Life Sciences

Comparative Animal Physiology and Morphology

Module code: C7144
Level 5
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Practical
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework

This module deals with how an animal's physiology is adapted to the environment in which it lives. We will explore how a wide range of animals, including vertebrates and invertebrates, have solved problems posed by their environments, such as ensuring their tissues have sufficient oxygen and food for respiration.

We will study how animals regulate their water loss, temperature, and other aspects of their internal environment. We will also consider how animals sense their environment and how they move through it. Finally, we will consider plasticity and the response of animals to rapidly changing environments, such as those created by climate change.

These various topics will highlight the key principles by which physiological systems have evolved. Solutions may be remarkably similar in distantly related animals indicating convergent evolution but also different even in closely related species indicating divergence.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of scientific enquiry as applied to comparative animal physiology
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the major concepts of comparative animal physiology
  • Apply these concepts to novel observations or data
  • Synthesise existing knowledge and use it to construct a critical argument