Skip to main content

Module

BIO2029 : Vertebrate Biology

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Richard Bevan
  • Lecturer: Dr Aileen Mill, Dr Mark Shirley
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

To outline the evolution of the vertebrates by reference to the diversity of form and function shown by both fossil and present-day species, including their morphology, physiology, ecology and behaviour; use the vertebrates as an example group through which to illustrate the principles of phylogenetic reconstruction using cladistics; develop skills in dissection and illustration; to build on related Stage 1 modules.

Outline Of Syllabus

Our knowledge of the vertebrate fossil record and all aspects of the biology of living vertebrates give them an importance in biology quite apart from human membership of this group. The wealth of information available enables us to investigate evolution, function and mechanism across a diverse group of familiar organisms. We also give instruction in dissection technique and anatomical drawing, two skills not much practiced elsewhere in the curriculum.

LECTURES
The origin of vertebrates; evolution if jawless and jawed fish; fish function (locomotion, respiration, reproduction, feeding); present day diversity of fishes; evolution of amphibian and reptiles; origins of birds and mammals.

Avian diversity and classification; Bird function (flight, feeding, respiration and reproduction); Bird migration and navigation; Bird communication (vocalisations, plumage and displays).

Key characteristics of mammals; Monotremes and marsupials; Placental mammal diversity & systematics; Mammalian adaptations (feeding, locomotion, and reproduction).

PRACTICALS
External and internal anatomy of a fish
Anatomy of amphibian (dissection)
Thoracic and abdominal anatomy of birds (dissection)
Mammalian circulatory system and general internal anatomy (dissection)

CAUTION: THIS MODULE INVOLVES CARRYING OUT DISSECTIONS. STUDENTS WHO FEEL UNABLE TO CARRY OUT SUCH WORK SHOULD TALK WITH THE MODULE LEADER BEFORE TAKING THIS MODULE. STUDENTS SHOULD BE UP TO DATE WITH TETANUS PROTECTION

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Final Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion124:0024:00Revision for final exam
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading160:0060:00Consolidation of lecture material
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical43:0012:00Dissections
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study241:0024:00Lecture follow up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study130:0030:00Study of lectures, Recap, Blackboard etc.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study43:0012:00Practical assessments and assessment preparation (Blackboard tests and formative assessment)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study43:0012:00Practical preparation
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures provide a framework of principles, factual background and example material. The strongly factual basis of this module requires an above average amount of private study time. The four dissection practicals provide sufficient exposure for students to become proficient in this practical skill (with the help of demonstrators), and to become practised in the production of anatomical drawings and images. Directed self-study of text books, papers and websites provide additional insights.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination1202A70N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Computer assessment2M30Blackboard test - assessment of Dissection.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment2MBlackboard test, assessment of first dissection allows students to learn skills and to practise the representation of dissection.
Computer assessment2MBlackboard test- assessment of the third dissection allows students to learn skills and to practise the representation of dissection
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam format gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their breadth of knowledge and their deeper understanding of the lecture material. The first and the third dissections are formatively assessed to encourage learning and so that the students pay due diligence to the dissections that they are undertaking. These tests will provide the students with experience of undertaking dissections, taking notes and to be familiar with the procedures required for the summative test which will cover all four dissections. The first formative assessment provides the students with an understanding of the procedures involved, the level of dissecting skills expected and the depth of knowledge required of them, which they can then use to prepare for the next two dissections. The formative assessment of the third dissection allows the students to apply the feedback gained from the first dissection to prepare for the final, summative assessment of all the dissections. All the practical sessions are summatively assessed by a single Blackboard tests. This assessment tests the knowledge, skills and understanding gained during the practical sessions.

Reading Lists

Timetable