Undergraduate course

Comparative Physiology

Objectives and Content

  The Comparative physiology course introduces the students to basic principles of form and function in animals, plants and micro-organisms, with main emphasis on critical physiological mechanisms (`function¿) in the adaptation to the environment and the maintenance of homeostasis. Within the section on plant physiology, emphasis will be put on the physiology of both higher plants and phytoplankton. Animal physiology will have main emphasis on the function of vertebrates, with brief discussions of invertebrate physiology in areas where they provide interesting models/questions/mechanisms. Microbial physiology addresses basic physiological processes at the cellular level and interactions with the environment. Topics are microbial transport mechanisms, responses to oxygen, extreme pH and temperature, adaptive responses to nutrient availability, signal transduction and microbial chemotaxis, energy harvesting (cellular respiration, fermentation, photosynthesis), communication at cellular level. In addition to addressing problems which are specific to the three organism groups we will seek to discuss common topics in physiology addressed across the organism groups (selected from Campbell - Reece). These will include (maybe not all, others may be substituted):

  • temperature
  • energy
  • excretion and osmoregulation
  • homeostasis
  • gas exchange and circulation
  • signalling hormones/nerves
  • sensing (visual, chemical, sound and vibrations¿)

The course is given in the spring term and counts 10 study points. The course consists of 32 lectures (16 double lectures) and experimental laboratory classes. Lectures will focus on the main physiological processes in relation to the environment (adaptation) and the processes involved in the maintenance of homeostasis.

Experimental practical classes form an integral part of the Comparative physiology course. Students are required to write a laboratory journal which will be assessed and which will count x % of the final grade. We propose to run min. one lab exercise for each group of organisms. The extent of lab exercises must be weighed against the number of lectures, reading required and the total study points (10) of the course.

Learning Outcomes

 After completing this course the student should

  • know and understand the fundamental scientific concepts relating to key physiological processes in animals, plants and micro-organisms
  • know and understand the basic factual information concerning critical biological mechanisms and functions of animals, plants and micro-organisms

have gained basic knowledge in a selected range of practical laboratory techniques used in the studies of physiological processes in animals, plants and micro-organisms

Recommended Previous Knowledge

 BIO100, BIO101, BIO102, BIO103, KJEM110, KJEM130

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance


Forms of Assessment


Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

Reading List



Contact Information


Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam. The exam location will be published 14 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: Two written examinations and laboratory journal

    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam
    • Exam part: Laboratoriejournal

    • Exam part: Second written examination

      15.03.2018, 09:00
      3 hours
      Examination system
      Digital exam
    • Exam part: Final exam

      19.06.2018, 09:00
      4 hours
      Examination system
      Digital exam