|Module Title||PRINCIPLES OF ANIMAL PHYSIOLOGY|
|Co-ordinator||Dr Peter Brophy|
|Other staff||Dr Conor Caffrey|
|Pre-Requisite||Normally A or AS level Biology or its equivalent.|
|Course delivery||Lecture||20 Hours|
|Practical||6 Hours 2 x 3 hours|
|Assessment||Exam||2 Hours Semester written examinations.||70%|
|Resit assessment||2 Hours one 2 hour written examination; re-submission of all failed course work.||100%|
Aims and objectives
This module is designed to draw together the fundamental principles underpinning animal physiology via a series of integrated lectures, practical classes, video demonstrations and written assessments.
The module starts with a review of the central themes in animal physiology, such as the concept of feedback control and homeostasis. The module then focuses on two classical themes that form the basis for investigating animal physiology i.e. control and maintenance.
Nervous systems have evolved to allow animals to rapidly distinguish important events in their environment, make a decision on the appropriate responses to these situations, and then to co-ordinate their bodies to carry out the necessary responses. Thus, the first set of lectures in the control section describes the general parts of the animal nervous system (function and organisation, neurons, action potentials and synapses). With this foundation, the major features of sensory physiology (components of a sensation, sensory pathways, receptor classification and neural circuitry) are considered in the control section. The next set of lectures explores the relationship between animal glands and secretions (types of secretions, generalized exocrine and endocrine gland structure). The endocrine system of an animal is closely associated with the nervous system, and neurons and hormones often work together to control a single process. Hormones can influence behaviour via sensory Mechanisms, activity in the central nervous systems and effector mechanisms. Therefore, a set of lectures will explore the basis of hormonal activity (structure, mechanism of action, transport and elimination) and the structure and function of key endocrine glands (e.g. pituitary, thyroid and adrenals). The final set of lectures in this block describes the motor systems that produce adaptive responses. Motor systems consist of motor organ (muscles) and the neural circuits that control them. This lecture block start with a review of animal movement strategies and, using skeletal muscle as a model, describes muscle structure (from gross to the molecular level), fibre types and the sliding filament mechanism of muscle construction.
The maintenance section start with an assessment of the key elements of the animal circulatory system (basic parts and diversity, the concept of open and closed circulation, structure of the heart, arteries, capillaries and veins) and the concept of cardiovascular control. An understanding of the circulatory system logically allows a consideration of animal respiration i.e. the basic components of a gas-transfer system, transport of gases in blood, functional anatomy of gas-exchange and function of haemoglobin. The structure and function of lungs, control of respiration and types of breathing are also examined. The next block of lectures reviews the relationship between ionic and osmotic balance (osmosis/osmotic concentration and water/ ion budgets) and mechanisms used by invertebrates and vertebrates to respond to changes in their environment. The effect of temperature on change on physiological and behavioural processes in animals is also investigated. The lecture course concludes with a study of animal feeding and digestion strategies (classification of feeding mechanism, the structure and function of the generalised digestive system).
The video presentations (key animal physiology experiments) and the practical sessions with living animals (sensory physiology in nematodes and behaviour physiology in beetles) develop the key issues that are raised in the lectures. There are no dissections in this module.
On completion of the module the student should
** Reference Text
Kay, I.. (1998) Introduciton to animal physiology. Oxford; Bios Scientific Publishers Ltd.
Randall, D. et al. (1997) Ecker animal physiology : mechanisms & adaptations. 4th. new York: W.H. Freeman & Co
Schmidt-Nielsen, K.. (1997) Animal physiology: adaptation and environment. 5th. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Willmer, P. et al. (2000) Environmental physiology of animals. Oxford: Blackwell Science