First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCP8084939, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC1179, Degree course structure A.Y. 2018/19, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination 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
Other lecturers BARBARA BALDAN BIO/01

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses BIO/01 General Botanics 1.0
Core courses BIO/02 Systematic Botanics 1.0
Core courses BIO/05 Zoology 1.0
Core courses BIO/06 Comparative Anatomy and Citology 3.0

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 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2018 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
2 MORFOLOGIA FUNZIONALE 2019-2020 01/10/2019 27/11/2020 MAZZOLDI CARLOTTA (Presidente)
BALDAN BARBARA (Membro Effettivo)
1 MORFOLOGIA FUNZIONALE 2018-2019 01/10/2018 30/11/2019 MAZZOLDI CARLOTTA (Presidente)
BALDAN BARBARA (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: No prerequisites are required to attend the course
Target skills and knowledge: The course aims at providing the bases, tools and methods to study the relationships between morphology and function in analimal and plant taxa.
At the end of the course, through lectures, laboratories, and the critical readings of scientific papers, the student will be able to:
1) understand the relationships between structure and function in different animal and plant species and at different organization levels;
2) critically discuss the relationships structure/function in an evolutionary perspective;
3) critically read scientific papers;
4) present case studies;
5) work in group;
6) develop a study to understand the evolution of morhological traits.
Examination methods: The evaluation consists in a written exam with three open questions.
The first two questions are focused on the topics presented during the course and will allow to evaluate the theoretical bases acquired by the student.
The third question is a case study and will allow to evaluate the critical attitude and capacity to set up an experimental approach to a case study.
The final score is the average of the scores of the three questions.
Assessment criteria: The evaluation criteria include:
1) understanding and knowledge of the topics of the course;
2)ability of presentation with a special attention to the logical sequence, synthesis capacity, and use of appropriate terminology;
3) critical attitude and ability todevelop a research project in the third question.
Course unit contents: The relationships among structure, function, adaptation and evolution in different animal and plant taxa will be analyses using examples from different organization levels: cells, tissue, organ, apparatus, and organisms. The course is organized in three parts.
The first part of the course (2 CFU) will develop introductory concepts of functional and comparative morphology. The course will introduce: the relationships between shape, size and performance; allometric relationships; homology and analogy; physical, ontogenetic and phylogenetic constraints.
In the second part (2CFU +1 CFU of practical activities), 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.
In the third part (1CFU), teh students will present in groups case studies based on scientific papers.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course includes: 1) lectures, 2) practical activities, 3) work in groups.
1) 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. Teaching methods include the use of ppt with texts, images, videos, diagrams, interactive activities facilitated through discussion and questions.
2) 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 laboratory and informatics lab.
3) The work in group will include the critical reading, presentation and revision of a scientific paper. Groups of 2-3 students will present a paper, focusing on the applied methods, strength and weakness. A second group of students will be the reviewers.
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 e-learning 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 introduttivi Cerca nel catalogo
  • Judd et al., Plant Systematics. Sunderland MA: Sinauer Associates, 2015. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Laboratory
  • Problem based learning
  • Working in group
  • Use of online videos

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)
  • MorphoJ, Mesquite

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Life Below Water Life on Land