Original Research

A plastic Cartesian diver as respirometer

W. J. van Aardt
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 10, No 4 | a509 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v10i4.509 | © 1991 W. J. van Aardt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 July 1991 | Published: 08 July 1991

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W. J. van Aardt,, South Africa

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Abstract

The working principles of the Cartesian diver as a respirometer for terrestrial micro-athropods are discussed. The advan­tages and disadvantages of Perspex as thermoplastic diver material are compared with those of Pyrex or Jena glass. With the aid of diagrammes on which physical dimensions are indicated, the functional parts of a Perspex diver with a diver cons­tant of about 80 microliters are described. Stepwise instructions for the operation of the diver system (flotation vessel, manometer, glassmanifold) within the enclosed waterbath are presented to enable one to measure the equilibrium pressure (ΔP) of each individual animal with a mass less than 1 mg. The calculations used to determine the diver constant for each diver are fully described. Practical examples are used to enable one to calculate the oxygen consumption rate (VO₂) for a mite species from the equilibrium pressure measurement.

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