cod. 16964

Academic year 2016/17
1° year of course - Second semester
Professor responsible for the course unit
BRACCHI Pier Giovanni
integrated course unit
12 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Course unit structured in the following modules:

Learning objectives

Animal Biology is taught as a module within the course of Animal and Plant Biology. The major learning objectives include knowledge and understanding of basic biology, genetics, taxonomy and the fundamentals of animal behaviour and ecology, with the aim to allow the student to use this knowledge for a better understanding of the morphology and function of invertebrates and vertebrates.
The course of Botany is part Teaching or Integrated Course of Animal and Plant Biology.
The course aims to provide students with general and specific knowledge of the molecular constitution of the plant cell, as well as to its organization into tissues and organs and functioning of the same. This knowledge will provide the student with the ability to understand the function of the plant in terms of ecology and as food for heterotrophic beings. The course will provide the student with the basic skills also to recognize and describe the different plant species of interest in agriculture and animal production and indicate the ways to use them for productive purposes.


Knowledge provided for the entrance examination Recovery of educational debt

Course unit content

The first part of the course of Animal Biology concerns basic principles of the origin of life on Earth and evolution theory, with special emphasis on the chemical and physical phenomena that led up to these events.
The second part of the course is dedicated to the taxonomy and classification of the major life groups.
The third part of the course deals with he basic principles of animal behaviour and ecology.
The first part of the course of Botany concerns the study of histology and anatomy of the plant, passing from the cellular organization to the level of tissue, organ and then the whole plant.
The second part of the course is characterized by the discussion of the physiology of plant organisms, including the study of the processes of absorption, transport and assimilation of nutrients, as well as the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration, with considerations on the physiology of stress and the production of secondary metabolites .
The third part of the course is devoted to the study of the classification of plants as well as the description of some herbaceous plant species of interest in agriculture and animal production.

Full programme

The origin of life on Earth.
The life: biological principles and science of zoology. The evolution of the cell. From molecules to the first cell.
The cell and continuity an of animal life.
From molecules to the first cell. From Procaryotes to Eucaryotes. From single cell to multicellular organism.
The evolution of life on Earth.
The history and development of evolutionary theory. The origin of species. The patterns of inheritance.
Diversity of animal life.
Architectural pattern of an animal. Classification and phylogeny of animals.
Co-evolution host-parasites. Adaptations to parasite life.
Molluscs. Arthropodes. Chordates: Fishes. Amphibia. Reptiles. Birds. Mammals.
Basic taxonomy. Invertebrate/Vertebrate structure and function of those species of primary veterinary medical interest.
Some principles of homeostasis. Internal fluids and respiration. Circulation. Excretion and thermoregulation.
Functional organization of animals.
Protection. Support and movement.
Overview of form an function of systems.
Digestive system. Nervous system. Reproductive system. Sensory system. (These topics are explored from an evolutionary point of view).
Animals and their environments.
Animal distribution and growth. Dynamics of ecosystems. Population ecology. Conservation biology.
Basic element of animal behaviour.
The study of animal behaviour and its applications in veterinary medicine.
Learning and instinct.
Reflexes. Modal action patterns. Associative learning. Classical conditioning. Instrumental conditioning.
Behavioural genetics, evolution and domestication.
Evolution of behaviour. The function of behaviour. Behavioural effects of domestication.
Social and reproductive behaviour.
Communication. Living in groups. Sexual interaction. Play Human and animal interactions.
Behavioural disturbances, stress and welfare.
Normal and abnormal behaviour. Stereotypies. Abnormal aggression. Stress. Assessing welfare. Behavioural indicators of welfare.
The history of animal behaviour studies.
The schools of the 20th century. Modern approaches to ethology. Applied ethology. Species-specific behaviour of some important domestic animals. (Images gallery. Video interview. Seminars. Population genetics test).
- Plant Cell
- Root
- The stem
- The leaf
- Plant tissue
- Life cycle of Angiosperms: flower, fertilization, embryo, seed, fruit
Plant Physiology
- The water in the soil
- Water absorption by the roots
- Transport of water through the xylem
- Movement of water from the leaf to the atmosphere

- Essential nutrients for plants
- Soil, roots and microbes
- Absorption of mineral elements of the soil
- Processes of membrane transport
- Transport of ions in the roots

- THE PHOTOSYNTHESIS: Reactions to light
- Organization photosynthetic apparatus
- Organization of antenna systems for light absorption
- Stages of photosynthesis
- Mechanisms of the electron transport
- Transport of protons and ATP synthesis in the chloroplast
- Synthesis of glucose

