Fall 2012

Instructor: Jean Hardwick Office Hours:
  • Monday: 9-10 a.m.,
  • Tuesday: 11-noon., or
  • by appointment
Office: CNS 168
phone: 274-3213

Animal physiology is the study of how animals maintain internal homeostasis under a variety of environmental stressors.  Thus, it includes the study of how different systems function, such as the nervous system, muscles, cardiovascular, endocrine, respiratory, digestive, etc.  There are many common principles that underlie physiology.  However, different animals have had to develop unique strategies to compensate for specific environmental constraints.  We will look at basic physiological systems and then examine how different organisms have adapted to achieve the same overall goals.  

To understand physiology, it is essential to develop your ability to think analytically, critically and integratively. It is not enough to memorize facts about physiological systems.  You must be able to see general principles, and understand variation and how that variation impacts performance.  Furthermore, the function of each physiological system depends on the others – they are integrated. Thus, you must be able to see connections and integrate and apply what you learn.

Lectures are meant to introduce specific topics and provide examples that will help to illustrate the principles we are examining.  Laboratories will provide an opportunity for hands-on manipulation of these principles and will reinforce what we cover in class.


Monday, Wednesday, Friday
11-11:50 a.m.
Williams 323

Lecture Schedule

  • Monday: 1-3:50 p.m., CNS 107, or
  • Tuesday: 1-3:50, CNS 107

Laboratory Schedule
  • Hill, Wyse, and Anderson
    Animal Physiology
    , 3rd edition (2011)

How to get an “A” in this class

Course goals and learning outcomes:

   1. To gain an understanding of the following:
        a. how the major physiological systems operate

        b. the general principles underlying these processes

    2.  To develop your ability to do the following:
        a. interpret factors that affect performance of the systems in different situations
identify connections between systems, and infer when connections are likely to exist
interpret physiological data and present reasonable explanations for any observations
analyze complex problems, either experimentally or logically

Grading: The final course grade will be determined from the following:

Quizzes:          15% of total (5 quizzes) Quizzes will be given at the beginning of the lecture hour as indicated on the syllabus.  The quizzes will cover the preceding lectures only and are expected to take approximately 10 min to complete.  I will drop the lowest quiz grade at the end of the semester.  However, if you miss a quiz, you will receive a zero and that grade will NOT be dropped.

Problem set:     25% of total (6 problem sets) There will be several problem sets assigned during the semester.  These are open book and working together is highly encouraged.  However, each individual must hand in their own set of answers.  Exact duplication of answers between individuals will be considered plagiarism and all students involved will receive a zero for that assignment. .

Exams:            35% of total (2 hour exams [10% each] + final exam [15%]) Exams will be given in the evenings from 7-9 pm on the dates indicated on the syllabus. If you are unable to make the evening exam time, you must arrange an alternate time at least a week prior to the exam. If you are ill or miss an exam, you must contact me before the exam begins.  Email alone is not sufficient. My office phone has voice mail and all messages are time-stamped, so you can call at any time. Exams are normally a combination of multiple choice and short answer.   The final exam will be cumulative, but the majority of the emphasis will be on the last section of the course.

Laboratories:   25% of total labs grades are determined from quizzes, laboratory reports, presentations and lab notebook.

There is NO extra credit!!!


                        I do not take attendance in lecture. However, there is a direct correlation between how well students perform in this class and their attendance.  This is primarily due to the fact that my exams are based on the material covered in lecture. In addition, some of this material is complicated and difficult to grasp just from reading a textbook. Therefore, although lecture attendance is not required, it is highly recommended!!

            Attendance to laboratories, however, is mandatory. It is not possible to make up a missed lab.  Missing lab will result in a loss of points towards your lab grade. .

I will use Sakai extensively for this class.  Figures from lectures, extra reading assignments, exam reviews, etc. will all be posted on Sakai.  Grades will also be posted there.  Do not ask me for your grades!  If the quiz/exam is done, the grade will be on Sakai.

Academic Honesty:

                       All the work in this class must be your own, unless stated otherwise.  Confirmed instances of academic misconduct will result in a zero for that assignment or test, and referral to the school judiciary system.  Please refer to the Student Handbook for a detailed description of the policies regarding student academic conduct.  All lab reports will be screened by Turnitin, so you are advised to run them through yourselves prior to submitting to insure that there are no problems

Students with Disabilities:

                        In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and The Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodation will be provided to students with documented disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Students must register with the Office of Academic Support Services for Students with Disabilities and provide the appropriate documentation to the College before any academic adjustment will be provided.

