BIO340 Animal Physiology

Spring 2019

Course Syllabus

Instructor: Dr. Barry K. Rhoades

106 Munroe Science Center                                                                     

Office Phone: 757-5238


Office  hours:             Monday           9:00 - 10:00 AM

                                    Tuesday           10:00 - 11:00 AM

                                    Wednesday      9:00 - 10:00 AM

                                    Thursday          10:00 - 11:00 AM

                                    Friday              9:00 - 10:00 AM

                                    or by appointment


(I will be in my office during these times.  Feel free to drop in to my office any other time from 9:00 to 5:00 weekdays.  When I am not in my office, I am often in my lab space in MSC 101/103.  If I can meet with you at that time I will, otherwise I will make an appointment for a future time.)



Textbook:  Animal Physiology (4th. Ed.)  by R.W. Hill, G.A. Wyse, and M. Anderson.  2016.

                   Sinauer associates. 


Lab Manual:    Animal Physiology Laboratory Manual.  2019. B.K. Rhoades.  Wesleyan College.


Class meeting: MWF Period 3 10:00-10:50 AM MSC 101


Laboratory meeting:  Thursday Periods D,E   3:00-5:45 PM MSC 101

Note: Some labs may run past 5:45


Course Description and Objectives:   Animal Physiology is a four credit hour course designed to familiarize you with the content, approaches, and methodologies of the study of physiology.  This is an upper level biology course intended primarily for students majoring in biology or a related natural science and/or minoring in neuroscience.


Course  Content:   This course covers animal physiology, which is the study of how animals work.  Physiology deals with the mechanisms of organismal life operating at all levels of biological organization, from molecular to population.  The course focuses on vertebrate, especially mammalian physiology, and is organized according to vertebrate organ systems.  Invertebrate systems will also be discussed, as a basis for functional comparisons.  The classroom portion of the course starts with a brief review of cell physiology, then focuses on the membrane properties of diffusion, transport and excitability.  We next consider the nervous system, whose cells are specialized for excitability, then the skeletal muscular system, whose cells are specialized for both excitability and contractility.  From skeletal muscle we move to cardiac muscle, then to the circulatory, lymphatic, and immune systems.  We then deal with the major organ systems which rely on circulatory interactions, specifically the respiratory, excretory, digestive and endocrine systems.  We finish up with a diverse set of topics which form bridges to other areas of biology, including reproduction, metabolism, thermoregulation, sleep, developmental physiology, and physiological ecology.

The laboratory exercises are designed to provide hands-on experience which reinforces many of the concepts presented in class.  These are mostly standard, "tried and true" exercises, instrumented with state-of-the art equipment.  The goals and organization of the laboratory portion of the course are described fully in the laboratory manual.


Wesleyan College Statement on Disabilities: Wesleyan College is committed to equal education, full participation and access to facilities for all students. Any student who requires reasonable academic accommodations, use of auxiliary aids or facility access for a class must first register with Disability Resources by contacting Jill Amos, or (478) 757-5219. If reasonable accommodations are established, students should request Accommodation Letters from Disability Resources then schedule an appointment to meet with the professor to determine how the accommodations will be implemented for each class as early in the semester as possible. Accommodations require advance notice to implement and will not be retroactively administered for the semester. Accommodations that decrease the integrity of a course will not be approved.


Wesleyan College Department of Biology Policy on the Honor Code: The Honor Code is the foundation upon which life in the Wesleyan College community is built. Academic violations of the Honor Code include, but are not limited to: cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, inventing or falsifying information, turning in work for more than one class without authorization, or helping someone else violate the Honor Code. Students must self-report academic violations of the Honor Code to the faculty member teaching the class. If a student knows of an academic violation of the Honor Code by another student, she must report that violation to the faculty member if the student does not self-report.


In this class,  cheating (giving or receiving any unauthorized information or supplying information from any source other than your memory) on any exam will result in a course semester grade of  F.  Plagiarism and/or improper citation on any assignment will be dealt with on a case by case basis, but also may result in an F grade for the assignment or the course. If a student is unclear about violation of the Honor Code for any assignment, she should contact the instructor before handing in the assignment. . All academic violations of the Honor Code will also be reported to the Provost, who may impose additional penalties for repeat offenders, including expulsion from school.  Repeat offenders will be sent to Honor Council by the Provost, who may impose additional social penalties. For more information on how the Honor Code works, including the appeals process, refer to The Wesleyanne: Student Handbook.


Students further agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the service is subject to the Usage Policy posted on the site.


Attendance:   You are expected to attend classes and labs regularly and promptly.  The class meetings are intended to complement the textbook readings, not simply to restate them.  As such, much of the material presented in class will be novel, i.e. not expressly covered in the textbook.  As a consequence of this, any absence is potentially problematic.  Excessive unexcused absences (more than 4) from class will be reported to the Dean in accordance with college policy.  Because the actual experience gained in the laboratory is at least as important as the information provided, any unexcused absence from the lab portion of the course may result in a lowering of the semester grade.  Each lab requires a unique setup, so making a lab up in a later week generally will not be feasible.


