Module Identifier BS10210  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Dr Peter Brophy  
Semester Semester 2  
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 Literature review   Coursework.   30%  
  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 provide the student via a series of integrated lectures, practical classes, demonstrations and written assessment with the fundamental principles of animal physiology.   


The module is divided into two classical themes that form the basis for investigating animal physiology i.e. control and maintenance.   

Animal behaviour depicts how an animal interacts with its environment and behaviour is the product of a nervous system connecting sensastions to responses. 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 and receptor classification) are considered in the control section. The final set of lectures in this block explores the relationship between animal glands and secretions (types of secretions, gland structure and an introductory overview of hormones).

The maintenance section starts with a series of lectures on animal movement and introduces skeletal muscle structure (from gross to the molecular level), fibre types in vertebrate skeletal muscle and the sliding filament theory of muscle construction. The second part of this section discusses the key elements of the animal circulatory system (basic parts and diversity, the concept of open and closed circulation, the generalised heart structure and heart mechanics). 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 and the functional anatomy of gas-exchange.   

The next block of lectures examines the relationship between ionic and osmotic balance (osmosis/osmotic concentration and water/ ion budgets). The lecture course concludes with a study of animal feeding and digestion mechanisms (classification of feeding mechanisms and the structure and function of the generalised digestive system) and the importance of temperature in physiology.

The video demonstrations (classic animal physiology experiments) and the practical sessions (sensory physiology in nemotodes and behaviour physiology in beetles) develop the key issues that are raised in the lectures. There are no dissections in this module.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module the student should

Reading Lists

** Reference Text
Randall, D. et al. (1997) Ecker animal physiology : mechanisms & adaptations. 4th. new York: W.H. Freeman & Co