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Advanced Applications of Physiology

Module titleAdvanced Applications of Physiology
Module codeBIOM554
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Dr Robert Ellis (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

In this module you will develop your understanding of major physiological mechanisms in a range of animal systems and how these enable adaptation to environmental perturbation. You will cover a number of topics, including ion, osmo and acid-base regulation, respiratory and neuroendocrine physiology, calcification, evolutionary physiology and sexual differentiation. Using these physiological systems as exemplars, we will evaluate the physiological methods widely applied in a real world context, and discuss the advances these have enabled for our understanding of global challenges (e.g. climate change), or the innovations these have enabled in other fields (e.g. aquaculture; elite animal performance). The module takes a research-led approach, covering the very latest advances in the field. Interactive skills sessions across the module will develop skills in pitching research ideas, critical evaluation of research and research dissemination.
It would be expected that students undertaking this module would have a fundamental knowledge of how different physiological systems, such as acid-base, respiratory and neuroendocrine physiology, function in animals, as well as some understanding of how these systems regulate and determine an animals response to environmental stress.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to develop an in-depth understanding of integrative animal physiology, the ability to appraise physiological methods employed in a real world context and the capacity to critically evaluate the role physiology plays in advancing our understanding of global challenges or innovation. You will develop skills in sourcing and interpreting scientific literature, analysing experimental methodologies and results and communicating facets of physiological research.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe in detail different physiology systems, how these interact and how they determine the response of animals to various environmental drivers
  • 2. Critically evaluate methodologies employed for studying organism physiology in a range of real world contexts (including conservation, fisheries & aquaculture, elite animal performance)
  • 3. Using key case studies from the literature, critically evaluate how physiology has led to advances / innovation in a diverse range of biological fields, and indicate the benefits this has had for industry, academia or policy
  • 4. Critically appraise the role of physiology (opportunities / limitations) in addressing future global challenges, such as global climate change and food security, identifying key areas for future innovation

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Identify critical questions and methodologies from the literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work
  • 6. Analyse and evaluate independently a range of research-informed literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work.
  • 7. With limited guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, practical investigation, and enquiry within biosciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Communicate ideas, principles and theories fluently using a variety of formats in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 9. Devise and sustain, with little guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with sound, convincing conclusions

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Lectures covering (but not limited to): calcification, evolutionary physiology, sexual differentiation, cardio-respiratory physiology; ion, osmotic and acid-base regulation; endocrinology; reproduction; neurophysiology and behaviour.

Skills sessions and discussion groups.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching12Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching6Interactive skills sessions and discussion groups
Guided independent study132Reading and preparation for lectures and skills sessions, write-up for assignments and preparation for assessments.


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short answer questions throughout lectures and skills sessions / discussion groupsOngoing throughout the moduleAllOral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Literature review603000 words1-6, 8-9Written
Assessed coursework* (Elevator pitch and lay-summary proposal, Graphical and video abstract, or Short communication paper) *students will be able to choose one of three assignments linked to the three skills session topics (critical evaluation; science communication; funding)40Variable, depending on assignmentAllWritten


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Literature reviewLiterature review1-6, 8-9August Ref/Def
Assessed courseworkShort communication paperAllAugust Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted.┬áThe mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to sit a further examination. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Relevant primary research articles and review articles that support individual lecture topics will be made available on ELE.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Ecophysiology, physiological processes, animals, respiration, homeostasis

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date