Preparation and Participation:  It is very important that you come to class each day having read through the assigned readings for that week. It is even more important that you come to laboratory meetings having read through the laboratory exercise in detail. I hope to make our class sessions very interactive. The more preparation you bring into class, the more easily and productively you will be able to interact with me and your classmates, and the more you will learn. If you do not prepare for the labs, you will waste a great deal of your limited lab time trying to figure out what you should be looking at and what you should be doing.


Time Expenditure:  There is a general expectation at Wesleyan that you will spend at least two-three hours working outside of class for every hour you spend in class. The course materials and course room are available to you precisely so that you can spend much of this time working directly with them to prepare for the exams and complete the worksheets


 Wesleyan College Statement on Civility in the Classroom: Students, faculty, and staff are expected to treat each other with respect in all interactions.  Int the classroom, rude, disruptive, and/or disrespectful behaviors as determined by the faculty member interfere other students’ rights and with the instructor’s ability to teach. Therefore, anyone exhibiting unacceptable behaviors during the class will be asked to leave and will be counted absent for that class period. Failure to cooperate with this process will result in disciplinary action that may include withdrawal from the class or dismissal from the College.  Violations will be reproted to the Provost.


Cell Phones: Please do your classmates the courtesy of turning off your cell phones during class and lab periods. If you must answer your cell phone, please leave the room to do so. If you leave the room, please do not come back. If you feel that you must monitor your cell phone during class or lab, please get permission from the instructor.


Wesleyan College Statement on Educational Privacy: In order to promote an environment in which ideas may be freely expressed, the interior office and classroom spaces at Wesleyan are private spaces. The unauthorized creation of photographic images, audio or video recordings of students or faculty in these spaces is considered to be disruptive behavior which may result in a student's removal from class according to the instructor’s discretion. The distribution of any such recordings of students or faculty without the express written permission of the College is strictly prohibited and is subject to disciplinary action by the Provost of the College.

All novel materials developed and presented in this course are the academic and intellectual property of the course instructor, course students, and/or Wesleyan College.  Unauthorized photography, recording, electronic monitoring, and/or web dissemination of any portions of class or laboratory materials or sessions potentially violates the legitimate expectations of privacy of your classmates and the course instructor.  Please obtain the explicit permission of the instructor before making any video or audio recordings in this course.  Please do not, under any circumstances, post recordings from this class to electronic or social media.


Course  Caveats:   The laboratory portion of this course involves extensive work with recently living vertebrate animals, specifically frogs and turtles.  In all cases, these animals will be anesthetized and euthanized (killed, or rendered decerebrate) by the instructor before you begin to work with them.  Please be advised that many physiological processes normally associated with life may, continue for some time after death.  These may include heart activity, blood circulation, bleeding, urination, defecation, and limited movement of the trunk and limbs.  Seeing this for the first time is, and certainly should be, initially disturbing to most students.  I will do my best to accommodate your legitimate reactions and concerns and help you work through them, within reason.  This will not include allowing you to skip labs and abandon your lab partners, just because the labs make you feel uneasy.  Working with these animal "preparations" is required for participation in this course. 


If you feel that you will not be able to work with these animals, you need to seriously consider three questions.  First, is Animal Physiology an appropriate course for you?  Second, is Biology/Neuroscience an appropriate major/minor for you?  Third, is a biology- or health-related career appropriate for you?  If so, part of your education must be to come to personal terms with one fundamental aspect of life: that animals (including people) in the real world die.  In contrast to the natural world, animals in this course will be treated humanely and end their lives painlessly, in full compliance with the strictest NIH standards for laboratory animal care and use.


The typical lab will involve both an animal surgical/dissection procedure and subsequent physiological monitoring.  Because of this some laboratory exercises will take most groups longer than the allotted three-hour time period.  The instructor will try to give you ample warning of which labs are likely to run long.  You are, however, expected to stay until each laboratory exercise is complete.  Leaving for dinner and coming back later to finish is simply not an option in a physiology laboratory exercise.


Grading:    The semester grade will be computed on the following basis:


            Class Exam I                        14%                                                         90%+ = A

            Class Exam II                       16%                                                         80%+ = B

            Class Final Exam                  20%                                                         70%+ = C

            Quizzes                                 10%                                                         60%+ = D

            Laboratory Grade                  40%     (see laboratory manual for details)       <60% = F

            Total                                    100%


Testing   Format:   The two lecture exams and the final exam will include some objective style questions such as fill in the blanks or term identification/definition.  Some questions on each exam will have the form of problems which will require algebraic solutions.  Appropriate formulae for these problems will be provided, however, you will be responsible for recognizing the symbols used in those formulae.  In addition there will be essay-style questions of two types.  The first type is a basic describe/explain - compare/contrast type.  The other type is a synthesis question, wherein you will need to apply your acquired knowledge to solve some novel problem or respond to some hypothetical situation.  There will be no multiple choice or true/false questions.  I will cover the exam format in greater detail in class as the first exam approaches. 


