Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Comparative Animal Physiology
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   MCQ Exam  50%
Semester Assessment ​Online Blackboard test (1 hour)  (1,500 words)  50%
Supplementary Exam 1.5 Hours   MCQ Exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment Written essay  (1500 words)  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Describe basic physiological processes crucial to animal life.

2. Compare and contrast the physiological adaptations of selected vertebrate and invertebrate taxa.

3. Discuss physiological adaptations in the context of environmental conditions.

Brief description

The aim of this module is to provide students with an introduction to animal physiology using both invertebrate and vertebrate examples. It will explore the physiological processes occurring at the cellular level through to the whole organism, and will deal with way in which these processes enable organisms to respond and adapt to changes in their environment. It will build on content delivered in BR14310 Evolution and the Diversity of Life.


This module begins by introducing students to the principles of animal physiology. Lectures covering the main physiological processes in both invertebrates and vertebrates will be delivered, including topics on sensing the environment, muscle physiology and neurophysiology, endocrinology, thermoregulation, circulation, osmoregulation, nutrient assimilation etc. These subjects will be discussed using a comparative approach, with an emphasis on the functional and behavioral adaptations evolved as a consequence of living within their respective habitats.

Two practical classes will complement the taught material by enabling students to apply their knowledge in order to further their understanding of animal physiology.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Collection of data in terms of quality and quantity. The students will be expected to scrutinise their techniques and interpret their results.
Communication Listening and oral skills during the lectures and subsequent discussions will be encouraged. The students will be expected to produce coherent written documentation for their examination and assignment.
Improving own Learning and Performance Outside the formal contact hours, students will be expected to research materials, manage time and meet deadlines. The practical classes will provide an opportunity for students to explore their own learning styles and preferences, and identify their needs and barriers to learning. Students will be able to review and monitor their progress and plan for improvement of personal performance through self-awareness and reflection.
Information Technology The students will be required to access online databases such as ISI Web of Knowledge and Google Scholar to find primary literature. They will also be expected to be competent in the use of word processing software for the delivery of assessed work.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will gain confidence and self-awareness of their personal skills and their ability to evaluate biological problems and objectively assess the quality of proposed solution.
Problem solving Students will be encouraged to critically analyse information provided during the lectures and orally identify appropriate solutions where problems arise. Feedback will be given.
Research skills Students will research the topic beyond the depth and scope of the lecture material during their independent study using a variety of literature sources. They will be expected to produce academically appropriate essays and where necessary comment, evaluate and scrutinize information obtained. Practicals will enable students to develop basic skills in physiology.
Subject Specific Skills Subject specific concepts/techniques relating to animal physiology will be developed.
Team work Students will work effectively in pairs/small groups during practical classes. They will be expected to contribute to the planning and organization of the practical exercises, delegation of tasks through persuasion and negotiation, and the execution of techniques relevant to the practicals with the cooperation of group members.


This module is at CQFW Level 4