Course Evaluations:
Student input is highly valued and is important to maintain high quality instruction. Course evaluations are mandatory and must be completed by the last day of class.  The evaluation will be submitted to the Department Assistant, Nancy Pierce. She will verify that you have submitted the form.  Further instructions will be given at the end of the semester.  

Lecture Schedule:


Lecture Topic



W 8/29

Introduction, homeostasis, RMP



F 8/31

Resting Membrane Potential, Graded Potentials

Ch 12, pg 295-309


M 9/3

NO CLASSES – Labor Day


No Labs

W 9/5

Action Potentials I

Ch 12 pg 309-315


F 9/7

Action Potentials II

Ch 12 pg 320-325


M 9/10

Synaptic Potentials; Problem Set #1 due

Ch 13 pg327-338

Intro to Power Lab

W 9/12

Sensory systems I

Ch 14 pg359-371; 377-379


F 9/14

Sensory systems II

Ch 14 pg 381-388


M 9/17

Quiz #1; Neuromuscular Junction


Nerve Function

W 9/19

Muscle Anatomy & Histology

Ch 20 pg 523-531


F 9/21

Cross Bridge Cycle



M 9/24

Muscle Mechanics; Problem Set #2 due

Ch 20 pg 531-546


W 9/26

Muscle Control, Smooth Muscle



F 9/28

Autonomic Nervous System;

Ch 15 pg 408-409


M 10/1

Digestive systems;  EXAM #1

Ch 6 pg 141-157

Skeletal Muscle

W 10/3

Chemical Breakdown of Food

Ch 6 pg127-136


F 10/5

Hormonal Control of Digestion



M 10/8

Ruminants and Rodent digestion


Independent Project

W 10/10

Properties of Air; Respiration; Problem Set #3 due

Ch 23 pg 583-594


F 10/12

Quiz #2; Mammalian Respiration

Ch 23 pg 597-605


M 10/15

No Classes (out of town)


No Labs

W 10/17

No Classes (out of town) Lab Report Due



F 10/19

NO CLASSES – Fall break



M 10/22

Respiration in Birds and Insects

Ch 23 pg 605-608;611-615


W 10/24

Respiration in Fish



F 10/26

Respiratory Pigments

Ch 24 pg 617-633


M 10/29

Circulatory Systems; Problem Set #4 due

Ch 25 pg 647-670

Cardiac Function

W 10/31

Quiz #3; Cardiac Cycle



F 11/2

Blood Vessels



M 11/5

Regulation of Heart Rate, BP, and Cardiac Output;


Renal Function

W 11/7

Osmoregulation; EXAM #2

Ch 27 pg 699-704;712-714; Ch 28 pg717-73


F 11/9

Renal Anatomy

Ch 29 pg753-775


M 11/12

Regulation of Urine Composition;  



W 11/14

Hormonal Control of Fluid and Ion Balance;



F 11/16

Renal control of BP; Insect fluid balance;

Problem Set #5 due

Ch 16 pg 440-442; Ch 29 pg 778-785



NO CLASSES – Thanksgiving Break



M 11/26


Ch 7 pg 163-178

Final Project

W 11/28

Quiz #4; Temperature Regulation I

Ch 10 pg 225-236;247-270


F 11/30

Temperature Regulation II



M 12/3

Endocrine Systems I  

Ch 16 pg 419-439;448-453

Final Project

W 12/5

Endocrine systems II



F 12/7

Hormonal Control of Stress Problem Set #6 due



M 12/10

Quiz #5; Male Reproduction

Ch 17 pg 455-482


W 12/12

Female Reproduction



F 12/14

Physiological Changes with Pregnancy;

Final lab report due



F 12/21

FINAL EXAM  10:30 – 1:00 pm





The schedule of laboratories is given below.  Be sure to read the lab handout prior to the laboratory.  Failure to read the labs ahead of time will result in a lower lab grade. You are required to maintain an organized and complete lab notebook. This must include the handouts, blank paper for notes and data collection, and all of your results. These will be checked during lab at random intervals. Please note:  BOTH laboratory sections begin at 1:00 pm, NOT 1:10!  If you are late, you will miss the lab intro for that day and I will not repeat myself just for your benefit! I will deduct points from your lab grade for tardiness.


