Comparative 
Physiology Lab

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Research Projects

The Fahlman Lab is working on several research projects taking place all around the world and with several different species. Scroll down to see what projects are currently occurring.
MAMMALIAN HEMOGLOBIN - Texas, California
This project is looking at the absorption spectra of isolated hemoglobin that is fully oxygenated and de-oxygenated. Where the two spectra cross over is called the isobestic point.This point on the spectra is around 800 nm in humans. We are comparing the isobestic point of isolated hemoglobin in marine mammals to humans.
LUNG FUNCTIONS - Texas, Hawaii, California, Massachusetts, Spain
This project is analyzing and comparing the lung functions of several cetacean species. Using our modified equipment, we can look at flow rates during exhalation and inhalation as well as gas composition. We are comparing the lung function of captive animals in water and voluntarily beached to wild animals that have stranded for unknown causes. This research will give us insight on how gravity may affect the animals ability to exchange gas while on land.

MICROPARTICLES - Vancouver, Massachusetts
We are studying whether microparticles, a constituent in blood, can be a biomarker of decompression stress.  Without a measurable indicator, decompression stress has been difficult to accurately diagnose in stranded marine mammals.  We are testing whether  a relationship between decompression stress and microparticles levels exists.  If confirmed as a biomarker, microparticles have the potential to be used as a diagnostic tool during stranding events.
PHOTO IDENTIFICATION - Texas
The central coast has little to no information on the number of resident bottlenose dolphins in the Port Aransas shipping channel. A team of lab members, students, and volunteers has been using photo identification to estimate the population of animals in the area and determine residential vs. transient animals. We are also hoping to establish the primary use of this area whether it be fishing, calving, resting, etc.