Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Mutually Exclusive
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Practical 6 x 4 hour practical sessions, duplicated for split groups
Lecture 3 x 1 hour lectures per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Written review - 1200 words  8%
Semester Assessment Practical Assessments  In-class dissections and histology write-up  15%
Semester Assessment Group Presentation  7%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   70%
Supplementary Assessment Re-submission of failed/missing coursework or alternative  30%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   70%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

evaluate the significance of the structure and function of the main organ systems in different vertebrate classes and demonstrate an understanding of the major evolutionary changes that have occurred in these systems

identify the structural-functional basis of vertebrate behaviour and explain how vertebrates recognize and initiate response to challenges set by their environments

demonstrate ability in the basic skills of vertebrate dissection and selected histological procedures

perform in a team to organize a seminar that incorporates an oral presentation on vertebrate special senses

assimilate information technology skills to analyze and evaluate literature data in order to write a word-processed review on a special senses topic in vertebrate biology and to produce an illustrated powerpoint presentation


The module is constructed as an advanced vertebrate teaching & learning package to develop understanding of vertebrate structure-function by the comparative organ systems approach. The basic, and current level two, vertebrate zoology module will provide 10 credits of the teaching platform and with the new material form a 20 credit module in advanced vertebrate biology.

Brief description

The module will provide via a series of integrated lectures, practical sessions, written review and group seminars an understanding of the comparative structure and function of the major organ systems in the vertebrates classes, with a focus in the second part of the module on vertebrate special senses and the endocrine systems. This focus will provide a contemporary comparative approach to resolve the structural and functional basis of vertebrate behaviour and demonstrate how vertebrates recognize and initiate response to challenges set by their natural environments.


To include all material vertebrate zoology from current BS22410 and new advanced material on vertebrate special senses & the vertebrate endocrine system.
Summary of advanced topics to be developed by a comparative approach.
Chemoreceptors: (nasal, vomeronasal and mouth )
Radiation receptors: (photo- & infrared)
Mechanoreceptors: (lateral line, ear vestibular and auditory)
Endocrine System (Thyroid & Parathyroid, Adrenal & Pancreatic islets, secondary organs,
Hypothalamus & Pituitary and Endocrine co-ordination)

Practical classes
To include four assessed practical from BS22410 (two vertebrate dissections and two histology classes)
To include student participating seminars (five seminars) on topics in vertebrate special senses & endocrine system with presentations based on findings from student literature reviews.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not relevant for this particular module
Communication Seminar series will develop oral and listening communication skills and the assessed review written communication skills
Improving own Learning and Performance Opportunity for students to devise and monitor time management, learning and performance skills throughout module via attending lectures, seminars, seminar preparation meetings and practical classes.
Information Technology IT skills developed in a) Review preparation, practical write-up and preparation for examination ¿library and www resources. b) Seminars: powerpoint presentation skills
Personal Development and Career planning Awareness of personal and career development skills and qualities will be realized via coursework i.e. team work for seminars and literature review work
Problem solving Practical classes will allow opportunities to develop problem solving skills
Research skills Practical work (dissections & histology classes) and assignment preparation using library and www resources
Subject Specific Skills Skills in vertebrate dissection & concepts in specific vertebrate material are developed via practical classes and written examination respectively.
Team work Team-work developed in group seminar and preparation for seminars.

Reading List

Kardong KV (2002) Vertebrates - Comparative Anatomy, Function , Evolution 3rd edition London, Mc Graw Hill Primo search Pough, F.H., Janis, C.M & Heiser, J.B. (2001) Vertebrate life. 6th edition London: Prentice-Hall International. Primo search Walker W.F & Liem K. F (1994) Functional anatomy of the vertebrates : an evolutionary perspective 2nd edition London: Saunders College Publishing. Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5