Comparative Animal Physiology and Morphology (C7144)

15 credits, Level 5

Spring teaching

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.


90%: Lecture
10%: Practical


50%: Coursework (Essay)
50%: Examination (Multiple choice questions)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 26 hours of contact time and about 124 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: