Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

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

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 a 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 the evolution and formation of physiological systems, with a focus on energy, thermal, and water balance as well as sensory systems. These essential physiological processes are studied using homeostasis as an organising principle and explore the actions of the nervous system and hormones in controlling and modulating them. Emphasis is placed on sensory adaptations and how sensory information is used by animals to safely interact with their environments.

A rigorous, comparative phylogenetic methods perspective is provided for the interpretation of physiological adaptations, examining both vertebrate and invertebrate animals.

The mechanosensory research project is a small research project that introduces students to important skills such as experimental design, literature searching, report writing, and data analysis and presentation.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
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 related quizzes and (2) theory examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Jan Hemmi
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.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.