Course Description

Energy plays a fundamental role in all aspects of animal life. The basic principles of thermodynamics and cellular energy metabolism will be introduced and then the course will emphasize how these cellular processes affect whole animal physiology and behavioural performance.

Lectures are broadly divided into three main topics, all of which are interrelated:

  1. Obtaining energy: the cellular basis of energy transduction. Whole animal metabolic rate: basal, standard and field metabolic rates. Scaling factors. Energy balance.
  2. Using energy: mechanical and chemical work. Molecular motors and their role in intracellular transport. Muscle structure and function. Comparison of major muscle types and their adaptations for endurance, power and speed of contraction and relaxation. Energy and the neural control of muscle activity. Biomechanics of locomotion in swimming, running and flying animals.
  3. Heat: production and exchange. Thermoregulation. Life in the cold; hibernation in mammals and birds.


(BIO270H1, BIO271H1) / (PSL300H1, PSL301H1)

Recommended preparation

BCH210H1 / BCH242Y1


Prof. L. Buck
Dr. Abraham Yang

Course Administrator

Nalini Dominique-Guyah
RW 424E

Contact Hours


Required Text(s)/Readings

Hill, RW, Wyse, GA, Anderson, M. 2016. Animal physiology. 4th Edition. Sunderland (MA): Oxford University Press (formerly Sinauer Associates). 800 p.

ISBN: 978-1-60535-471-2 casebound Listed Price: *$168.95

*US dollars

Digital copy of Animal Physiology 4e available at (cost uncertain but much less than text): here


Additional readings will be made available as web notes if needed. Further information and materials are available to registered students on Portal.

Evaluation (Subject to change)

  1. Top Hat in-class quizzes answer on personal device (phone, tablet, laptop), one per lecture (10% of total marks)
  2. One midterm test (40% of total marks)
  3. Final examination (50% of total marks, 2h; consisting of multiple choice and short answer questions.

Last updated on June 22nd, 2022