|Delivery Type||Delivery length / details|
|Practical||4 x 4 hours (duplicated)|
|Lecture||18 x 1h lectures|
|Assessment Type||Assessment length / details||Proportion|
|Semester Assessment||Practical Exercise: Assessed dissections and interpretation of practicals||30%|
|Semester Exam||2 Hours One 2-hour theory paper||70%|
|Supplementary Assessment||2 Hours One 2-hour theory paper (plus resubmission of failed coursework or an alternative)|
On completion of the module students will
- demonstrate via a written examination, an understanding of the structure and function of the main organ systems in different vertebrate classes and the major evolutionary changes that have occurred in these systems
- have acquired the basic skills in vertebrate dissection and selected histological procedures via assessed practical sessions.
Subsequently, an organ systems approach is applied to investigate the vertebrates. This strategy allows the understanding of evolutionary changes arising in organ systems, while the module also enforces the importance of the integration of organ system function to the animal as a whole. All vertebrates have common characteristics, and by studying the modification of these basic features, the student will track the progress of vertebrate evolution, and the behaviour of living vertebrate species.
The systems lectures start with an introduction of histology, reviewing the basic chemistry and physics of the cells that are needed for the fixation and wax sectioning of tissues. The reasons why stains are useful research tools and the distinction between histological and histochemical stains are also described. This lecture block continues with a review of vertebrate tissues and integuments, incorporating four tissue-types - epithelial, connective, nervous and muscle.
The next set of lectures deals with the problem of osmoregulation, in water and land, and assesses the different solutions used by vertebrate groups e.g. special osmo-regulatory systems, structure, mode of action (salt gland, rectal gland, gill epithelium, skin and bladder). The evolution of the kidney, and the structure and function of nephron are examined, as is the evolution of the nephron types for freshwater, seawater and land. The final topic in this session assesses nephron functioning in the embryo.
The anatomy and physiology of both respiration and circulation are examined in fish (physical principles, structure of gills, counter-current principle, single circulatory system) and also in tetrapods e.g. structure of lungs, evolution of double circulation from lungfish to mammals, including aortic arches and heart. Locomotion is considered in aquatic and terrestrial environments (physical principles, modes of locomotion, ecomorphology and energy costs of locomotion in water). Flight in birds, pterosaurs & bats and the different types of wing structure and their functioning are examined as are the basic aerodynamic principles.
The following set of lectures deals with the problem of osmoregulation, in water and land, and assesses the different solutions used by vertebrate groups e.g. special osmo-regulatory systems, structure, mode of action (salt gland, rectal gland, gill epithelium, skin and bladder). The evolution of the kidney, and the structure and function of nephron are examined, as is the evolution of the nephron types for freshwater, seawater and land. The final topic in this section assesses nephron functioning in the embryo. Vertebrate reproduction is discussed, with a review of the structure of the male and female gonads and the influence of hormones. The section outlines the different types of sex determination, and the structure of the amniotic egg and the evolution of both male and female reproductive systems.
The next topics investigated are feeding and digestion systems, starting with a comparison of feeding strategies in primitive vertebrates, and the evolution of feeding mechanisms. The structural adaptations of the vertebrate digestion system with respect to diet and symbiotic microorganisms are also reviewed. The lectures continue with an investigation of the vertebrate nervous system, including the major trends in the evolution of the vertebrate brain.
The practical sessions start with comparative vertebrate histology and an investigation of function at the microscopic level in vertebrate
Reading ListRecommended Text
Kardong, K.V. (2002) Vertebrates - Comparative Anatomy, Function, Evolution 3rd London, McGraw Hill Primo search Walker, W.F. & Liem, K.F (1994) Functional anatomy of the vertebrates: an evolutionary perspective 2nd London: Saunders College Publishing Primo search Multiple Copies In Hugh Owen
Pough, F.H., Janis, C.M. & Heiser, J.B. (2005) Vertebrate life 7th Prentice-Hall International. Primo search
This module is at CQFW Level 5