- THE PHOTOSYNTHESIS: Reactions of carbon
- The Calvin cycle
- The cycle C2 for the oxidation of carbon
- The cycle C4 carbon
- Starch and sucrose
- Control of the photosynthetic apparatus
- TRANSLOCATION in the phloem
- Routes of translocation
- Models of translocation: from its sources and sinks
- Substances translocated in the phloem and speed of movement
- The model of the pressure flow for the transport of the phloem
- Loading of the phloem
- Download the phloem (phloem unloading) and transition from "pit-source"
- Distribution of photosynthesis: the allocation and distribution
- The transport of signaling molecules

- Glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, electron transport and mitochondrial ATP synthesis
- Lipid Metabolism

- Assimilation of nitrate and ammonium
- Assimilation of sulfur
- Assimilation of phosphate
- Assimilation of cations
- Assimilation of oxygen

- Cutina, suberin and waxes
- Secondary metabolites: terpenes, phenolic compounds, nitrogen-containing compounds
- Induced plant defenses against insects and herbivores against pathogens

- Structure and synthesis of plant cell walls
- Models of cell expansion
- Speed of cell elongation
- Degradation of the wall and plant defenses

- Physiology STRESS
- Water stress, thermal and saline
- Lack of oxygen

- Classification, nomenclature and Study of Variability
- Taxonomy
- Characters with taxonomic value
- Cladogram
- Divisions of the plant kingdom
- Identification of vascular plants

- Classification of plants of agricultural interest

- Wheat
- Durum wheat
- Farro small, medium and big spelled spelled or spelled
- Barley
- Rye
- Oats
- Triticale
- Corn
- Sorghum
- Rice
- Millet and panic
- Buckwheat

- Soy
- Rape
- Sunflower
- Peanut
- Castor
- Safflower
- Sesame
- Sugar beet
- Tobacco
- Hemp
- Cotton
- Flax
- Kenaf


- Fodder legume

- Alfalfa
- Red Clover or violet
- White clover
- Berseem
- Persian clover
- Clover hybrid
- Crimson Clover
- Ginestrino
- Lupinella
- On the

- Forage grasses

- Grass mazzolina
- Tall fescue
- Timothy or Timothy
- Ryegrass
- Ryegrass
- Bromo cathartic
- Bromo helpless
- Fescue lawns
- Red fescue
- Festuca ovina
- Simultaneous between legumes and grasses
- Plants by erbaio
- Pastures


Cleveland P., Hickman JR. et al. Diversità animale. McGraw-Hill, 2012, Web site.
Cleveland P., Hickman JR. et al. Fondamenti di zoologia. McGraw-Hill, 2012, Web site.
Mainardi D. L'Etologia caso per caso. Airplane, 2002.
K. Lorenz - Scienziato e guru della natura - LE SCIENZE, 1999.
P. Jensen - ETOLOGIA DEGLI ANIMALI DOMESTICI - Ed. italiana a cura di P.G. Bracchi, F. Grasselli e G. Zannetti - McGraw-Hill Ed., 2010.
PUPILLO P., CERVONE F., CRESTI M., RASCIO N. - BIOLOGIA VEGETALE. Zanichelli Editore, Bologna, 2003.

Teaching methods

Lessons are taught with the help thematic videos and several video clips in graphic motion that allow a clear illustration of the construction of phylogenetic trees, showing evolution of the various animal species. Video graphics are also used to simulate statistical tests that utilize databases.
Lectures will be conducted through the aid of a POWER POINT support. It is planned to show presentations full of pictures, graphs and diagrams that enable maximum understanding and synthesis of the topics covered. The third part of the course will include practical exercises organized into groups aimed at generating knowledge in the correct observation, description and recognition of the main structures and plant species. During the exercises, plant samples of various types will be distributed to students and studied through dissection of the same.

Assessment methods and criteria

There is an oral examination at the end of the module that is aimed at verifying the success of each student in achieving the learning objectives. The three questions that make up the exam are chosen at random by the computer. Each question requires a rational and well-developed answer, and the need to connect the various principles and theories taught during the course. In this way it is possible to ascertain the degree of knowledge and understanding of all course objectives.
The assessment of the success of the planned course includes an oral examination. By means of specific questions, it will be determined whether the student has acquired general and particulars knowledge of the course contents, he gained the ability to understand the function of plants and has the basic skills to recognize and describe the plant species studied.
The evaluation will be performed throug to the formulation of three questions, one for each part of the course, each of which will be given a maximum score of 10. The third question will cover the features and procedures for the recognition of a plant species. A fourth question can be formulated to resolve any uncertainty regarding the evaluation.

Other information

Learning results.
At the end of the course, the student must be able to use acquired knowledge and show clear understanding of the following:
- the mechanisms involved in the evolution of life on Earth;
- genetic principles responsible for the variety of animal life;
- taxonomic basis for the classification of animal species;
- basic elements of animal behaviour and ecology, aimed at allowing the student to critically evaluate animal welfare and well-being.