The three quizzes will be short in-class exams, designed to be completed in 45 minutes.  Quizzes will involve multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, and some physiology problems. 


I will make every effort to return quizzes and exams to you within one week, so you will generally have your graded exam returned in the lab session following the one in which the exam is given.


As described in the laboratory manual, there will be a single laboratory exam, given during the final exam period.  Some questions will be taken directly from the laboratory manual and some will be novel questions about the experimental methods or concepts of the laboratory.


Laboratory Cleanup:  You will be expected (required!) to clean up your work area after each laboratory exercise.





WEEK   DATE            TOPICS                                                                                        TEXT CHs           



8/21, 8/23

introduction; overview; physiological methods;

bioenergetics review



8/26, 8/28


chemical gradients; diffusion; flux; membrane permeability & transport

2, 3, 4



9/4, 9/6


electrochemical gradients; equilibrium & resting potentials






eurons; conductance & capacitance; equivalent circuits; APs

In Class Quiz I

gated conductances; excitability; the H-H model of APs






9/18, 9/20

membrane cable properties.; AP propagation

synaptic transmission, modulation, & integration



9/23, 9/25



catchup & review

Midterm Exam I (during lab period)

sensory systems






10/2, 10/4

simple circuits; invertebrate functional neuroanatomy

vertebrate functional neuroanatomy; clocks



10/7, 10/9


cell motility; muscle fiber excitation/contraction; muscle energetics

muscle mechanics; neuromuscular control


19, 20






In Class Quiz II

circulatory systems; cardiac structure & mechanics






10/23. 10/25

cardiovascular control; peripheral vascular control

physics of gas exchange; respiratory gas transport


21, 23


10/28, 10/30



catchup & review

Midterm Exam II (during lab period)

respiratory systems; pulmonary control



22, 23



11/6, 11/8

urinary systems; osmoregulation; pH & N regulation

renal anatomy, function, & control

26, 27




11/13, 11/15

digestive systems; digestive anatomy

digestive glands & control; nutrition & basal metabolism

5, 6



11/20, 11/22

In Class Quiz III

chemical messengers; endocrine & neuroendocrine systems









12/4, 12/6

reproductive systems; reproductive neuroendocrinology

sexual differentiation; metabolism & energy balance






12/9, 12/11


thermoregulation; physiological ecology

Reading Day

8, 9


12/16 Monday 8:30 AM  Class and Lab Final Exams





WEEK       DATES                            TOPIC                                                                           


August 22

Lab 1: Electrophysiological Instrumentation


August 29

Lab 2: Permeability of the RBC membrane

           Worksheet for Labs 1 & 2  due at start of lab

         3       September 5

Lab 3: Active Transport in the Frog Skin

            Worksheets for Lab 3 due at start of lab


September 12

Lab 4: CAPs in the Frog Sciatic Nerve

            Worksheet for Lab 4 due at start of lab


September 19

Discussion: Labs 1-4

                    Questions from Lab 1 due at start of lab


September 26

Midterm I


October 3

Lab 5: Sensory Coding by APs in the Cockroach Leg

           Worksheet for Lab 5 due at start of lab


October 10

Lab 6: Excitation and Contraction of Frog Muscle

           Worksheet for Lab 6 due at start of lab

Oct 11 (by 5 PM) 1 or 2 Data Sheets from Labs 2-4 Due*


October 17

Lab 7: Microvascular Circulation in the Frog Tongue

            Worksheet for Lab 7 due at start of lab


October 24

Discussion: Labs 5-7


October 31

Midterm II (Happy Halloween!)


November 7

Lab 8: Control of Heartbeat in the Frog

            Worksheet for Lab 8 due at start of lab


November 14

Lab 9:  Blood and Urinary Glucose in Humans

             Worksheet for Lab 9 due at start of lab

Nov 15 (by 5 PM) 1 or 2 Data Sheets from Labs 5-7 Due*
        14 November 21

Lab 10: Human Physiological Responses

              Worksheet for Lab 10 due at start of lab


November 28



December 5

Discussion Labs 8-10


Dec 11 (by 5 PM)

1 or 2 Data Sheets from Labs 8-10 Due*


12/16 Mon 8:30 AM

Lab Final following Class Final 


* You will turn in 5 Data Sheets – up to 2 sheets each from three sets of labs (2-4, 5-7, 8-10).  Lab 1 has no data sheet.  Data Sheets are due by 5:00 PM on Friday October 11, Friday November 15, and Wednesday December 11, as indicated.  There will be a 5 point grade reduction for each sheet turned in late. No written work will be accepted after 5:00 PM on Thursday December 12.