The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


Animal physiology investigates the structure and function of animals. This course utilises a progression through evolution to deliver an understanding of how all animals work. You will gain an appreciation of the key workings of more simple organisms, which then culminate in understanding the more complicated structures and processes in mammals and humans. In parallel with this flow, concepts will be delivered from the level of biomolecules, up through cells and toward the level of organs and tissues.

This course structure therefore provides a unique perspective towards understanding animal biology ranging from molecular to ecological principles, with awareness of how all animals are linked through evolution and how they now co-exist. The physical laws that govern physiological processes in animals are highlighted and overall provides one with a strong platform for understanding molecular biology, nutrition, behaviour and ecology, strongly aligning with biotechnology and animal biology principles.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Outline the basic control processes of the nervous systems and explain how this drives muscle movement and sensory perception;

2. Compare the different energy requirements of an animal at rest and during exercise, and how this is reflected in the regulation of the oxygen transporting systems;

3. Relate the integration of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and their overall control;

4. Describe the nutrition and energy requirements of animal systems;

5. Measure and interpret experimental data and demonstrate laboratory skills in animal anatomy;

6. Communicate experimental data and a theoretical understanding of animal physiology via the production of scientific reports.


  1. Introduction to the Nervous System
  2. The Brain and Spinal Cord
  3. Neurons, Synapses and Action Potentials
  4. Sensory Systems and Processes
  5. Muscle Structure
  6. Control of Muscle Movement
  7. Circulation
  8. Gas Exchange and Transport of O2 and CO2
  9. Mechanics of Breathing
  10. Nutrition and Digestion
  11. Metabolism and Energetic Activities
  12. Thermal Physiology
  13. The Immune System
  14. The Excretory System

Assumed knowledge

BIOL1001 and BIOL1002

Assessment items

Quiz: Progress quizzes

Report: Lab Reports *

Formal Examination: Final Examination

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Laboratory: There is a compulsory attendance requirement in this course. - Students must be in attendance of each laboratory session in order to receive marks for each respective Lab Report assessment item.
  • Laboratory: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory safety induction.

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Report: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - Students must achieve at least a 50% overall mark for the three report assessment items in order to pass the course. Assessment marks will not be awarded unless present at the respective laboratory session. Where a valid adverse circumstance is approved for being absent at a laboratory session, students will be required to provide a written summary of the procedures and outcomes of the experimental session in addition to submitting a lab report, before assessment marks will be awarded. Students may be given an opportunity to reattempt previously submitted assessment items, toward achieving the pass requirement.

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 21 hour(s) per Term Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term