It is announced that the call for registrations to ERACOM MSc program will open at 20 February 2016



Elective course






Inna Sokolova

Examining animals in their natural environments has been a traditional pursuit of the animal physiologist. Throughout the history of our field, researchers have conducted physiological and behavioral studies of free-living animals using innovative techniques, novel engineering and natural ingenuity. Physiologists and ecologists have long been interested in knowing where animals go and how they function in response to natural environments. Today, as once distinct science fields merge even more, physiological ecologists share keen interests in studying the linkages between life history traits, physiology and environment. By conducting careful measurements on free-ranging animals, physiological ecologists have revealed insights into how animals occupy diverse environments and the limitations of physiological performance. The data enables them to consider how natural selection acts in the real world, beyond the confines of the laboratory. In the 21st century the field of physiological ecology will reemerge, and advance at an accelerated pace due to new technological advances (e.g., biologging science) and multi-disciplinary approaches. This will enable collection of field data that will answer questions about how animals use their environment. The course content starts with a review of the basic principles of physiological ecology, expands into some of its central themes of physiological ecology, and then concludes with a discussion of how organisms on rocky shores, salt marshes, and coral reefs are able to cope with their environment. These processes are explored from an ecological (distribution and abundance etc.), organismal (respiration, feeding, growth rates etc.), cellular (adaptations etc.), and to lesser extent from a molecular (DNA and gene level processes) perspective, a trend that emulates the current direction of this rapidly evolving field.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course students will: 

  1. Learn the strategies employed by marine organisms to cope with their physical environment. 
  2.  Characterize biologically relevant parameters used to monitor change in coastal marine habitats.
  3.  Learn a variety of techniques and approaches that are frequently employed by marine physiological ecologists and other researchers to study coastal marine habitats.
  4.  Review and examine some of the most recent findings in marine physiological ecology of coastal marine organisms.
  5.  Relate local scale physiological response of coastal marine organisms to global climate change.


Student's final grade will be based on class participation, exercises and discussions (25%); annotated bibliography assignment (30%); and 45% will be based on a group assignment work on a local case study and a final presentation (details and description of the case study group assignment will be given during class).

Course outline-lectures


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