Syllabus Animal Physiology Spring 2024

BIO 3360: Animal Physiology
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Spring 2024 | Online

Outline, Objective, Lectures and PPT slides Website:

Course Description

This is a lecture course for science majors on the physiological processes common to most animals and on the physiological adaptations and acclimation to environmental challenges- especially with respect to temperature, moisture, and oxygen availability.


BIO 3200 or BIO 3260 and CHE 1810, or permission of instructor.



Required Materials:

No materials need to be purchased. All required materials are embedded within Canvas.


Optional Materials:

Free online textbook: Introduction to Animal Physiology by Sanja Hinic-Frlog (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., last edited in 2019. The content in this open textbook was adapted from other open textbooks and resources or was created/written by Sanja Hinic-Frlog and collaborators. Collaborators include: Jessica Hanley, Simone Laughton, and invited undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Licensed under CC BY 4.0. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Citation Information

If you need to cite any sources, you may use MLA or APA format:

Participation Policy

MSU Denver has a new Mandatory Participation Policy for all students. Any student who has not participated in this course by February 1, at noon, will be administratively dropped from the course by the Registrar’s Office. Participation for this course means logging into the course on Canvas, participating in Student Introductions, or taking an assessment.

Schedule of Activities

The table below provides an “at-a-glance” overview of the course topics, readings, and activities, etc. You might want to print it and use it as a planning tool and checklist to help stay on track throughout the course.

Week/Day Module(s) Readings/Videos Activities/Assessments
Week 1 (1/16-20) Module 1: Introduction to Animal Physiology

Module 2: Cell Membranes

Video: Introduction to Animal Physiology

Optional: Chapter 1

Video: Cell Membranes

Discussion: Feedback Loops

Quiz: Introduction to Animal Physiology

Quiz: Cell Membranes

Week 2 (1/22-27) Module 3: Cell Signaling

Module 4: Membrane Transport

Video: Cell Signaling

Optional: Chapter 9.2

Video: Membrane Transport

Quiz: Cell Signaling

Quiz: Membrane Transport

Week 3 (1/29-2/3) Module 5: Membrane Potentials

Module 6: Epithelial Transport

Video: Membrane Potentials

Optional: Chapters 7.1, 7.2 (Part 1)

Video: Epithelial Transport

Quiz: Membrane Potentials

Quiz: Epithelial Transport

Week 4 (2/5-10) Module 7: Exam 1

Module 8: Neural Function

Video: Neural Function

Optional: Chapters 7.2, 7.4

Exam 1

Quiz: Neural Function

Week 5 (2/12-17) Module 9: Synaptic Transmission Video: Synaptic Transmission

Optional: Chapter 7.3

Discussion: Synaptic Poisons

Quiz: Synaptic Transmission

Week 6 (2/19-24) Module 10: Functional Organization of Nervous System

Module 11: Muscle (Part 1)

Video: Functional Organization of Nervous System

Optional: Chapters 8.1, 8.2

Video: Muscle (Part 1)

Optional: Chapters 5.3, 6.2, 6.4

Quiz: Functional Organization of Nervous System

Quiz: Muscle (Part 1)

Week 7 (2/26-3/2) Module 12: Muscle (Part 2) Video: Muscle (Part 2) Quiz: Muscle (Part 2)
Week 8 (3/4-9) Module 13: Muscle (Part 3)

Module 14: Exam 2

Video: Muscle (Part 3) Quiz: Muscle (Part 3)

Exam 2

Week 9 (3/11-16) Module 15: Sensory Physiology (Part 1)

Module 16: Sensory Physiology (Part 2)

Video: Sensory Physiology (Part 1)

Optional: Chapter 8.3 (Part 1)

Video: Sensory Physiology (Part 2)

Optional: Chapter 8.3 (Part 2)

Quiz: Sensory Physiology (Part 1)

Quiz: Sensory Physiology (Part 2)

Week 10 (3/25-30) Module 17: Sensory Physiology (Part 3)

Module 18: Circulation (Part 1)

Video: Sensory Physiology (Part 3)

Optional: Chapter 8.3 (Part 3)

Video: Circulation (Part 1)

Optional: Chapter 3.2 (Part 1)

Quiz: Sensory Physiology (Part 3)

Quiz: Circulation (Part 1)

Week 11 (4/1-6) Module 19: Circulation (Part 2)

Module 20: Circulation (Part 3)

Video: Circulation (Part 2)

Optional: Chapter 3.2 (Part 2)

Video: Circulation (Part 3)

Quiz: Circulation (Part 2)

Quiz: Circulation (Part 3)

