cod. 16964

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - Second semester
Professor responsible for the course unit
integrated course unit
12 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Course unit structured in the following modules:

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding: Students will be able to acquire and develop the basic knowledge of evolutionary mechanisms. Knowledge of the various systems and their functions, acquisition and recognition of the main vertebrate and invertebrate species through the use of specific system keys.
Applying knowledge and understanding: Students will be able to acquire and develop the basic knowledge of zoology and understand the connections and relationships between animal populations both in natural environments and in intensive breeding. They will acquire the ability to analyze biodiversity and to evaluate also global issues related to climate change, invasion of alien species, and exploitation of resources.
Making judgments: Course students acquire an autonomy of judgment in the evaluation and interpretation of experimental data and the setting of strategies for the application of the monitoring and protection technologies in both natural and captive environments.
Communication skills: Students will be able to expose the skills acquired with clarity and language skills using a useful bibliography to communicate specific knowledge.
Learning skills: Students will be able to find information from international zoological literature, using databases and other tools available on the net, to understand and transmit it. Acquiring these skills will enable them to upgrade their knowledge and to deal independently with subsequent levels of learning to be exploited also in the preparation of the final test.
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 organisms. 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 and understanding: Students will be able to acquire and develop the basic knowledge of plant biodiversity, considered as part of the global evolutionary process. Knowledge of cellular and tissue specific structures, acquisition and recognition of principal plant species through the use of specific systematic keys. Knowledge of the various organs and their functions.
Ability to Apply Knowledge and Understanding: Students will be able to acquire and develop basic botanical knowledge, in order to understand the structure-function relationship and its connection to both natural and agricultural environment. They also will acquire the ability to comprehend biodiversity, evaluating its concern related to climate change, invasion of alien species, and exploitation of resources.
Judging autonomy: students will acquire autonomy of judgment for the evaluation/ interpretation of experimental data, aimed at the setting of technological strategies for the exploitation and protection of plant species of interest.
Communicative Skills: students will improve their exposure clarity and language skills, using bibliographic tools to communicate specific knowledge.
Learning Skills: students will be able to expand acquired skills, through the access to bibliographic resources and other internet available tools, in order to understand and transmit it. Acquiring these skills will enable them to improve their knowledge and to independently reach upgraded levels of learning, to be exploited also in the preparation of the final test.


Knowledge provided for the entrance examination Recovery of educational debt.

Course unit content

The first part of the course of Zoology concerns basic principles of the origin of life on Earth and evolution theory. 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 life on Earth.
The history and development of evolutionary theory. The origin of species.
Diversity of animal life.
Architectural pattern of an animal. Homeostasis. Respiration and circulation.
Digestive system. Nervous system. (These topics are explored from an evolutionary point of view). Classification and phylogeny of animals. Basic taxonomy. Protozoa, Porifera, Cnidarians, Platyhelminthes, Nematode, Annelida Mollusca. Artropode. Cordate: Fishes. Amphibia. Reptiles. Birds. Mammals.

Basic element of animal behaviour.
Learning and instinct.
Classical conditioning. Instrumental conditioning.
Behavioural genetics, evolution and domestication.
Social and reproductive behaviour.
Communication. Human and animal interactions.
Stress and welfare. Normal and abnormal behaviour. Behavioural indicators of welfare.

- Plant Cell
- Root
- The stem
- The leaf
- Plant tissues
- the cell cycle
- Monocots and Dycots
- Life cycle of Angiosperms: flower, fertilization, embryogenesis, seed, fruit .
- Seed dormancy and germination.

- 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
-Symplast and apoplast

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

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

- THE PHOTOSYNTHESIS: dark reactions
- The Calvin cycle
- C3, C4 and CAM plants.
- Starch and sucrose
- Regulation of the photosynthetic machinery

- TRANSLOCATION in the phloem
- Routes of translocation
- Models of translocation: from sources to sinks
- Substances translocated in the phloem and speed of movement
- The model of the pressure flow for the transport of the phloem
- Loading and unloading of the phloem
- 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

- Cutin, suberin and waxes
- Secondary metabolites: terpenes, phenolic compounds, N-containing compounds, VOCs
- Induced plant defenses against insects and herbivores against pathogens
- Phytopathogenic fungi and mycotoxins.

-morphogenetic role
- tropisms

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

- Water, thermal and saline stress
- Lack of oxygen
- heavy metal stress

– lichens
– mycorrhizae,
- nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

- Classification
- Taxonomy
- the evolution of land plants
- Divisions of the plant kingdom
- Classification of plants of agricultural relevance

- Wheat
- Durum wheat
- Farro small, medium and big 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


- 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
- Ryegrass
- Bromo cathartic
- Bromo helpless
- Fescue lawns
- Red fescue
- Festuca ovina
- Association between legumes and grasses
- erbaio
- Pastures
- the domestication process
- some examples of genetically modified plants
- applications.


Casiraghi et al. – Zoologia – ed. UTET 2019
Valsecchi – Attenti ai cani – Ed. Il Mulino 2020

Mauseth - parte generale. Idelson&Gnocchi, 2006

Introduzione alla biologia vegetale.
McGraw-Hill, 2008

Rost, Barbour, Stocking, Murphy.
Biologia delle piante.
Trad. di Bertotti, Bevilacqua, rev. di A. Minelli
Zanichelli, 2008

Teaching methods

Lectures are aimed to illustrate the basic principles of animal and plant biology by providing a trace for personal study. The frontal lessons of Zoology will take place with the help of power point slides and videos to illustrate animal behavior.
Lectures of the Botany module will be conducted in presence and contextual transmission in teleconference on the authorized web platform, depending on the sanitary situation and following the current regulations. Lectures will be held through the support of POWER POINT presentations. It is planned to show presentations full of pictures, graphs and diagrams that enable maximum understanding and synthesis of the topics covered.
Study support material will be avilable on Elly

Assessment methods and criteria

Zoology: Written examination consisting of 20 multiple choice questions (1 point for each correct answer) and 2 open questions (maximum of 5 points per question for: clarity, synthesis, completeness, correctness, relevance). Aims: to verify the capacity of the student to tackle problems of zoology using the methodological principles and knowledge acquired during the course; to evaluate the student's ability to carry out cross-links between the various topics covered during the Course.

The assessment of the success of the planned course includes an oral interview. 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 through the evaluation of the exposition of an argument chosen by the student, followed by the formulation of 5/6 questions, covering each part of the course; questions will be posed in open form.
Students with specific learning disability diagnosis (DSA), certified under law n° 17/2010, will be granted the facilities provided by law.

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 and plant life;
- taxonomic basis for the classification of animal and plant species;
- basic elements of animal behaviour and ecology, aimed at allowing the student to critically evaluate animal welfare and well-being.