While some species manage to live in a continuously changing environment and in different climates, others have a much narrower niche. On this course we focus on the physiological and morphological characteristics behind these variations. It is a second cycle course that requires basic previous knowledge in physiology, instead we will go more into details about adaptations to various habitats and how the physiology is affected by environmental factors like temperature, oxygen availability, pH and salinity. What physiological adaptations do we e.g. see in camels in the desert, fish in the Antarctic or mussels in the tidal zone? And how may these adaptations limit the expansion of species to other habitats? We will also discuss how ongoing and future climate changes may affect the distribution and survival of species.
The course aims to supplement and deepen the knowledge in zoophysiology with focus on ecophysiology, that is how physiological processes of animals are influenced by the external environment.
The intention of the course is also to give advanced knowledge in integrative physiology, giving an overall picture of what happens in the organism at different situations, not only what happens in a certain organ system. The course prepares for continued laboratory studies in zoophysiology and related fields.
Focus on the course lies on physiological effects of climate related factors and includes effects at the cellular level, via organs and individuals up to populations and ecosystems. The content will be adapted to current relevant issues and research, with global temperature changes and ocean acidification playing important roles.
1. Ecophysiological theory (Ekofysiologisk teori), 10.5 higher education credits
Studies on how different animals handle and manage normal variations in the environment (over days, seasons etc) will give tools to be able to predict the effects of more far-reaching environmental changes, e.g. as a consequence of global climate changes. To clarify mechanisms, comparisons are made between different species/animal groups based on natural differences between different environments, with examples from marine, limnic and terrestrial habitats. Strong emphasis is placed on animals adapted to more or less extreme environments, for example polar and tropical regions.
2. Practical project (Praktiskt projektarbete), 4.5 higher education credits
Approximately a third of the course consists of an advanced laboratory assignment, performed in small groups under supervision. Most of the workload is concentrated during a couple of weeks, but certain preparation is required also before the project work starts.
EU/EEA citizens, Swedish residence permit holders and exchange students do not pay fees. More information on: http://www.universityadmissions.se
On successful completion of the course the student will be able to:
- in detail describe the relationships between different physiological mechanisms on the basis of a whole animal perspective, as well as how these mechanisms have adapted to different external living conditions
- independently identify possible physiological effects on different animal groups as a consequence of changes in the surrounding environment
- from a scientific basis, analyse and review studies within the subject
- from given guidelines, plan and carry out a shorter experimental study summarise and present current relevant research, in a way suited to the expected audience
- from a scientific perspective, discuss and describe current climate-related questions
University studies of a minimum of 75 credits in Biology and Molecular Biology/Cellbiology with at least one in depth course of 15 credits in a relevant area. Applicants must prove their knowledge of English: English 6/English B from Swedish Upper Secondary School or the equivalent level of an internationally recognized test, for example TOEFL, IELTS.