Week 12 (4/8-13) Module 21: Circulation (Part 4)

Module 22: Exam 3

Video: Circulation (Part 4) – Lecture 1/2

Video: Circulation (Part 4) – Lecture 2/2

Optional: Chapter 3.2 (Part 3)

Discussion: Circulatory Diseases

Quiz: Circulation (Part 4)

Exam 3

Week 13 (4/15-20) Module 23: Respiration (Part 1)

Module 24: Respiration (Part 2)

Video: Respiration (Part 1)

Optional: Chapters 2.1 and 2.3

Video: Respiration (Part 2)

Optional: Chapters 2.2 and 2.3 (Part 1)

Quiz: Respiration (Part 1)

Quiz: Respiration (Part 2)

Week 14 (4/22-27) Module 25: Respiration (Part 3)

Module 26: Acid-Base Physiology

Video: Respiration (Part 3) – Lecture 1/3

Video: Respiration (Part 3) – Lecture 2/3

Video: Respiration (Part 3) – Lecture 3/3

Optional: Chapters 2.2 and 2.3 (Part 2)

Video: Acid-Base Physiology

Discussion: Respiratory Evolution

Quiz: Respiration (Part 3)

Quiz: Acid-Base Physiology

Week 15 (4/29-5/4) Module 27: Ionic and Osmotic Balance & Nitrogen Excretion

Module 28: The Mammalian Kidney

Video: Ionic and Osmotic Balance

Video: Nitrogen Excretion

Optional: Chapter 4

Video: The Mammalian Kidney

Quiz: Ionic and Osmotic Balance & Nitrogen Excretion

Quiz: The Mammalian Kidney

Week 16 (5/6-11) Module 29: Exam 4 & Final Reflection Exam 4

Final Reflection

Outline of Course Topics

Unit One

  1. Introduction to Animal Physiology
  2. Plasma Membranes
  3. Cell Signaling
  4. Membrane Transport
  5. Membrane Potentials
  6. Epithelial Transport

Unit Two

  1. Neural Function
  2. Synaptic Transmission
  3. Nervous System Organization
  4. Muscular System I – Muscle Features and Sliding Filament Mechanism
  5. Muscular System II – Cell Twitches and Whole Muscles
  6. Muscular System III – Smooth Muscle

Unit Three

  1. Sensory I – General Physiology
  2. Sensory II – Photoreception
  3. Sensory III – Mechanoreception
  4. Circulation I – Heart
  5. Circulation II – Heart Pumping
  6. Circulation III – Flow and Vessel Types
  7. Circulation IV – Arterioles, Capillaries, Veins, and Blood Pressure

Unit Four

  1. Respiration I – Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide
  2. Respiration II – Gas Transfer
  3. Respiration III – Non-Mammalian Respiration and Gas Transport in Blood
  4. Acid – Base Physiology
  5. Ionic and Osmotic Balance, Nitrogen Excretion
  6. Mammalian Kidney

Course Learning Objectives or Outcomes

  1. Portray the nature and importance of homeostatic mechanisms, in general, in animals.
  2. Examine the fundamental physical and chemical phenomena characteristic of living systems.
  3. Outline the general role and nature of enzymes in living systems.
  4. Describe general mechanisms of membrane permeability and transport of molecules through membranes.
  5. Analyze electrical potentials and the generation and propagation of membrane impulses.
  6. Compare types of neurons and their functions in impulse reception, generation, and transmission.
  7. Examine the general concepts of sensory function.
  8. Differentiate the mechanisms involved in vision, hearing, mechanoreception, and chemoreception.
  9. Theorize the general evolutionary pattern of the development of nervous systems and the general organization of nervous systems.
  10. Analyze general mechanisms in neural procession of information and consequent behavioral effects.
  11. Describe the fundamental and major aspects of the organization and function of the mammalian nervous system.
  12. Examine the molecular structure and function of contractile mechanisms in muscle cells.
  13. Compare and contrast the structure and function of vertebrate skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle fibers, as related to overall tissue and organ function.
  14. Analyze the major intracellular chemical messengers and their role in cell function.
  15. Describe the general importance and functions of hormones in animals.
  16. Analyze the significance of various specific hormonal control systems of vertebrates.
  17. Based on knowledge of the nervous and endocrine systems, theorize some hormonal control systems that would be present in invertebrates.
  18. Compare and contrast osmoregulation, ionoregulation, and excretion/nitrogen wasters.

