BB511: Zoophysiology (10 ECTS)

STADS: 04017201

Bachelor course

Teaching period
The course is offered in the spring semester.

Teacher responsible
Steffen Madsen, Lektor, lic.scient.
Tlf.: 6550 2450 Email:

Additional teachers
Frank Bo Jensen, Lektor emeritus, dr.scient.
Tlf.: 6550 2756 Email:
Coen Elemans, Lektor, Ph.D.
Tlf.: 6550 4453 Email:
Signe Brinkløv, Postdoc, Ph.d.
Tlf.: 6550 9192 Email:

Group Type Day Time Classroom Weeks Comment
Common I Monday 08-10 U55 6,17,19
Common I Monday 08-10 U20 11
Common I Tuesday 08-10 U140 7-8,10,12,15-21
Common I Thursday 14-16 U20 6-12,16,18
Common I Friday 10-12 U140 5
H1 TL Monday 14-18 Green Lab 6-8,17
H1 TE Monday 10-12 U23A 17
H1 TE Monday 14-16 U146 19
H1 TE Tuesday 14-16 U23A 16
H1 TE Thursday 12-14 U23A 6,8-12,18,20-21
H2 TE Tuesday 08-10 U142 6
H2 TL Tuesday 14-18 Green Lab 6-8,17
H2 TE Tuesday 12-14 U23A 17
H2 TE Thursday 10-12 U142 8-12
H2 TE Friday 10-12 U23A 16,18-21
H3 TE Tuesday 10-12 U23A 17
H3 TL Wednesday 08-12 Green Lab 7-8,17
H3 TE Wednesday 14-16 U142 8-12,18-21
H3 TE Wednesday 10-12 U23A 16
H3 TL Friday 12-16 Green Lab 6
H3 TE Friday 10-12 U8 6
H4 TL Wednesday 14-18 Green Lab 17
H4 TL Thursday 08-12 Green Lab 6-8
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Academic preconditions:
Students who attend the course are expected to know the curriculum of the first year of biology studies (BB537).

Course introduction
The aim of the course is to give a general introduction to basic physiological concepts and mechanisms in animals, mainly vertebrates. The course covers physiological mechanisms at levels ranging from the cell to whole organisms, in relation to animals evolutionary status and physiological adaptations necessary for animals to function under different environmental conditions.

The course builds on the knowledge acquired in the course BB537, and provides a scientific basis for studying comparative aspects of animal physiology , which is the subject of the courses located later in the education BB521 (bachelor) and BB518 (bachelor)

In relation to the competence profile of the degree it is the explicit focus of the course to:
  • Give the competence to engage in collaboration and structure their own learning
  • Provide skills to conduct experimental studies, to critically evaluate biological theories and formulate, evaluate and solve biological problems.
  • Provide knowledge and reflective understanding of the scientific theory of biology, of the experimental methods and safety of these, and of current research topics and on their use in the discussion of biological problems.

Expected learning outcome
Demonstrate the ability to:
  • Demonstrate a semi-quantitative understanding of basic physiological mechanisms;
  • Identify important experiments that have unravelled key physiological mechanisms;
  • Explain the concept of homeostasis, i.e. how tissues and organs interact and by feedback mechanisms regulate the animal's adaptation to changing conditions;
  • Describe and explain basic zoophysiological mechanisms in vertebrates.
  • Describe the structure and explain the function of substance transport across cell membranes.
  • Identify key ions and membrane elements.
  • Explain how electrical potential difference occurs over nerve and muscle membranes and how action potentials arise and propagate.
  • Describe the structure and explain the function of synapses and the motor endplate.
  • Describe the most important sensory modalities and explain how sensory input is encoded in the nervous system.
  • Describe the structure of muscles and account for muscle function.
  • Describe the most important endocrine tissues and hormones and explain how they contribute to the organism's homeostasis.
  • Explain how interaction between the endocrine system and the nervous system maintain homeostasis.
  • Describe the cardiovascular system functional structure in different vertebrate groups and the correlation between physical activity and cardio-vascular system regulation.
  • Explain the blood affect the transport of nutrients, gases, wastes, and hormones and the regulation of body temperature.
  • Describe the functional anatomy of the respiratory system in the major vertebrate groups, and account for its regulation at rest and during activity, its impact on the body's acid - base balance, as well as the interaction between the respiratory and circulatory system.
  • Describe the osmoregulatory and acid - base regulatory principles and mechanisms in aquatic and terrestrial animal groups, including focus on kidney function and regulation in mammals.
  • Discuss and explain how physiological mechanisms are integrated and enable animals able to live and acclimate to changing environmental conditions.
  • Perform and report qualitative and quantitative zoophysiological experiments.

