Year
2020
Units
4.5
Contact
2 x 50-minute lectures weekly
1 x 1-hour tutorial weekly
8 x 3-hour laboratories per semester
1 x 30-hour project work per semester
Prerequisites
1 BIOL1101 - Evolution of Biological Diversity
2 1 of BIOL1102, BIOL1112
Must Satisfy: (1 and 2)
Topic description
This topic uses an integrative approach to understand the range of physiological systems that determine how animals and plants maintain their internal environment (i.e. water and ionic relations, circulation, nutrient acquisition, growth, circadian rhythms) in response to a broad range of external environments, with particular focus on difficult external environments (hot, arid, salty). The topic will provide the physiological underpinnings that enhance the understanding of animal and plant behaviour, feeding, reproductive and mating strategies, perception, and response to the environment. Examples are drawn from across the animal and plant kingdoms and will include details of where animal and plant physiology interact. Human physiology is included throughout as part of a comparative approach. The topic will also include reference to the evolutionary influences shaping physiology across the animal and plant kingdoms.
Educational aims
After completing this topic students should have a basic understanding of how animal and plant physiology influences their perception of and response to the external environment. Students should also be able to integrate their physiological understanding when observing interactions between animals and plants in their environment. Students will also gain skills for monitoring aspects of ex situ and in situ plant and animal physiology. Finally, students will have experience of applying their physiological understanding and skills through identifying, exploring and reporting on natural animal-plant interactions. This will be achieved through a research project that will require students to utilise effective group work and management skills to identify an appropriate animal-plant system, observe and monitor the system, and present their findings in oral and written format.
Expected learning outcomes
At the completion of the topic, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Understand the basic physiological function (including the associated anatomy) that animals and plants rely on to survive in their external environments
  2. Understand how knowledge of the physiological constraints of animals and plants enhance the understanding of observed interactions between animals and plants within their environment and with each other
  3. Have awareness of how evolution has influenced the multitude of physiological alternatives observed in the natural world
  4. Apply the concepts presented in lectures to unfamiliar examples of animal and plant interactions
  5. Identify and apply the appropriate laboratory and field based physiological monitoring in novel situations
  6. Use an understanding of physiological system function and apply skills for monitoring of animal and plant physiology to design, execute and report on a research project/review using a team approach