What Is Needed for Respiration?

By Henri Bauholz

Respiration is a biological process that involves the exchange of gases. The most common form of respiration involves the absorption of oxygen and the release of carbon dioxide. This common form of respiration occurs in both plants and animals.

Gaseous Atmosphere

Since respiration involves the absorption of one gas (usually oxygen) and the release of a second gas (carbon dioxide is released when oxygen is absorbed), there has to be an atmosphere present, where the gases can exist.

Molecular Structure

The gas to be used by the organism has to be present in a molecular form that is compatible with that of the organism. For example, oxygen occurs mostly in the molecular form of two atoms (O2), but sometimes it forms ozone (O3), which cannot be assimilated by a biological organism.

Biological Host

Respiration needs an organism that has the means to absorb and release gases. Mammals exchange gases through the lungs, while green plants have stomata, small valve-like openings on leaves that allow gases to pass into and out of the plants.


A biological compound is needed to facilitate the exchange of gases, because the released gases need to be created from a bio-chemical reaction. Carbohydrates must be present in the living organism for oxygen reactions, so that the oxygen can join with the carbon compound, which will create water and carbon dioxide.

Favorable Microclimate

The right temperature, moisture content and overall living conditions need to be present both in the organism and the surrounding micro-climate. Water has to be in its liquid form for respiration to occur.

About the Author

I live in Portland, Maine, I have travelled extensively in North America and Europe and I am an accomplished photographer. My hobbies include hiking, skiing, swimming and camping.