Animal Science and Environmental Physiology

Module summary

Module code: VETE1027
Level: 5
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): Steven Belmain / Abigail Rickard



Provide detailed overview on the relationships between environment and animal physiology, investigating the concept of adaptation and its physiological limitations. Course will delve deeper in to aspects of comparative physiology system operation, regulation, and integration in different environmental contexts. Structure/function relationships are stressed along with underlying physico-chemical mechanisms.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1 Understand the organization of the basic physiological systems common across animal species
2 Derive and understand the basic equations defining the physical operating characteristics of organ systems.
3 Use, present and interpret numerical data
4 Summarise and discuss physiological differences in terms of environmental context and constraints
5 Demonstrate knowledge of the effect of different environments on physiological adaptation

Indicative content

Basic principles
• Nature and levels of adaptation
• Mechanisms of adaptation
• Problems of size and scale
Issues in comparative physiology
• Water, ions and osmotic physiology
• Osmoregulation and excretion
• Metabolism and energy supply
• Respiration and circulation
• Temperature
• Nerves and muscles
• Hormones and chemical control
Coping with the environment
• Marine life
• Shorelines and estuaries
• Freshwater
• Special aquatic habitats
• Terrestrial life
• Extreme habitats
• Parasitic habitats

Teaching and learning activity

Material will be delivered in lectures, supplemented by workshop sessions and discussions.


Essay - 40% weighting, 40 pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 - 5.
Outline Details - Essay on how a particular animal species has physiologically adapted to its environment. 2000 words.

Examination - 60% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 - 5.
Outline Details - 2 hour exam to test understanding of the course content.

Students are not required to pass all elements of summative assessment in order to pass the course.