Spring 2022 - BISC 445 D100

Environmental Physiology of Animals (3)

Class Number: 1982

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 10 – Apr 11, 2022: Mon, Wed, Fri, 9:30–10:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 19, 2022
    Tue, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    BISC 205 and MBB 231 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.


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 35%
  • . Midterm Exam 1 20%
  • . Midterm Exam 2 20%
  • . Project proposal (3 page) 15%
  • . Tutorial Presentation 10%


Mode of teaching:

In-person and synchronous (lectures will have audio recorded).


Lecture: synchronous (recorded)

Laboratory: synchronous

Tutorial: synchronous

Midterm(s): synchronous; date: TBA

Final exam: synchronous; date: TBA



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:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.