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Physiology of the Circulatory System
Physiology of the Circulatory System

Learning Objectives

At the end of this lab, students should know...

What is homeostasis?

The balanced internal state of organisms is known as homeostasis, which describes the processes by which organisms maintain their optimal internal conditions.

What is the link between physiology and homeostasis?

Physiology is the study of the normal functions and mechanisms of the different systems in the body. Humans and many other animals attain homeostasis through distinct physiological processes in specialized cells.

What are organ systems?

One or more cell types with supporting functions form tissues, which in turn make up organs with specialized bodily functions. Organ systems consist of two or more organs that work together to provide a common function. The vertebrate physiological system contains 11 major organ systems. While all of the organ systems are interconnected, they do function somewhat independently of one another.

What are the functions of the circulatory and respiratory systems?

The respiratory system controls gas exchange to supply the body with oxygen as it removes carbon dioxide in the lungs after passage through the nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, trachea, and bronchus. The circulatory system consists of the heart, blood vessels and blood, and delivers oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, while removing carbon dioxide and waste products throughout the body.

What is blood pressure, why is it important to regulate its range?

Blood pressure is generated by the contraction of the heart ventricles. Elevated blood pressure levels over extended periods of time can strain and damage the blood vessels and is associated with cardiovascular disease and stroke.

List of Materials

  • Stethoscopes
  • Sphygmomanometers
  • Stopwatch
  • Gold fish (Carassius auratus) or Daphnia magna or Danio or Guppy
  • 32 oz glass specimen jars with lids
  • Alcohol Swabs
  • Waste water container (64 oz jar)
    Dependent on the lab size
  • Small aquarium net (minimum 1)
    Dependent on the lab size
  • Watherbath (minimum 1)
    Dependent on the lab size
  • 10 Gallon aquarium setup with lid and filter (minimum 1)
    Dependent on the lab size
  • Fish flake food (minimum 1 Pack)

Lab Prep

  1. Measuring Blood Pressure
    • To prepare for the blood pressure exercise, simply place the appropriate number of alcohol swabs, sphygmomanometers, and stethoscopes at the front of the classroom.
    • Be sure to check over each of the component parts of the sphygmomanometers, including the tubing, cuff, manometer, and bulb to ensure they are undamaged.
  2. Respiration in Fish
    • To prepare for the fish respiration experiment, one week before the goldfish arrive, set up two 10-gallon tanks in the room near a window.
    • Add around 9 gallons of water to the tanks to a depth of about 1 inch below the rim.
    • Then, mix in dechlorinator according the directions on the bottle.
    • Add in liquid beneficial bacteria according to the manufacturer's instructions.
    • Now, hang the filter on the side of the tank, fill up the trough with water, and then plug the filter in to begin cycling the water.
    • Once you plug in the filter, check to see if it is running properly.
    • Leave the tank to cycle for one week before adding fish. This will establish the beneficial bacteria, creating a healthy environment for the animals.
    • The fish should arrive in a plastic bag filled with water. Float this bag in the 10-gallon tank for approximately 20 minutes, so that the water in the bag and tank acclimate to the same temperature.
    • When the water has acclimated, carefully open the bag and add some of the tank water, and then gently pour the fish into the tank. IMPORTANT: The fish should not be fed the day they are introduced into the tank.
    • Feed the fish the following day with just a pinch of crushed food.
    • Change 10% of the water everyday, making sure the fresh water is at the same temperature as the tank water. Don't forget to add fresh dechlorinator when you change the water.
    • One hour before class, set up five water baths in the front of the classroom. Label each water bath with one of the five temperature conditions.
    • Next, fill the water baths up halfway with either aquarium water or dechlorinated tap water.
    • Then, set the temperatures in accordance with the labels, and place a temperature probe into each water bath.
    • If the temperature is warmer than 20 - 22 °C, use dechlorinated ice cubes to cool the water down before the lab.
    • Finally, place enough clear containers with screw caps next to the tanks, so that each pair of students will have two.


JoVE Lab Lab: 9 Prep

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