Posted by mike on May 15, 2001 at 13:03:31:
In Reply to: Interesting point posted by Wayne on May 15, 2001 at 09:52:30:
what the layman may not understand, is that all those chemicals mentioned in JW's post are proteins. Proteins are the moving parts of biological machinery. The functionality of these moving parts is dependent on having just the right pH, salinity, temperature, and quite likely, pressure. If hydrostatic pressure can alter the functioning of any one of these proteins (moving parts of biological machinery) then the functioning of the entire machine is compromised. (heaven forbid! that means the diving is "bad" for us! wonder what the surgeon general will do ;-)
what i have just stated is glittering with generality. Molecular biology, genetics, ecology and evolution don't lend themselves to simple explanations. A great many basic bio textbooks present this stuff in such a generalized, oversimplified way as to render it somewhat inaccurate. The public demands explanations the length of a commercial interruption on a Saturday morning cartoon, but the observable world is at times, far more complex than our average attention spans allow.
Also, our understanding of molecular scale processes in biological systems is quite young. What is being taught in 1st year bio classes at Cal Poly Pomona (or any other credible institution) was PhD thesis material just 10-15 years ago. Our knowledge of these processes is changing at roughly the same rate as advances in say, personal computing power. As such, a torrent of new information is being made available that could be highly pertinent to us divers, whether we like to go into deep, dark, cold places or whether we like to hang out in 26 feet watching the sun filter through the kelp.
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