Spring 2020 - BISC 445 D100

Environmental Physiology of Animals (3)

Class Number: 2628

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    WMC 2202, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 23, 2020
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    BISC 305 with a grade of C- or better.



A discussion of the physiological mechanisms and adaptations which permit animals to live in diverse environments. The course will adopt a comparative approach to physiology.


Course website: CANVAS

This course will examine responses to challenging environments in a wide variety of animals with the goal of illustrating basic concepts and principles in physiology. All levels of organization will be studied, from the molecular and biochemical to organ systems to whole-animal behaviour. In addition to addressing mechanistic questions regarding how animals cope with extreme environments, this course will also cover evolutionary approaches that are used to test whether a given physiological difference between species actually represents an adaptation (i.e., response to selection).

1.         Introduction to basic concepts of environmental and evolutionary physiology.
2.         Oxygen adaptations, e.g., to high altitude, diving, anaerobiosis.
3.         Temperature adaptations, e.g., freezing resistance, hibernation.
4.         Water and ions, e.g., hyperosmotic and hypoosmotic regulation.
5.         Hydrostatic pressure and adaptations to the deep sea.


  • Final Exam 40%
  • Midterm Exam 1 25%
  • Midterm Exam 2 25%
  • Tutorial Presentation 10%



There are NO recommended or required textbooks for this course. However, the course will draw heavily upon material from the following two texts:

Christopher D. Moyes and Patricia M. Schulte. 2007. Principles of Animal Physiology. Second Edition. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings. ISBN 0321501551.

Willmer, P., Stone, G., & Johnston, I. 2005. Environmental Physiology of Animals. Second Edition. Blackwell. ISBN 1405107243.

At least one copy of each of these texts will be placed on Reserve in the library.

Registrar Notes:

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