Comparison Between Human Circulatory System and Oyster Literature Review

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¶ … Human Circulatory System and Oyster Circulatory System

15, November, 2010

There are two main types of circulatory systems, open and closed. Some Phylum Mollusca have a closed circulatory system, like humans, but not all do. Molluscas live in the fresh water and under the sea (this group includes oysters, octopus and squid). Like fish, Phylum Mollusca do not breathe air (like humans), but rather have a gill type of system. Humans oxygenate their blood by breathing in oxygen and passing it through the body. Molluscas oxygenate the blood through gills by direct contact in the water. Molluscas have soft bodies.

The human circulatory system is made up of the heart and pulmonary system, the coronary system and the system circulation. The heart, located near the center of the chest cavity, works within the circulatory system when deoxygenated blood from the body enter the right atrium. That blood then flows through the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle. Blood flows into the pulmonary artery, which then branches into both lungs. There, the blood produces carbon dioxide and takes on a fresh supply of oxygen. The capillary beds of the lungs are then drained and four pulmonary veins carry oxygenated blood to the left atrium (Inlander, 1995).

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From the left atrium, blood flows through the mitral valve into the left ventricle. Contractions cause the mitral valve to close and the aortic valve to open. Two openings lead to the right and left coronary arteries. This supplies the blood to the heart. The capillaries drain into two coronary veins, which empty into the right atrium.

Literature Review on Comparison Between Human Circulatory System and Oyster Circulatory System Assignment

At the point of maximum blood pressure in the circulatory system, the coronary arteries come into play (Weight, 2006). As the body ages, the arterial walls may lose elasticity, which can limit the amount of blood that can flow through them, which will limit the supply of oxygen to the heart. If this occurs, this condition is called arteriosclerosis. If fatty deposits accumulate on the interior surface of the coronary artery (plaque), it can reduce the bore of the coronary arteries, which in turn can limit the amount of blood they can carry (common in individuals with high cholesterol levels).

The final part of the human circulatory system is called the systemic circulation. In this part of the body, blood passes from the aorta into what is best described as a branching system. This branching system leads to all parts of the body and flows into a system of capillaries. From there, blood flows into venules, which then drains into the veins. Veins drain the upper portion of the body lead to the superior vena cava and from the lower part of the body, lead to inferior vena cava. Both empty into the right atrium.

Unlike human beings, oysters have what is called an open circulatory system. In a closed circulatory system, the blood is confined to vessels. The heart pumps the blood to the vessels through smaller vessels, which lead to the organs. In an open circulatory system, the blood circulates within the vessels from the heart (like with a closed circulatory system), however, it fills an open lacunas or cavities. The digestive system is part of the circulatory system. Like humans, oysters have a complete digestive system, starting with food entering the mouth and ultimately exiting the anus.

In an open circulatory system the blood circulates within vessels, from the heart, but it also fills open lacunas or cavities. In a closed circulatory system the blood circulates only inside blood vessels. Mollusks have well developed body organs (nervous system, circulatory system, respiratory system, etc.) but lack body segmentation (Oceanic Research Group).

Oysters are filter feeders. Their gill system allows them to draw water in over their gills through the beating of cilia (Jodrey, 1955). Particles and suspended plankton, which are drifting animals, plants, archaea and bacteria, are trapped in the mucus of the gills. From there, it is transported to the mouth for feeding. It is then digested through the circulatory system and is expelled through the anus. Humans differ because they do not possess gills. Oxygen enters the body through the mouth or nose and is put to use through the circulatory system. Food, on the other hand, only enters through the mouth and goes directly into the digestive system to be processed. Humans use their teeth to chew food, mixing the chomped food particles with spit, which aids in the digestion process.

Humans do not put food into their system unless they wish to. They choose and decide which food to eat (these choices can be good or bad choices). Oysters filter the food into their body through their gills, without much choice. It flows through their body as water naturally flows into their gills and is processed out. Unlike humans, oysters do not have much choice in what food they eat, but like humans, the food can be good or bad.

Both humans and oysters use an extensive digestive system as part of their overall circulatory system, however, both differ greatly in the way the system works (Ruppert, 1955). Still, each digestive system creates the same ultimate outcome.

Oysters don't just use their gills to exchange gases. Gases can also be exchanged through their mantle, which is lined with many small blood vessels. Like humans, oysters possess a heart. The oyster heart has three chambers and lies under the abductor muscle. This muscle pumps blood throughout the entire oyster body. The blood is colorless. The oyster also has two kidneys, which are located on the underside of the muscle. The oyster kidney removes waste products from the blood, like in humans.

Unlike humans, oysters may start out life as one sex and can then change. In fact, this almost always happens. Most oysters begin life as a male and end life as a female. With the exception of individuals who make a surgical choice to change, most humans begin and end life as one sex. Oysters can change sex organs more than one time during their life span and because they can do this, it's possible for one oyster to fertilize its own eggs.

The circulatory system functions with other body systems to provide the following functions. It transports gases (oxygen is transported from the lungs to the cells and waste, or CO2 is transported from the cells to the lungs). Other nutrients are transported, along with other waste from cells and hormones. The circulatory system also contains cells that fight help fight infection. In humans, the pH and ionic concentration is stabilized by the circulatory system. The circulatory system also helps to maintain the body's temperature in humans by transporting heat.

In an open circulatory system, blood is pumped from the heart through blood vessels. It then leaves the blood vessels, entering the body cavities, where the organs are bathed in blood, or sinuses (spaces) within the organs. There is no blood pressure after the blood leaves the blood vessels, so blood flows slowly in an open circulatory system. The animal must move its muscles to move the blood within the spaces.

In a closed circulatory system, blood is not free in a cavity; it is contained within blood vessels. Valves provide the backflow of blood within the blood vessels. This type of circulatory system is found in vertebrates and several invertebrates, including annelids, squids and octopuses. The blood of animals with a closed circulatory system usually contains cells and plasma. The blood cells of vertebrates contain hemoglobin.

Though oysters are can be described as having a similar circulatory system to fish, they differ in many ways. Oysters have a three-chambered heart, whereas fish have two chambers with one atrium and one ventricle (Southgate, 2008). Fish gills contain many capillaries for gas exchange, so once it moves through the gills, blood pressure is low. That low blood pressure then goes directly to the body. The fish body also contains a number of capillaries. Fish have a limited amount of activity, because of the low rate of blood flow in their bodies.

Humans have a four chambered heart, as do other mammals (De Pater, 1964). The four chambers acts as two separate pumps. As blood passes through the body, the blood is pumped using a high pressure to the lungs. After leaving the lungs, an even higher pressure pumps the blood to the body. This high level of oxygen-rich blood flows through the body and allows mammals to have a high energy level.

Though there are many similarities between the human and oyster circulatory system, there is also a vast bit of difference. The ultimate outcome of the process may be the same, however, the process itself is extremely different and is what allows oysters to live and thrive in the water and humans to only survive on land.

Works Cited

Arnaudin, Mary, and Joel Mintzes. "Students' alternative conceptions of the human circulatory system: A cross-age study." Science Education 69.5 (2006): 721-733. Wiley Online Library. Web. 15 Nov. 2010.

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