|Module Title||VERTEBRATE ZOOLOGY|
|Co-ordinator||Dr Peter Brophy|
|Other staff||Dr Richard Kemp, Dr Conor Caffrey, Dr Robert Wootton, Dr Rodney Turner|
|Course delivery||Lecture||18 Hours|
|Practical||16 Hours (4 x 4 hours)|
|Assessment||Exam||2 Hours One 2-hour theory paper||70%|
|Practical exercise||Assessed dissections and interpretation of practicals||30%|
|Resit assessment||2 Hours One 2-hour theory paper (plus resubmission of failed coursework or an alternative)|
Aims and objectives
The module will provide via a series of integrated lectures and practical sessions an understanding of the comparative structure and function of the main organ systems in vertebrates.
The module uses an organ systems based approach to studying vertebrate zoology. This strategy allows the understanding of evolutionary changes arising in organ systems and the module also enforces the importance of organ systems to the animal as a whole.
The lectures start with an introduction to histology, reviewing the basic chemistry and physics of the cell 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 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.
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) and also the anatomy and mechanistic physiology of flight in birds and bats. The next organ system investigated is the digestion system, with a comparison of feeding and digestion strategies in nonvertebrate chordates and primitive vertebrates, and the evolution of the vertebrate digestion system and organs (e.g. salivary glands, tongue, stomach, liver, pancreas, small and large intestine). The structural adaptations of the vertebrate digestion system with respect to diet and symbiotic microorganisms are also reviewed. Reproduction forms the next series of lectures, with a review of the structure of the male and female gonads and the influence of hormones. This section also outlines the different types of sex determination, and the structure of the amniotic egg and evolution of both the male and female reproductive systems. The lectures continues with an evaluation of vertebrate sense organs and the comparative structure and function of major vertebrate receptors e.g. chemical, mechanical, proprioreceptors, lateral line, eye and electromagnetic/ thermal receptors. The lecture conclude with an analysis of vertebrate neuroendocrine system, focusing on the evolution of endocrine systems and the roles of hypothalamus and pituitary in the regulation of the endocrine system.
The practical sessions start with comparative vertebrate histology and an investigation of function at the microscopic level in vertebrate tissues. The other practical classes involve ‘hands-on’ structure-function studies (dissections) of two vertebrate `types’ - aquatic vertebrate (dogfish) and terrestrial mammalian model (mouse), and the dissections are linked to interpretation of the functioning of the heart and anterior circulatory system via diagrams illustrating system function.
On completion of the module students will
** Recommended Text
Young, J.Z.. (1981) Life of vertebrates. 3rd. Oxford; Oxford Unvieristy Press
Pough, F.H., Janis, C.M. & Heiser, J.B.. (1999) Vertebrate life. 5th. Prenitce-Hall International.
walker, W.F. & Warre, F.. (1994) Functional anatomy of the vertebrates : An evolutionary perspective. 2nd. London: Saunders college Publishing