    Course Grading Policy

    Your grades are based upon points earned for your quiz scores, exam scores, the 4 required discussion scores, and a reflection paper. The quizzes are each worth 10 points, regardless of how many questions are in each quiz. The exams are each worth 100 points with 50 questions per exam. The 4 discussion postings are each worth 10 points.  The reflection of the course as it relates to your career aspirations is worth 25 points.

    The point values for each are as follows:


    Assignment/Assessment Points
     Quizzes (25 @ 10 points each) 250
     Exams (4 @ 100 points each) 400
     Discussion Postings (4 @ 10 points each) 40
     Final Reflection Paper 25


    Each of these requirements is described in more detail below.

    Late Work Policy:

    A 10% per day deduction will be taken from any assessment scores. No late work is accepted once the semester is over.

    Grading Scale

    The points you earned on each graded activity and assessment are totaled, and your final grade is determined according to the points column in the following table. The percentage values are approximate and are included only to give you a frame of reference.

    Letter grade Points
    A 643-715
    B 572-642
    C 500-571
    D 429-499
    F < 429

    Criteria for Evaluation

    Quizzes and exams are auto-graded based on correctness. The grading information for the Discussions is listed on each of the four specific Discussion assignments. The grading information and rubric for the Final Reflection assignment, along with a sample product, is attached to the Reflection assignment.

    About Your Grades

    This course uses the Canvas “Grades” feature to post your ongoing grades. In an effort to keep you informed of your progress, some quizzes, tests, assignments, and other assessments will display partial grades while your instructor continues to assess your submission. Keep in mind that your grades may fluctuate as your instructor works to assess your submission and provide feedback. In order to maximize your learning experience in each course, different instructors may use this feature in different ways, so please contact your instructor with any questions you might have about your progress, grades, or how to interpret the information presented.

    Types of Assessments/Assignments


    Each module has an open-note, open-book quiz that must be completed with a grade of 80% or better in order to move on to the next course module.  You have an unlimited number of attempts to take this untimed, automatically graded quiz. Only your highest quiz score is reported to your teacher. Your result will pop up instantaneously after you take the quiz.  You can see which ones you got right and which ones you got wrong, but the correct answer on the wrong ones will not be indicated. The quiz will contain slightly different questions every time you take it.

    Every quiz is worth 10 points in the gradebook, even though an individual quiz may not contain 10 points of questions. Scores transfer proportionally; for example, if you score a 13/13 on a quiz, it will show up as 10/10 in the gradebook.

    Quiz questions are multiple choice, true/false, ordering, fill in the blank, and drop-down choices. Fill in the blank answers must be spelled correctly.

    Quizzes corresponding to each of the four course units have a due date that is the same as that of the unit’s exam.  Quizzes submitted past that date have an automatic deduction of 10% per day late.  No late quizzes will be accepted for points once the semester has ended.


    There are four unit exams, each one containing 50 randomly selected questions and worth 100 points. Many of the questions on the unit exams you have seen before on the quizzes, and some will be new. They cover the entire set of modules from that unit. Each unit exam has a specific opening date and a specific due date. Late online exams will have an automatic deduction of 10% per day late and may not be taken late once the semester ends. You will have 75 minutes to complete the exam but only one chance to take it.

    After submitting the exam, you will see your score immediately. At any time, click on the “Grades” icon on the left menu of Canvas to see your gradebook for this course.

    The exam is open-note, open-book and is primarily multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank format. You may not collaborate with your classmates.


    There are four Canvas discussion postings, one per course unit,  that will be graded. Each is worth 10 points. The criteria for grading are posted for each discussion.  Postings corresponding to each of the four course units have a due date that is the same as that of the unit’s exam.  Discussions submitted past that date have an automatic deduction of 10% per day late.  No late postings will be accepted for points once the semester has ended.


    Final Reflection Paper

    During finals week, you have a reflection assignment that is due by the end of finals week (May 11), but is open for inspection and submission at any time during the semester. It is worth 25 points and requires that you reflect on information that you learned in each of the four course units, to help you in your career/education goals. A simple rubric is attached to the assignment.


    Response Time and Assessments/Assignments Feedback

    All quizzes and exams will be scored automatically and immediately. The Discussion Postings will be graded with comments within 1-2 weeks of your posting.

    I will respond to emails and Canvas messages within 1 business day.

    Practice Opportunities and Feedback

    The quizzes all have unlimited attempts and provide you with feedback about which questions you got right and wrong. The questions will randomize when you retake the quiz, providing you with many practice opportunities.

    Tracking Your Learning Progress

    Using your quiz and exam results, and the feedback you receive on your discussion posts, you will be able to track your progress through the course and to see how you are doing at any time. Click the My Grades link on the course navigation menu to view your grades and access specific feedback.