First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCO2045685, A.A. 2015/16

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2013/14

Information on the course unit
Degree course First cycle degree in
SC1161, Degree course structure A.Y. 2008/09, A.Y. 2015/16
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination ENVIRONMENTAL PHYSIOLOGY
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Biology
E-Learning website
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

Teacher in charge PAOLA IRATO BIO/09

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses BIO/09 Physiology 6.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 3rd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Laboratory 1.0 16 9.0 No turn
Lecture 5.0 40 85.0 No turn

Start of activities 01/03/2016
End of activities 15/06/2016
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2008 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
4 fisiologia ambientale 2015-2016 01/10/2015 30/09/2016 IRATO PAOLA (Presidente)
TALLANDINI LAURA (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Fundamentals of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Genetics. Basic concepts of physiology as well as in animal physiology, with particular attention to the organization of organs and systems and the regulative ability of organisms. Evolution theory: its implications.
Target skills and knowledge: Identify and explain the adaptive strategies implemented by animal organisms in response to particular environmental conditions, according to different perspectives: mechanicistic, ecological, behavioral and evolutionary.
Examination methods: Oral.
Assessment criteria: Ability to make links and reasonings, using a correct scientific language, mastery of the discipline from a conceptual and comprehension perspective.
Course unit contents: Mechanisms by which animals perform vital functions; evolution and adaptive significance of physiological traits; how they differ and resemble different groups of animals; mode of interaction between ecology and physiology. Physiological limits and responses to environmental pollutants: defense strategies, consequences of damage.
Physiological adaptations will be considered that allow survival: water and energy balance, temperature, osmoregulation, excretion, respiration and circulation. The environments will be: aquatic (fresh and sea water, coasts and estuaries) and terrestrial (extreme habitats, very cold or very hot, high altitudes). Some typical examples will be reported, such as the adaptations of cetaceans to immersion, the Antarctic fish, mammals in very cold places, frogs and toads in the desert, mammals of the deserts and arid savannas, etc.
Study of human activities in extreme conditions. High altitude: immediate and long term effects induced by hypoxia. Acclimatization dive. Adaptations to low and high pressures. Effects of extreme temperatures. Also in this case some particular examples will be reported, such as, for example, the natural acclimatization of indigenous mountain.
Replies of organisms in situations of pollution. Essential elements and not. Pollutants and toxicity. Intake, metabolism, detoxification responses and mechanisms of toxicity, about metals and their compounds: general aspects. Special aspects of detoxification and toxicity to: Cd, Cu, Zn, As, Hg, Ni, Pb, Sn. Cellular and molecular biomarkers.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Lessons with PowerPoint presentations and interaction trhough stimulating questions with students.
Reading a scientific article and its subsequent presentation and discussion.
Laboratory activities for the dosage of chelating molecules and determination of the activity of antioxidant enzymes.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Slides of the lessons included on the Moodle platform.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • P. Willmer, G. Stone, I. Johnston, Fisiologia ambientale degli animali. --: Zanichelli, 2003. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Hill, G. Wyse, M. Anderson, FISIOLOGIA ANIMALE. --: Zanichelli, 2006. Cerca nel catalogo
  • K. Schmidt-Nielsen, Animal physiology Adaptation and environment. --: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Cerca nel catalogo
  • C. Ladd Prosser, Comparative animal physiology: Neural and integrative animal physiology; Environmental and metabolic animal physiology. --: Wiley-Liss, 1991. Cerca nel catalogo
  • H. Greim, E. Delm, Tossicologia. --: Zanichelli, 2002. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Poli A., Fabbri E., Agnisola C., Calamita G., Santovito G., Verri T., Fisiologia Animale. --: Edises, 2014. Cerca nel catalogo