Studying online

There are now 3 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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 owing to exceptional circumstances beyond their control. To be enrolled in a unit in Online Restricted mode, students should contact their Student Advising Office through askUWA

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


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. There is a strong emphasis on sensory adaptations and how sensory information is used by animals to safely navigate their environments. A rigorous comparative phylogenetic methods perspective is provided to the interpretation of physiological adaptation. The mechanosensory research project is a mini-research project that introduces students to important skills such as experimental design, literature searching, data analysis, and data presentation. The laboratory essay examines and researches an environmental physiology topic introduced in the laboratory periods.

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; Biodiversity and Evolution major sequences
  • Level 3 elective

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 and (2) a theory examination and/or quizzes. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Jan Hemmi & Associate Professor Nicola Mitchell
Unit rules
Successful completion of
one Unit(s) ANIM2xxx
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours online per week
1 hour Q&A tutorial per week, practical classes: 2-3 hours per week

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

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • 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.