Believe it or not, gills are rather similar to human lungs in how they operate. Both gills and lungs act as a gas station in that deoxygenated blood cells are moved to the “gas station” to get refilled with oxygen before returning back to the body full of oxygen. Gills, however, have to be large in order to do the necessary filtering of useable oxygen. A gill consists of row after row, and column after column of specialized cells. This is known as the epithelium. When “seawater is forced across the epithelium membranes, dissolved oxygen in the seawater is taken up by tiny blood vessels and veins, while the carbon dioxide is exchanged”. The key is to draw in all the necessary oxygen from water (which contains less oxygen than air) and to keep the amount of salt in the blood stream steady.
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