Williams said the study stresses on a particular thing, "It raises questions about what happens physiologically when extreme divers are disturbed during a dive, and it needs further investigation".