First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCP6076599, A.A. 2017/18

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2016/17

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC1179, Degree course structure A.Y. 2009/10, A.Y. 2017/18
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 8.0
Type of assessment Mark
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Biology
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Other lecturers NICOLETTA LA ROCCA BIO/04

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses BIO/07 Ecology 1.0
Core courses BIO/09 Physiology 3.0
Core courses BIO/04 Vegetal Physiology 4.0

Mode of delivery (when and how)
Period First semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Organisation of didactics
Type of hours Credits Hours of
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 8.0 64 136.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/10/2017
End of activities 19/01/2018

Prerequisites: Basic knowledge in Animal and Plant Physiology and Ecology are highly recommended for an adequate understanding of the topics covered by the program.
Target skills and knowledge: How do living organisms respond to the global climate change that is taking place now? This course provides a solid foundation on the responses of organisms to global climate change. Special attention will be given to the response of the single individual and of entire populations, highlighting the role of phenotypic plasticity and adaptation. This course explores the molecular, physiological, developmental and morphological strategies that land plants, algae and animals use to successfully overcome the environmental stresses. The course is structured around selected thematic modules to introduce students very current areas of research in related fields.
Examination methods: Written test.
Assessment criteria: The ability to present the contents of the course will be evaluated.
Course unit contents: Introduction to the major physical phenomena associated with global climate change that threaten the survival of certain species and limit crop productivity, especially in developing countries.
Main challanges: analysis of the characteristics and speed of global climate change. Increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration and greenhouse gases. Temperature increase. Acidification of water (marine and rain). Ozone and stress from UV rays. Lessons from the past and paleoclimatology: climate as a driving force of the great extinctions of the past and changes in biodiversity. During the course, the physiological limits of living organisms will be discussed together with the concept of ecological and physiological niche. Importance of constant monitoring of biodiversity for the identification of species at greater risk of extinction. The concepts acquired in the general part will be applied in a timely manner to plants and animals.
- PLANT BIOLOGY MODULE: Effects of climate change on the physiology and adaptation of photosynthetic organisms. Variability of the response between different organisms: most sensitive species have a greater risk of extinction. Microalgae and strategies for marine CO2 fixation (here included the responses of the ocean forests of macroalgae), terrestrial plants and fixation of atmospheric CO2 (deforestation / reforestation, effect on the overall balance of carbon and oxygen and water recycling between land and atmosphere). Plant response to desertification (water stress and resistance of plants to global warming), acidification of water and UV rays. Increases in sea temperature and melting of polar and mountain glaciers ("bloom" / exceptional algal blooms). Algae and plants as indicators of global climate change. Study of the dynamics of plant populations and their survival strategies. Changes in plant-animal interaction.
- ANIMAL BIOLOGY MODULE: dalla fisiologia alle dinamiche eco-evolutive. Verranno trattate le risposte degli animali al global warming in termini di variazioni di ciclo vitale, sia dal punto di vista della funzione d’organo che dal punto di vista molecolare. Effetti legati a temperatura, CO2, salinità e irraggiamento UV e intervento di molteplici elementi di stress in uno stesso habitat. In particolare: i) risposte degli animali omeotermi, pecilotermi ed eterotermi all’incremento della temperatura ambientale (ex.: esempio concreto, determinismo sessuale dipendente dalle condizioni ambientali); (ii) risposte degli animali all’incremento della CO2 nel mezzo interno e conseguente rischio di acidosi; (iii) risposte degli animali marini alla variazione della salinità; (iv) risposte degli animali delle regioni polari e di alta quota all’incremento dell’irradiazione UV. Studio e analisi di caratteristiche di vulnerabilità ecologica: ricerca sulle nicchie ecologiche, sulle reti trofiche, sul potenziale dispersivo delle specie, modelli ed esempi del concetto di habitat availability, monitoraggio della variabilità genetica, adattamento.
from physiology to the eco-evolutionary dynamics. Animal responses to global warming will be treated in terms of life cycle variations, both from the point of view of organ function and from the molecular point of view. Effects related to temperature, CO2, salinity and UV radiation and from multiple stressors in the same habitat. In particular: i) responses to increased ambient temperature (e.g.: concrete example, sexual determinism, depending on surrounding); (ii) animal responses to the increase of CO2 and consequent risk of acidosis; (iii) marine animal responses to the change in salinity; (iv) the animal response to the increase in UV irradiation in the polar regions and at high altitudes.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course is organized in lectures with the aid of multimedia and slides, but also reading and discussion of recent specific literature in the field of climate change.
Additional notes about suggested reading: They will be recommended and discussed articles from recent literature, in particular reviews on the topics covered during the course. All course materials used for lessons will be made available to students.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • A. Poli, E. Fabbri, C. Agnisola, G. Calamita, G. Santovito, T. Verri, Fisiologia animale. --: EDISES, 2014.