•Types• •Cardiovascular• •Vascular• •The Heart• •Blood•
 
 

Types of Circulatory Systems

Living things must be capable of transporting nutrients, wastes and gases to and from cells. Single-celled organisms use their cell surface as a point of exchange with the outside environment. Multicellular organisms have developed transport and circulatory systems to deliver oxygen and food to cells and remove carbon dioxide and metabolic wastes. Sponges are the simplest animals, yet even they have a transport system. Seawater is the medium of transport and is propelled in and out of the sponge by ciliary action. Simple animals, such as the hydra and planaria, lack specialized organs such as hearts and blood vessels, instead using their skin as an exchange point for materials. This, however, limits the size an animal can attain. To become larger, they need specialized organs and organ systems.

Multicellular animals do not have most of their cells in contact with the external environment and so have developed circulatory systems to transport nutrients, oxygen, carbon dioxide and metabolic wastes. Components of the circulatory system include

  • blood: a connective tissue of liquid plasma and cells
  • heart: a muscular pump to move the blood
  • blood vessels: arteries, capillaries and veins that deliver blood to all tissues
There are several types of circulatory systems. The open circulatory system is common to molluscs and arthropods. Open circulatory systems (evolved in insects, mollusks and other invertebrates) pump blood into a hemocoel with the blood diffusing back to the circulatory system between cells. Blood is pumped by a heart into the body cavities, where tissues are surrounded by the blood. The resulting blood flow is sluggish.

Vertebrates, and a few invertebrates, have a closed circulatory system. Closed circulatory systems (evolved in echinoderms and vertebrates) have the blood closed at all times within vessels of different size and wall thickness. In this type of system, blood is pumped by a heart through vessels, and does not normally fill body cavities. Blood flow is not sluggish. Hemoglobin causes vertebrate blood to turn red in the presence of oxygen; but more importantly hemoglobin molecules in blood cells transport oxygen. The human closed circulatory system is sometimes called the cardiovascular system.

A secondary circulatory system, the lymphatic circulation, collects fluid and cells and returns them to the cardiovascular system.

 
 
Anatomy of the human heart