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Module titleAnimals
Module codeBIO1331
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Andrew Griffiths (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Animals represent the most enigmatic groups of eukaryotic organisms. This module will introduce you to the structure and function of various animal groups. Specifically it will explore the relationships between anatomy, physiology, lifestyle and habitat/ecological niches. Physiology is the study of how an organism (and its constituent parts) functions, and it aims to understand the mechanisms that operate at all levels from genes and their molecular products, to cells, organs and ultimately the integrated whole animal processes. This module will use the structure-function relationships to also consider the evolutionary linkages of the different groups of animals from invertebrates to vertebrates, and from aquatic to terrestrial. In online exercises, you will explore structure-functional similarities and differences across groups, and understand how to carry out physiological measurements on invertebrates to demonstrate the relationships between animal function and environmental variables (such as temperature that helps us also understand climate change effects). Consideration of animal evolution and the chordate phylogeny are also at the core of this module.

In order to take BIO1331 you must normally have an A Level (or equivalent) in Biology. An A Level (or equivalent) in Chemistry is also very useful.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module introduces core concepts in animal form and function, specifically anatomy, physiology and their role in environmental adaptation. These areas will be approached from the perspective of molecules, cells, organ systems and whole organisms. Physiology is fundamental to any understanding of the biosciences and underpins any degree in the subject. In particular, this module aims to provide you with knowledge and understanding that will enable you to take second and final year modules in physiology, development, and evolution.

Graduate attributes: as part of this module you will begin to synthesise information from a broad range of educational experiences and gain practical observation skills and develop group/team work skills.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Outline the animal phylogeny and major physiological systems of animals
  • 2. Explain the cascade from molecular to cell to organ to whole organism basis of function
  • 3. Describe the relationships between structure, physiological function, and habitat specialisation of animals
  • 4. Solve quantitative physiological problems associated with respiratory and cardiovascular function

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 5. Summarise essential facts and theory in a sub-discipline of the biosciences
  • 6. Describe and begin to evaluate aspects of animal physiology and research articles
  • 7. Understand established techniques of analysis, practical investigation and enquiry within the biosciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 8. Communicate ideas effectively by written means
  • 9. Show skills for independent study
  • 10. With some guidance, select and properly manage information drawn from books, journals and the internet

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The first part of the module will consist of lectures that cover the origin and evolution of the major protostome groups and deuterostome groups, with an overview of the various body plans and focussing on model organisms within biology. The evolution of structural characteristics will also be related their various functional traits. The second part will explore details of invertebrate and vertebrate physiological systems to illustrate general principles of their biology and the link between structure, physiological function and life style/habitat. Selected groups will be used to examine these relationships in depth, with a particular emphasis on the comparing animals that breathe air versus water for exploring widely relevant adaptations, such as respiratory gas exchange, cardiovascular systems, thermal relations, osmoregulation and excretion.

Online exercises will reinforce concepts and emphasis the nature of scientific enquiry

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 Teaching22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching12Guided skills (4 x 3 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Skills development drop-in feedback/recap/Q&A sessions (5 x 1 hour)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3Group skills problem sheets
Guided Independent Study12Data analysis and write up tasks
Guided Independent Study9Quantitative physiological problem solving
Guided Independent Study57Lecture consolidation and reading
Guided Independent Study30Revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Quantitative physiological problem solving3 x 3 hours3-6, 9, 10Online

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
Problem sheets20One set of problems per sessionAllWritten
MCQ examination801 hour1-6, 8-10Model answers


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Problem sheetsOne set of problems per sessionAllAugust Ref/Def
MCQ examinationMCQ examination1-6, 8-10August Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be deferred in the assessment. The 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 40%) 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 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative basic reading list:

  • Campbell NA, Reece JB (2008) Biology A Global Approach, 11th Ed. Pearson. ISBN 9781292170435

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE page:

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Hill, R.W., Wyse, G.A. and Anderson, M (2008) Animal Physiology (2nd edition), Sinauer Associates. ISBN 0878935622

Key words search

Physiology, phylogenetic, adaptation, evolution, gene, respiration, cardiovascular, feeding, reproduction, thermoregulation, excretion, metabolism.

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date