First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SC02111867, A.A. 2017/18

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18

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 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination ANIMAL FUNCTIONAL MORPHOLOGY
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 CARLOTTA MAZZOLDI BIO/06

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines BIO/05 Zoology 1.0
Core courses BIO/06 Comparative Anatomy and Citology 5.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 1st 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 02/10/2017
End of activities 19/01/2018

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
6 MORFOLOGIA FUNZIONALE ANIMALE 2017/2018 01/10/2017 25/11/2018 MAZZOLDI CARLOTTA (Presidente)
5 MORFOLOGIA FUNZIONALE ANIMALE 2016-2017 01/10/2016 30/11/2017 MAZZOLDI CARLOTTA (Presidente)
GRIGGIO MATTEO (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: No prerequisites are required to attend the course
Target skills and knowledge: The course aims at introducing the students to the study and analyses of the relationships between structure, function, adaptation and evolution in different animal taxa. In addition, it aims at presenting some qualitative and quantitative methods used to study this topic. At the end of the course, the student will have acquired theoretical bases and modern methods to study the relationships structure/function and evolution of morphological variability. The student will be therefore able to independently organize a study focused on the comprehension of the evolution of morphological traits.
Examination methods: The evaluation consists in a written exam with three questions
Assessment criteria: The first two questions of the exam are focused on two issues presented during the course and will allow evaluating the theoretical competence of the student. The third question is a case study that will allow evaluating the student skills in critically develop a research program based on a case study.
Course unit contents: The relationships among structure, function, adaptation and evolution in different animal taxa will be analyses using examples from different organization levels: cells, tissue, organ, apparatus, and organisms.
The first part of the course will develop introductory concepts of functional and comparative morphology. The course will introduce: the relationships between form, size and performance; allometric relationships; homology and analogy; physical, ontogenetic and phylogenetic constraints.
Using examples at different levels (cellular, tissue, organ and apparatus) the relationships structure-function will be examined in depth. The variability at inter- and intra-specific (inter-populations and intra-population) levels will be presented in relation to environmental factors.
From the methodological point of view, the course will introduce: methods and techniques for collection of qualitative and quantitative data; methods of geometric morphometrics; methods of comparative analyses as instrument to study evolution, with a special focus on the method of independent contrasts. Practical activities of the analyses of qualitative and quantitative data, geopmetric morphometrics and comparative analyses will be proposed.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course includes lectures and practical activities. The lectures will provide the theoretical bases on the relationships structure/function, using examples at different organization levels, and on the methods to study the evolution of morphological traits. The practical activities will allow applying the methods introduced during the lectures to specific case studies. In particular, qualitative and quantitative methods, geometric morphometrics and comparative analyses will be applied to the study of morphological structures, introducing the student to the direct data collection on sample or the analyses of available data. The practical activities will be carried out in the didactical laboratory and informatics lab.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Textbooks including all the issues of the course are currently not available. The suggested textbooks are for support. All the didactical material will be provided in the Moodle platform.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Campbell et al.,, Meccanismi dell'evoluzione e diversit√† animale.. Bologna: Zanichelli, 2004. Capitoli introduttivi Cerca nel catalogo
  • Pough FH, Heiser JB, McFarland WN, Biologia evolutiva e comparata dei vertebrati. --: Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, 2001. Capitoli 8, 17, 21 Cerca nel catalogo