HUMAN AND COMPARATIVE PHYSIOLOGY - Biology 219                                          


Dr. Doug Facey - 302B Cheray Hall; 654-2625;

Required texts:  

Moyes, C. D., and P. M. Schulte.  2008.  Principles of Animal Physiology, second edition. Pearson/Benjamin Cummings. Boston, MA.

Pechenik, J. A. 2004, or more recent.  A Short Guide to Writing About Biology, 5th edition (or more recent).  Pearson Longman. Boston, MA.

Required CD-ROM: Interactive Physiology: 9-System Suite

We will use the eCollege online system for distributing class information.  The web address is   More details will be provided in class.


Course Goals and Objectives:

   This course will provide an introduction to the basic physiological principles common to humans and other animals.  The course will include basic physical and chemical processes in animal tissues, detailed consideration of organ systems, and an integrative approach to understand how animals meet the demands placed upon them.  We will emphasize human physiology, but also will consider other animal systems for comparison. 

The first few weeks of the course will address topics in cellular physiology, including membrane physiology, nerve function, muscle function, and chemical communication via hormones.  We will next focus on organismal physiology and address topics in osmoregulation and excretion, respiration, circulation, and thermal relationships between animals and their environments.  Student presentations during the last few weeks of the course will address special topics in human or comparative animal physiology.

      The course objectives include (1) to provide you with an understanding of the fundamental principles of animal physiology; (2) to understand how these principles are incorporated into the adaptations of different animal groups; (3) to provide experience in researching, discussing, and answering questions about animal physiology; (4) to provide practical experience in investigating physiological questions, and collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and reporting experimental data; and (5) to provide experience in reading published primary physiology literature and incorporating it into your knowledge.



Course Grade - your grade will be determined by the following assignments:  Quizzes, 3 exams during the semester, Comprehensive Final, Lab Reports, Oral presentation, and participation. 



Academic Integrity – All students in Biology courses will be asked to sign an Academic Integrity contract to ensure that you understand the College’s Academic Integrity Policy and how it applies to the work that you will do in this course.

Students with Learning Disabilities - If you have a learning disability and require accommodations, please let me know early in the semester so that we can work together to meet your learning needs.  You will need to provide documentation of your disability to Toni Messuri (located in 111 Klein, 654-2818,, but please also discuss appropriate accommodations directly with me.

Class meetings – In order to keep everyone in the class more actively engaged, our class meetings will be mainly discussions.  Please use the CD-ROM and read ahead in preparation for class.  With this format we can spend more of our time focusing on the things that you find most difficult, and less time going over things that you can readily understand from the CD-ROM and from reading the text.  This class format does put more responsibility on you to attend all classes, be prepared, and to participate – for the benefit of your classmates as well as for yourself.  Think of our class as a learning team - your preparation and participation is important to the success of the team as whole. Through active engagement in the class, such as sharing relevant questions or observations, each of you will help others in the class learn.

Attendance Policy and Personal Responsibility - Your learning in this course will be very dependent on discussions that will take place during class time - so your presence and participation is essential.  Please keep in mind that 10% of the grade in the course is based on participation and contribution.  Therefore, you are expected to attend all class meetings, not just for what you get from the class, but also because of what you can contribute.  If you miss a class for any reason, you are, of course, responsible for anything that you missed. If you miss a class due to illness or a personal emergency, please contact the Associate Dean’s office and provide me with a written explanation of the circumstances.  If due to excessive absences I feel that you have missed too much of the course to be able to make it up, I may ask that you drop the class.  It may not be possible to make up for a missed laboratory session.  If that is the case, your grade for that particular lab activity will be reduced.

You are expected to turn all assignments in on time.  If you fail to meet an assignment deadline, you will be penalized 5% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late, up to 10 days.  After 10 days the assignment will not be accepted and the grade for the assignment is a zero.  If you are having trouble with an assignment, please come to see me well ahead of the due date.  If you leave an assignment to the last minute the resulting product probably will not reflect your best effort.  In addition, you leave yourself very susceptible to the possibility that something may go wrong and cause you to not have the assignment done on time (things like computer malfunctions and printers running out of paper or toner).  Plan on having the assignment done early, so that if problems do arise you have some leeway.  In addition, you will find that some assignments take longer than you expect.

If you have a personal or family emergency that causes you to miss a deadline, you should notify the Associate Academic Dean, and ask her to notify your professors.  Please notify me directly also - a brief note, phone call, or email is sufficient if you are not able to stop by my office.  If you handle this responsibly, I’m sure that we can come to an agreement on a revised deadline.

If you must miss a quiz or exam, please notify me ahead of time so that we can arrange for you to take it early.



Specific course schedule varies a bit from year to year


Student Oral Presentations on Special Topics in Physiology

The field of animal physiology is broad and fascinating - and different topics appeal to different people. Therefore, I am providing an opportunity for you to focus more deeply on an area that is of particular interest to you.  You are to prepare a 15-18 minute presentation about a special topic of your choice in the field of human or comparative animal physiology, but please check with me for final topic approval before you begin. This way I can help you focus your topic, if necessary, and I may also be able to offer some suggestions for your research.  This also will help me prevent overlap within the class.  Please be sure that you select a topic that is not too far beyond your own background to understand, and present it so that can be understood by your classmates.   If you have difficulty in selecting a topic, please see me so that we can discuss your interests in the field of physiology and I can offer some suggestions.

