cod. 12882

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - Second semester
- Paola Maria VALSECCHI
Academic discipline
Zoologia (BIO/05)
Discipline biologiche
Type of training activity
47 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Integrated course unit module: ANIMAL AND PLANT BIOLOGY

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding
Students will be able to acquire and develop the basic knowledge of evolutionary mechanisms. Knowledge of structures and functions in animals, 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.


Basic biology knowledge as required by rule of admittance test. Any debt (OFA) will be settled with a 2 h- class followed by an oral examination concerning the arguments explained.

Course unit content

The first part of the course 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 the basic principles of animal behaviour and ecology.

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.

Functional organization of animals.
Respiration and circulation.
Digestive system. Nervous system. Reproductive system. Sensory system. (These topics are explored from an evolutionary point of view).
Diversity of animal life.
Architectural pattern of an animal. Classification and phylogeny of animals. .
Protozoa, Porifera, Cnidarians, Platyhelminthes, Nematodes, Annelids
Mollusca. Arthropods. Chordates: Fishes. Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, Mammals.

Basic element of animal behaviour.
The study of animal behaviour and its applications in veterinary medicine.
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.


Zoologia di Casiraghi et al., UTET Università 2018
Attenti ai Cani – Paola Valsecchi –
Non dire gatto - Paola Valsecchi- Edizioni il Mulino
Students can find the pdf slides showed in class on the Elly platform. The slides should be used EXCLUSIVELY to keep track of the topics covered in class and DO NOT REPLACE the textbook

Teaching methods

The lectures take place illustrating general concepts that are detailed with examples of animal taxa of animal husbandry interest. The lectures are held using PowerPoint presentations that are made available to students on the ELLY site. Practical exercises include: video analysis of animal behavior.

Assessment methods and criteria

Written examination consisting of 14 multiple choice questions (1 point for each correct answer) and 2 open questions (maximum of 8points 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.
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 and in 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.