Water Balance Essay

814 words - 4 pages

Water Balance in Humans and Salmon
Anthony Salgado
January 22, 2015
Dr. Ellen Sparger

Water Balance in Humans and Salmon
Water balance is a very important function that most of us take for granted. Maintaining good hydration is essential for life, not just for humans, but also for animals like the salmon. Humans can go without food for more than thirty days, but cannot go without water for more than just a few days. This is the same for salmon, they can go without food longer than water. Salmon stop eating when they enter fresh water to spawn. Water balance is very important for their cycle of life. Humans and Salmon have similar organs (See picture of a salmon’s ...view middle of the document...

This is far from the truth, salmon must consciously take a drink, and they have it much harder than we do, because they travel in both fresh and salt water. Humans only have to drink enough water to stay hydrated, and our kidneys do all the work by preventing the buildup of waste and extra fluid in the body. Our kidneys work by filtering blood and producing urine. Our kidneys also send the minerals we need back to the bloodstream and discard the waste to the bladder (urine). Salmon must adapt to two kinds of environments (salt water and fresh water). Since salmon live most of their lives in the ocean their bodies must deal with all the extra salt in the water and prevent themselves from getting dehydrated. To prevent dehydration salmon drink large amounts of salt water and their kidney produce small amounts of urine to make it as concentrated as possible. Salmon also have a special enzyme in their gill cells (Adenosine-5'-triphosphate or ATP) that will help it move salt (Sodium Chloride) out of their bloodstream and into the salt water as it is passed through their gills. Once the salt is removed from their blood stream it will offset the large amounts of salt taken in and balance their water level (University of New Mexico 2015). It is the opposite when salmon enter...

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