Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the student will know the specific functional mechanism of the most important Italian wildlife species. The student will be able to understand the physiologic and functional adaptation of the animals to the environment. The main subjects of the course will be: metabolism and thermoregulation, respiration, cardiac function, reproduction, endocrine organs function, emunctory organs function, food supply and digestion, some function of the nervous system; locomotion. These arguments will be developed starting from the knowledge of the students, who will add this information on the peculiarity of the different species.

Course contents

- Introduction on wildlife species that will be discussed in relation of their importance for preservation and their role in epidemiology of some animal disease;

- Metabolism: features and characteristics of the energetic metabolism; activation of the metabolism, energy economy; thermoregulation: homeothermy, poikilothermy; endothermy, ectotherm; heterothermy. Hibernation; estivation.

- Physiology of locomotion. Terrestrial, aquatic and air locomotive strategies.

- Physiology of the nervous system: environment perception. Hearing, smell; sight. Particular senses: sight in daily and night birds of prey; echolocation in terrestrial and aquatic animals; magnetoception; thermoception, radiation sensitivity. Sleep;

- Physiology of the circulatory system: functions and peculiarity relatively to the species from different classes (reptiles, amphibians, birds, fishes)

- Physiology of the respiratory system: functions and peculiarity relatively to the species from different classes (reptiles, amphibians, birds, fishes); physiology of the immersion in marine mammalians;

- Physiology of the excretory system: functions and peculiarity relatively to the species from different classes (reptiles, amphibians, birds, fishes);

- Physiology of the endocrine organs: hormones secretion and functions.

- Physiology of reproduction: physiology of the male and female reproduction; neuro-endocrine control of reproduction; mating; pregnancy and parturition; egg incubation; sex determination.

- Physiology of the digestive system: food supply; main digestive process and nutrients assimilation

- migratory behaviour in different species: food availability, metabolism and reproduction influence.


  • Physiology of Domestic Animals. Sjaastadt-Sand-Hove. Scandinavian Veterinary Press second edition (2010).
  • Fisiologia animale. Alessandro Poli et al., EdiSES editore, Napoli (2018).
  • Fisiologia animale. Hill, Wise, Anderson, Zanichelli editore, Bologna (2006).
  • Fisiologia animale -meccanismi e adattamenti. Randall, Burggren, French. Zanichelli editore, Bologna (1999).
  • Fisiologia degli animali. Dai geni agli organismi. Sherwood, Klandorf, Yancey. Zanichelli editore, Bologna (2006).
  • Fisiologia degli animali marini. Alessandro Poli, Elena Fabbri. EdiSES editore, Napoli (2018).
  • Further readings on scientific literature

Teaching methods

Lectures with interaction between teacher and students with supervised activity of review and self-evaluation; group work; on field trip/visit.

Assessment methods

The evaluation of the student’s knowledge will consist in an oral exam in which the student will have the possibility to relate about an argument she/he prepared/chose. The exam will be a talk with the teacher in which the student is asked to demonstrate his/her ability to make connections between the different subjects and arguments studied during the course.

The exam will be considered passed if the student will demonstrate to have the basic knowledge wildlife Italian animals’ physiology and their peculiarity relative to the adaptation to the environment.

The evaluation grading formulation will be obtained as the sum of three different scoring: language and knowledge (max 3 points); soft skills (max 3 points), ability to understand and create a network of arguments (max 3 points). The obtained score will be normalized in /30.

Teaching tools

Power point slides; laboratory; teaching videos; on field visit

Office hours

See the website of Pier Attilio Accorsi

See the website of Marcella Spinaci