Subject overview
The course includes the following academic areas:
  1. Cell membranes and the role of proteins in cell membrane transport.
  2. Structure and function of the nervous system.
  3. Sense organs. Transduction and coding of stimuli in different types of general and special sense organs.
  4. Muscles, with emphasis on skeletal muscle. Microscopic and macroscopic structure. Contraction of muscle fibers and biomechanics.
  5. Glands and hormones, the anatomy and physiological role of the endocrine system in regulating cellular functions, metabolism and growth; structure and function of the male and female reproductive system in vertebrates.
  6. Behaviour: the interaction between the sensory organs and target organs (muscles and glands) which leads to adaptation of the animal's behavior to the present conditions.
  7. The anatomy of the cardiovascular system of the major vertebrate groups. The relationship between physical activity and regulation of the cardiovascular system. The role of blood in transporting of nutrients, gases, wastes, and hormones and the regulation of body temperature
  8. The anatomy of the respiratory system of the major vertebrate groups, its regulation at rest and during activity, its impact on the body's acid-base balance, as well as the interaction between respiration and circulation.
  9. Osmoregulatory and acid-base regulatory principles and strategies of the major vertebrate groups, including focus on kidney function.
  10. Key excerpts of the science history of zoophysiology.
  11. General concepts of electrophysiology, muscle, nerve, heart and respiratory function will be illustrated through laboratory exercises.

There isn't any litterature for the course at the moment.

This course uses e-learn (blackboard).

Prerequisites for participating in the exam
  1. Satisfactory participation in laboratory exercises is a prerequisite for participation in exam element a). Pass / fail, internal examiner. The prerequisite aims at exam (a. (04017222).
Assessment and marking:
  1. Submission of reports 5 and 2 written essays. Pass/fail, internal examiner. (0 ECTS). (04017212).
  2. Written exam (4 hours). External marking, 7-mark scale. A closer description of the exam rules will be posted under 'Course Information' on Blackboard (10 ECTS). (04017202).
Expected working hours
The teaching method is based on three phase model.
Intro phase: 56 hours
Skills training phase: 44 hours, hereof:
 - Tutorials: 24 hours
 - Laboratory exercises: 20 hours

Educational activities
In the study phase, students are expected to work with self-study of the textbook and examples and exercises herein and in the attached online material. In addition, both written assignments and lab reports are key elements of the study phase, and students can expect feedback from a teacher on both. The students are also expected to use part of the study phase to pick up on training phase tasks as well as a reserve a small part for preparation of the written exam.Educational form
The students are introduced to the academic curriculum through interactive lectures. Subsequently the students will be trained through classroom tutorials, where they are increasingly expected to participate actively by oral presentations. As a complement to these two types of instruction, selected physiological topics and principles are illustrated through 5 laboratory exercises. The students' writing skills are tested through reporting of laboratory exercises (in groups ), which will receive feedback. To further enhance the students' writing skills 2 individual written essay assignments have to be handed in as part of the prerequisite test.

This course is taught in Danish.

Course enrollment
See deadline of enrolment.

Tuition fees for single courses
See fees for single courses.