                                                Week of 9/3:               No labs – Labor Day

                                                Week of 9/10:             Intro to Power Lab Systems              

                                                Week of 9/17:             Nerve Function          

                                                Week of 9/24:             Electromyograph

                                                Week of 10/1:             Skeletal Muscle          

                                                Week of 10/8:             Independent Project

                                                Week of 10/15:           No labs – Away at a conference

                                                Week of 10/22:           Respiration

                                                Week of 10/29:           Regulation of Cardiac Function

                                                Week of 11/5:             ECG

                                                Week of 11/12:           Renal Function

                                                Week of 11/19:           No labs – Thanksgiving Break

                                                Week of 11/26:           Final Project

                                                Week of 12/3:             Final Project   

                                                 Week of 12/10:           Presentations
Lab Assignments: 

For each independent project, your lab group will hand in a formal laboratory report that includes of Introduction, Methods, Results, Figures, Discussion, and References.  Of primary importance is the Results section which includes your figures (with appropriate legends), and the Discussion with an analysis of the data.  Each lab report is worth 75 pts.  You will also present your results from the final project to the lab during the last week of classes as a short oral presentation.  The oral presentation is a P/F grade – as long as your group gives a coherent talk, you’ll pass. These assignments are all done in collaboration with your lab partner(s), so that the group turns in a single lab report for each project.  For those labs that do not have a formal write up, you are required to answer the questions included in each lab handout before leaving lab.  I will do unannounced lab notebook checks to see that these are being completed.  Notebooks will be worth an additional 50 pts towards the overall laboratory grade.

All lab reports must go through Turnitin.  This program will check for potential plagiarism (even unintentional) and reports back on problem areas.  Therefore, you should run your report through the program before officially submitting it for grading, to make sure you don’t have any problems.

What do I need to do to get an “A” in this class?

"A" students

"A" students know most details and understand all basic physiological processes. They have a global understanding of the big picture and can apply what they know to solve problems. They see how the systems work together, and they can explain the consequences of changing one component in a system. They search for common themes and mechanisms among systems. They read and reread. They attempt to answer questions in class and ask for assistance or work to figure out those they cannot easily solve. They are willing to take chances and be wrong.

"B" students

"B" students know lots of details and most physiological processes. They have good understanding in most areas but often lack practice in problem solving or have gaps in their understanding of processes. They attempt to answer questions in class and try to figure out some (but not all) of the problems they cannot easily solve. They often lack confidence in their problem-solving abilities, and they may be reluctant to be wrong.

"C" students

"C" students are short on details and misunderstand some physiological processes. They usually memorize the material without really understanding it. They lack the ability to create cross-links between related bits of information, and they do not see how information fits into patterns. In one "C" student's words, "the light bulb hasn't come on yet." Consequently, they do not problem solve well. They can name the pieces but not explain how they work. They attempt to solve class problems but give up when they cannot find the answer easily.

"D" students

"D" students have incomplete factual knowledge and misunderstand basic physiological processes. They are also usually unwilling to admit this and to ask for help. They miss class or come to class without reading material in advance. They do not attempt to solve problems in class and depend primarily on knowledge they had coming into the course.

Suggested study techniques.

The following is a list of study techniques I recommend to students: 

  1. Read material and learn definitions before class. (Preload your mind.) Use class time to understand complex processes rather than as your first look at the basic facts. Lectures will be a "foreign language" if you do not at least review new terms before class.
  2. Study material after class. Make pictures, lists, flow charts, concept maps, recopy your notes... whatever works. Review the reading and class lectures after class and then bring questions to class the next time.
  3. Make connections among material by flipping back and forth between resource materials as you study. Look up material from supplemental sources, especially any information that is background knowledge you need to review.  Although the internet is becoming powerful and more accurate as a source, be sure to limit yourself to reliable sources (such as textbooks, journal articles, etc.).
  4. Ask yourself the global question of "How does this work?" Try explaining information to a friend. If you can explain processes, you have the facts, vocabulary, concepts, and overall understanding.

  5. Study groups are extremely useful for this class.

(Links in this section are password protected) 


Other Interesting and Useful Web Sites
Visit the Biology home page.
Go to the Ithaca College home page.

Page maintained and updated by Jean Hardwick and Nancy Pierce.
Last udpated 8/12