|Module Title||ENVIRONMENTAL ANIMAL PHYSIOLOGY|
|Co-ordinator||Professor Peter M Brophy|
|Other staff||Dr Judith Humphries, Dr Joanne V Hamilton|
|Course delivery||Practical||2 x 3h practicals|
|Lecture||15 x 1h lectures|
|Seminars / Tutorials||4 x 3 h seminars|
The key features of physiological strategies will then be examined in both invertebrate and vertebrate animals from selected aquatic, terrestrial and parasitic habitats. The aquatic block of lectures start with an examination of the physiological approaches for marine life, arguably the most trouble-free stable environment for animals on the planet, with most evolutionary innovations having been marine. However, the depth, pressure, buoyancy, locomotion and sensory problems that occur in the deeper waters of the sea will be explored, as will regulatory strategies of secondary invaders of seawater, the marine vertebrates, including airbreathers (birds, reptiles and mammals). The next section examines shoreline and estuary habitats, which unlike seawater are at the interface of air, water and land. These animals often have convergent evolutionary physiological design solutions for surviving in their respective cyclically altering niches. Freshwater life has many environmental variables, and it is not only physiological approaches that are important in survival. The final topic in the aquatic section investigates the physiological adaptations to extreme aquatic habitats, for example transient water bodies, osmotically peculiar habitats (salinity, acid & alkaline, oils) and thermally extreme waters (deep-sea vents, hot springs, sea-ice).
The key long-term and short-term physiological strategies for terrestrial habitats (living in air) will form the next section. The domination of arachnids, insects and vertebrates on land via supporting physiological mechanisms will be a focus of this lecture block. The final lectures on terrestrial life will consider convergent environmental adaptations in animals that endure extreme conditions such as hot and dry arid deserts, polar regions and altitudes. The module concludes with an assessment of the influence of human populations on other terrestrial animals.
Practical classes will allow the students to consolidate the lecture theory and develop skills in designing and executing their own experiments. The assessed practical reports will be in standard academic research format (introduction, materials & methods, results and discussion). There will be opportunity to manipulate numerical information by analysing data from laboratory practical classes and also via published data introduced during the lectures. Background IT skills, such as information retrieval on primary literature via internet science citation indexes are relevant to the theory paper and practical write-ups. Group seminars will provide further opportunities to develop IT and oral presentation skills. Oral presentations via PowerPoint will be assessed in these seminar sessions.
This module is at CQFW Level 6