Your research and presentation should be based mainly on published primary sources, such as research papers from journals.  Primary sources can be identified as being a description of original research, and are written by the people who actually did the work.  Review articles written about a topic and based on other research papers can be very helpful and you certainly can use them, but they are not primary sources.  They will, however, list primary sources in their Literature Cited sections.  You can then get these papers and read them for yourself.  Greater use of published primary sources shows a greater degree of research and results in a better understanding of the topic.  Presentations that rely heavily on secondary and general sources will not earn grades in the “A” range.  If you have any questions about whether a paper is a primary source, please see me. 

The oral presentation should be 15-18 minutes long and done using Powerpoint.  To assist the class in following your presentation, you must prepare a one-page outline of the main points to covered and bring copies for everyone on the day of your presentation.

Lab Reports – A written or group oral report will be required on two multi-week lab activities.  The reports should be prepared so that it could be understood by students in a similar introductory physiology course, but who have no specific knowledge of what you did.  Please use the following format - you should be familiar with it from BI 205 (Biological Reading and Writing), and you will see examples of it as you read published primary literature.  Please refer to your copy of Pechenik’s text if you have any questions regarding format.  Appropriate use of literature, including published primary research articles, is expected.  When you cite references, please cite the author and year in the text, but be sure to include the full citation in the Literature Cited section (see Pechenik).  For the group oral report, list all references on the final slide(s).


Title - should be descriptive, but no longer than necessary.  The title should contain enough specifics and key words that if the article was published it could be located through a computer search by individuals interested in the topic.


Abstract - The abstract should summarize all aspects of the research, including your results.  The abstract should be only one paragraph, but it also must be thorough enough for the reader to understand what was done, why you did it, and what you found. 


Introduction - Explain what the objectives of the study are, and why it is worthwhile.  What will the study attempt to determine?  Provide appropriate background and context, and cite appropriate published primary research articles (and using proper format).  In general, the Introduction often begins with a broad introduction to the topic, and then narrows the reader’s focus to the specific topic addressed in the paper.  In the final component of the Introduction you should specifically identify the objectives and hypotheses of your study.


Materials and Methods – Describe how you did the study.  Give enough details so that the reader could repeat the experiment.  Also include a description of how you analyzed the data. This section should be should be a description of what you did and written in the past tense.  It should not include a list of needed supplies, and it should not be a list of instructions.


Results – Begin by describing the general patterns of the data, and refer to appropriate tables or figures to support what you write.  Your description should call the reader’s attention to the important trends or patterns in the data, and the tables or figures should provide the evidence to back up what you say or write.  Put a great deal of thought into how tables or figures are organized and presented - they should provide a good summary of the data and be clearly organized.  Tables and figures must have a caption/title (above a table, below a figure), and this caption/title should describe what is shown (tables or figures should be able to "stand alone" - a reader should be able to understand what is shown without having to read the text of the manuscript).  Tables and figures by themselves do not constitute a proper Results section, they must be explained.  If you used statistical analyses, the results should be included in this section.  Do not interpret the data in this section, just report what you found.


Discussion - Interpret your results in relation to your original objectives or hypotheses.  Be sure to include the probable physiological explanations behind the results.  You should include comparisons to other relevant studies (published primary research articles), and cite appropriate literature.  State your conclusions, and indicate whether or not your hypothesis was supported by the results.  You should note if any problems arose during the experiment, and how they were dealt with.  If appropriate, make suggestions on how the experiment could be improved if you were to do it again.  End each report with an idea for a follow-up experiment in which you address a topic raised by the initial experiment.  Simply doing the same experiment over again to try to get better results does not qualify as a follow-up experiment.


Acknowledgments - thank anyone who contributed significantly to the study or preparation of the manuscript.


Literature Cited - list, in alphabetical order by first author's last name, all references that you cite in your manuscript.  Do not list references that are not cited. The following are examples of proper format:

journal article:  Smith, A. B., C. D. Jones, E. F. Watson, G. H. Edwards, and  H. I. There.  1985.  The effects of desiccation on the survival of sea stars. Journal of Marine Biology 23: 112-117.

book:  Smith, A. B. 1981.  Stress responses of intertidal invertebrates.  Tidewater Publications, Inc. Portsmouth, NH.  pp. 145-159.

web site:  Smith, A. B.  1997 (provide date information was posted, if available).  A brief introduction to intertidal invertebrates of New England.  give full URL address (http:// etc…) (then include the date that you accessed the information)  [if author is unknown, use organization sponsoring web site as author]




Please note - The individual written report must be done alone, even though you will be working in a lab group when designing the experiment and collecting the data.  Treat the individual written report as a take-home exam – it should represent your own analysis of the group’s data, and your own consideration of appropriate literature.  If you have questions, you can ask the course instructor, but you may not consult with class members while working on the report outside of lab.  Any assistance from classmates outside of lab, such as help finding references or presenting or analyzing data, will be considered a violation of the college’s academic integrity policy.