Animal Biology: Principles and Mechanisms


The central theme of this module is to cover key aspects and examples of animal adaptations from across the breadth of the animal kingdom. Animals display specific adaptations in their morphology, physiology, and behaviour to the environments they live in. These adaptations reflect the ecological diversity and adaptive radiation of animals.

During this module we will explore how animals are adapted to their natural environments, including groups such as primates, carnivores, birds and insects. We will also consider animals’ responses to human related environmental changes, such as those caused by the climate crisis and urbanisation and other examples of anthropogenic change. As part of this module you will become familiar with some methodologies used to record different elements of animal biology, from their physical structure to their behaviour.

The module consists of lectures, practicals and interactive sessions, e.g. workshops that will build the foundation for the practical work and encourage independent active learning. 

By the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of different animal systems and explain how they are morphologically, physiologically, and behaviourally adapted to the environments they live in.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how animals adapt to cope with anthropogenic change e.g. the climate crisis and urbanisation and the role of humans to support a more sustainable future for animals.
  • Be familiar with and able to explain key methodologies used in animal biology e.g. observational data collection.
  • Handle, interpret and write-up scientific data and be able to apply this knowledge to novel problems and critically analyse the approach chosen. 
Continuous Assessment : Coursework (50%)
Examination : Exam (Centrally Timetabled) - Written Unseen (50%)