According to the Wikipedia page on the design of gills, oxygen has a diffusion rate in air 10,000 times greater than in water. Is that true?

The WP entry refers to: M.B.V. Roberts, Michael Reiss, Grace Monger (2000). Advanced Biology. London, UK: Nelson. pp. 164–165.

  • $\begingroup$ There's no clear biological scope in this question, although a good answer has already been posted. $\endgroup$
    – Rory M
    Feb 15, 2013 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ I've slightly rewritten the question to make it clear that the OP was coming at this from a biological perspective. (The OP had already linked to the page on gills and cited the Advanced Biology textbook.) $\endgroup$
    – Alan Boyd
    Feb 16, 2013 at 7:23

1 Answer 1


Yes, according to calculations presented here and here the conclusion is that:

The O2 diffusion coefficient in saturated air (15% oxygen) is 5,700 to 10,800 times greater than in water (60°C and 20°C respectively).

And here is a paper using this difference to investigate the transfer of O2 through the tracheal system of a click beetle.


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