Some of the most unusual and versatile of all the mammals are the groups that live, feed and reproduce underwater. In this free course, Studying mammals: Return to the water, we will see how these formerly land-based mammals adapted to a return to the water, discussing such challenges as breathing, movement and communication. This is the seventh course in the Studying mammals series.
NOTE: The Studying mammals series is gradually being updated and replaced. You can study an improved freestanding version of this course, titled Aquatic mammals, here:
In the Rough Science programme 'Beneath the Waves', Rough Scientists Jonathan and Kathy are given the task of building an air pump that presenter Kate can use to breathe underwater. It’s not just a question of pumping the air down to Kate – the air has to be at the same pressure as the water surrounding her so that her lungs aren’t crushed by the water pressure or over inflated by the pressure of the air pumped down to her.
This extract from the second level OU course The Physical World (S207) explains how pressure can be a problem for a diver.