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Comparative Zoology

Course Code: BIOL 3600
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Biology
Credits: 5.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

The course will examine the comparative anatomy, physiology and behaviour of a wide range of animal groups as evolutionary solutions to common functional problems. Topics will include locomotion, respiration, circulation, digestion, excretion and reproduction

Course Content

  1. OVERVIEW OF ANIMAL CLASSIFICATION
    • Introduction of the major animal phyla and characteristics for each
  2. GROWTH, DEVELOPMENT & SUPPORT
    • Consideration of different types of skeletons (hydrostatic; exo- & endo-skeletons)
    • Comparison of the advantages & disadvantages of each skeletal type and the relationship to the specific lifestyle / habitat of different organisms
    • Growth & development
  3. LOCOMOTION
    • Introduction to muscle action & basic biomechanics
    • Examination of specific types of locomotion (e.g. creeping/crawling; burrowing; running; swimming; jumping; flight) and the adaptations exhibited by different animals to achieve movement (e.g. skeletal adaptations).
  4. RESPIRATORY MECHANISMS
    • The necessity for respiratory structures and an examination of their efficiency
    • Comparison of various mechanisms of respiratory exchange (with reference to anatomy of structures, respiratory requirements, lifestyle, habitat)
    • Aquatic vs. terrestrial respiratory mechanisms
    • Diffusion, diffusion rates, counter-current exchange
  5. CIRCULATORY SYSTEMS
    • Presence or absence of circulatory system
    • Functions of circulatory systems
    • Open vs. closed systems
    • Single vs. double systems
    • Comparison of circulatory fluids, cell types, oxygen carrying capacity
  6. TEMPERATURE, SEASONS & CLIMATE
    • Ectotherms and endotherms
    • Adaptations to temperature change, seasonality & climate
    • Homeostasis and acclimatization
  7. FOOD ACQUISITION & DIGESTION
    • Food (prey) location & selection
    • Herbivores vs. carnivores
    • Variations in nutrient acquisition
  8. EXCRETION
    • Examination of different excretory pathways, structures & end products (ammonia; urea; uric acid)
    • Comparison of modes of excretion in relation to lifestyle & habitat
    • Osmoregulation
  9. NERVOUS SYSTEMS
    • Sensory physiology (e.g. chemoreception)
    • Evolution of nervous systems
    • Nerve networks, information processing, memory & biological clocks
  10. REPRODUCTION
    • Asexual vs. sexual reproduction
    • Gamete production
    • Fertilization mechanisms (internal vs. external)
    • Mechanisms & structures involved in sexual reproduction
    • Reproductive strategies & mating behaviour
    • Development (direct vs. indirect)

Methods of Instruction

  • Lecture
  • Laboratory activities
  • Discussion groups
  • Readings from scientific journal articles
  • Guest lectures
  • Group project (e.g. research paper on a topic of current interest)

Means of Assessment

Class tests and assignments 20%
Laboratory 20%
Term exams 25%
Final exam 35%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

  1. To understand the general principles of animal classification and describe the characteristics of the major animal phyla.
  2. To gain an appreciation for the diversity of animal forms and understand the unity which exists within this diversity.
  3. To explore anatomical and physiological principles by studying form and function relationships
  4. To describe how organisms interact with their environments and how environmental conditions modulate these interactions through adaptive mechanisms
  5. To understand how the scientific method is used to advance our knowledge of animal anatomy and physiology
  6. To be able to use the general principles of biology to discuss current issues and ideas.

course prerequisites

BIOL 1110 and BIOL 1210 with C- or better or BIOL 1310 with C- or better or permission of instructor

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.

assessments

If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.