Module code: BMS3095

Module Overview

Using an evolutionary approach, this module provides an in-depth overview of the different taxa from sponges to mammals within the animal kingdom, focusing on their classification, morphological diversity and adaptation to their specific habitats. It is designed for the needs and interests of Biological Sciences students but is open as an option to all students who are interested in gaining a greater understanding of animal taxonomy, morphology and evolution

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

SANTORELLI Lorenzo (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 113

Lecture Hours: 20

Tutorial Hours: 17

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Biological Sciences & VBS students can take either BMS3079 or BMS3095, not both

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Classification and organisation

  • Diversity of animal life

  • Comparative anatomy

  • Taxonomy and phylogeny

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination WRITTEN EXAM 1.5 HOURS 30

Alternative Assessment

In case the student could not perform one or more practicals for justified absence or ethical reasons (i.e. dissections), alternative materials and appropriate instructions are provided in order to complete the required exercises for the final portfolio

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to critically analyse the information given during lectures and to apply the skills and the knowledge acquired to given specific problem in animal biology, as well as their ability to gain an integrated knowledge and understanding of functional morphology across the animal kingdom

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • A portfolio of up to 2,000 words focused on the various activities performed during the module, due on the week 11.

  • An exam, consisting of and a set of five short essay questions, out of which the student will be required to answer three in 1 h time.

Formative assessment and feedback

Verbal feedback during lectures and tutorials

Written and open office  feedback on portfolio

Module aims

  • Apply the principles of evolution to the understanding of how animal diversity has arisen and organisms have adapted to different environments
  • Compare different morphologies, also with the use of tools like dissection, in the major animal phyletic groups
  • Provide a good understanding of the principles of taxonomy and phylogeny and the concepts of homologies and analogies

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Explain taxonomical hierarchy K
2 Explain different tissue types and body organisation K
3 Compare and contrast the morphology and anatomy of the major groups and be able to identify representatives of the groups K
4 Understand the basis and produce phylogenetic trees KC
5 Describe morphological characteristics and evolutionary relationships of members of different phyla K
6 Understand how adaptations to the environment reflect on the anatomy and behaviour of organisms KC
7 Describe, compare and discuss the locomotion, reproduction, feeding and digestion of a range of animals K
8 Gain key skills in manipulating and dissecting specimens KT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Give the students a broad understanding of the body plans and functions of different animal groups, focusing on specific mechanisms of homeostatic control and to place this knowledge in the evolutionary context of animal phylogeny and adaptation.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures (approximately 20 h, 2/week)

  • Activitites including: Phylogeny tree of preserved specimens; dissection of echinoderm and mollusc; observation and classification of insects; nature documentaries view, visit to the Natural History museum in London   (approximately 10 h, 1/week, 7 h for museum visit )

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS3095

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Veterinary Biosciences BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biological Sciences BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.