Cardiac Oxygen Supply and the Morphology of Shark Hearts

In this set of studies, I look at the the evolution of the cardiac oxygen supply using sharks as model system.

By exploring inter and intra-species variation in cardiovascular variables, I found that changes in vascular resistance could overcome the compressive forces of ventricular contraction in such a way that allows coronary blood flow to increase with heart rate despite the consequent increase in vascular compression by the surrounding myocardial tissue.

By uncovering the mechanism which allows for the increased rate of oxygen delivery during elevated cardiac function I was able to detect similarities with mammalian cardiovascular function and identify a possible underlying mechanisms that may be phylogenetically conserved in vertebrates.

Furthermore, my morphological analysis of the coronary circulation across shark taxa using classical histological techniques combined with phylogenetic analysis and basic fluid dynamics led me to discover that temperature plays a role as a selective pressure on the design of vascular beds. This work provided novel insights into our understanding of the evolution of the coronary artery and cardiac oxygen delivery in vertebrates.


. Determinants of coronary blood flow in sandbar sharks, Carcharhinus plumbeus. J Comp Physiol B., 2017.

Project DOI

. Morphological arrangement of the coronary vasculature in a shark (Squalus sucklei) and a teleost (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Journal of Morphology, 277: 896–905, 2016.

Project DOI