Studying online

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Units available in Online Restricted mode have been adapted for online study only for those students who require the unit to complete their studies and who are unable to attend campus due to COVID border closures. To be enrolled in a unit in Online Restricted mode, students should contact their Student Advising Office through askUWA and include which of the below criteria applies:

  • You are a student who is currently offshore and unable to enter Australia.
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ANIM3363 Environmental Physiology

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2OnlineOnline Restricted
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Zoology; Wildlife Conservation major sequences
  • Level 3 elective
This unit builds on fundamental aspects of structure and function to examine how animals work across the diversity of environments, from deserts to rainforests and polar regions, and from ponds to salt lakes. It examines the physical environment in which animals live, and the fundamental importance of physiological processes in integrating animal systems with respect to especially energy, thermal and water balance. There is a strong comparative approach for both vertebrate and invertebrate animals. These essential physiological processes are studied using homeostasis as an organising principle, and the actions of the nervous system and hormones in controlling and modulating them. An historical approach is taken in some areas and examples are used to show the workings of the scientific method. A quantitative approach is taken to these physiological adaptations to the environment, and a rigorous comparative phylogenetic methods perspective is provided to the interpretation of physiological adaptation. The comparative methods research project is a mini-research project that introduces students to important skills including phylogenetic methods, statistical analyses, report writing, bibliographic assemblage, and literature searching. The laboratory essay examines and researches an environmental physiology topic introduced in the laboratory periods.
Students are able to (1) gain knowledge of the nature of physiological environments; (2) understand the fundamental importance of homeostasis as a physiological function; (3) identify the roles of neural and hormonal control systems; (4) know the nature of the interaction of animals with their natural environment; (5) understand the comparative method and its role in examining adaptations of animals; and (6) develop experimental design, data analysis and report preparation.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) research project; (2) laboratory essay; and (3) a theory examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Phil Withers
Unit rules
Any Level 2 Units ANIM2xxx
Contact hours
lectures: 2–3 hours per week; practical classes: 3 hours per week

Willmer, P., G. Stone, I. Johnston, Environmental Physiology of Animals. Wiley. EBook available online.

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  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.