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NES3306 : Physiological Zoology

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Timothy Boswell
  • Lecturer: Dr Richard Bevan
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


How animals have adapted to survive and thrive in their environmental niches is one of the most fascinating aspects of biology. This module provides insights into topics at the forefront of contemporary research in physiological zoology. Study units will involve lectures alongside workshop-type small group teaching with research active staff. The overall goal of the module is to expose students to modern research in Zoology.

The module aims to illustrate, with examples, how animals are adapted, both physiologically and behaviourally, to occupy a wide range of environments and to show how these mechanisms are integrated to ensure the survival of the animal. The information will be drawn from both field-based and laboratory studies. The module will also provide students with the opportunity to study in depth how an animal has adapted to a particular environment.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lecture blocks will be based on various current topics in Zoology linked to the research interests of academic staff teaching on the module. Topics in the module will depend on those research interests but could cover subjects such as:

Animal energetics.
Behavioural endocrinology
Endocrine function and the influence of environmental factors.
Female and male reproductive behaviours.
Hormones and social behaviour.
Homeostasis and behaviour: appetite and body mass regulation.
Hormones and stress

In addition, research seminars will be run based on ‘hot’ topics in physiological zoology

Coursework involves summarising a particular research topic through, for example, a poster or a graphical abstract

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion122:0022:00Research, preparation and completion of Group Poster assignment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1122:00122:00Research, Preparation and completion of Case Study assignment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching22:004:00Seminar
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study22:004:00Preparation for research seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study241:0024:00Lecture follow-up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Online lectures will present research-focused material, allowing students to gain a greater appreciation of the research activities undertaken by academic staff. The lectures provide a theoretical understanding of the underlying principles through the explanation of key concepts and illustrative examples. Guided independent study enables the students to absorb and evaluate lecture information Through reading recent scientific publications, students will reinforce their understanding of the topics covered as well as providing examples of the latest developments.

The research seminars will provide students with an opportunity to discuss current issues and students will be encouraged to develop their critical thinking skills by participating in advanced discussions of the primary literature relevant to the topics covered. Seminars will be based upon a variety of topics and approaches and will ensure students' fluency with interpreting data within a theoretical framework.

The coursework assessment provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to synthesise and summarise information on a particular aspect of zoology.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Poster2M30A group poster based on a research topic or paper
Case study2M70A case study of a current research topic. Word count: 1,000
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MStudents will be provided with a formative task to complete and submit before a research seminar. Feedback will be given in the seminar. Word count: 1,000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The case study assesses the student’s knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the module as well as assessing the ability of the student to integrate information from lectures and from their additional reading.

The group poster assesses the students' ability to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of a specific research topic and their ability to summarise that research clearly.

Reading Lists