Zoology is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, from cells to populations and from neurones to behaviour.
- The Department aims to provide a broad multidisciplinary course in Zoology.
- To train students in a wide range of science-based skills that provide the learning base for future careers in disciplines such as health sciences, agriculture, environmental management, the emerging biotechnologies, publishing, teaching, research and management.
The courses are arranged in modules from which students select two in each of the first and second terms. Lecture modules in the Michaelmas and Lent Terms. The third term is kept free for reading and seminars, though there are a few non-examinable lectures on aspects of Human Biology.
Michaelmas Term Modules includes-
- Topics in Vertebrate Evolution
- Conservation Science:
- Population Biology:
- Neural Mechanisms of Behaviour:
- Cell assembly and interactions:
- From Genome to Proteome:
- Development: Patterning the Embryo
Lent Term Modules includes-
- Mammalian Evolution and Faunal History
- Applied Ecology
- Behavioural Ecology
- Genetics, Development and Animal Diversity:
- Development: Cell Differentiation and Organogenesis:
- Control of Cell Division and Genome Stability
These include lectures, supervisions, practical classes and a field course which takes place in In the Long Vacation between Part IB and Part II, where students engage in some other approved biological work or to carry out a laboratory project.
Assessment of this course is through five unseen written examinations two dissertations and critical review.
Successful completion of the third year leads to the award of a B.A. degree.
Topics in Vertebrate Evolution: The major features of evolution from fishes to birds are reviewed, using the evidence of both fossil and living forms. The functional significance of structural changes is explored, giving emphasis to controversial issues and problematical forms. Practical work is based on exquisite material from the Museum research collections.
Conservation Science: This interdepartmental course, taught with Plant Sciences, aims to provide an understanding of why wild nature is currently in decline, why this matters, and how biology coupled with disciplines such as economics, can be harnessed to identify potential solutions. Population Biology: This course aims to provide an integrated understanding of key issues in population biology, spanning population dynamics, population genetics, and evolutionary dynamics. The course aims to introduce analytical thinking in population biology and this involves applications of theory; we focus on real-world case studies and not mathematical details.
Neural Mechanisms of Behaviour: The aim of the course is to examine a central problem in animal biology, namely how does the nervous system process information about the environment, integrate the information with past experience, and then generate an appropriate behavioural response.
Behaviour: Individual variation is the raw material for evolution. This course examines the evolution of animal behaviour by focusing on how individual differences in behaviour arise.
Cell assembly and interactions: Is an interdepartmental course taught with PDN. Cells are highly organised and dynamic structures. The module explores how the architecture of the cell is constructed and how cells interact with each other and their environment.
From Genome to Proteome: This interdepartmental course, taught with Biochemistry, considers approaches used to study the control of gene expression in eukaryotes..
Development: Patterning the Embryo: Is an interdepartmental course taught with PDN. It is the first of two complementary modules (with Development: Cell differentiation and organogenesis) which can also be taken on their own. Our aim is to explore a fascinating biological question: how does a single cell, the fertilized egg, have all the information to make an animal?
Lent Term Modules
Mammalian Evolution and Faunal History: Mammalian Evolution and Faunal History considers the structure, function, mode of life, relationships, and basic systematics of mammals (and mammal like reptiles): the faunal history of Tertiary and Pleistocene mammals: and the nature of microevolutionary change.
Applied Ecology: With ever increasing pressure on finite resources the world faces very serious environmental problems. This brand new course is about what ecological science can do to help. Sometimes we must accept that undesirable changes will occur, but ecologists often have the knowledge to give advice on how to minimize the harm.
Behavioural Ecology: The aims of this course are to show how evolutionary theory can explain how life history patterns and behaviour vary, both between species and within a species, in relation to ecological conditions and social competition.
Genetics, Development and Animal Diversity: Genomes contain a rich record of the history of life on earth. This module will show how information contained in genome structure and gene sequences can be used to understand the processes of evolution, and to infer phylogenetic relationships.
Development: Cell Differentiation and Organogenesis: This is the second of two complementary interdepartmental modules in Developmental Biology, taught with PDN. This module will examine a second phase of development: cell differentiation and organogenesis. The two courses can be taken together or on their own.
Control of Cell Division and Genome Stability: The precise control of cell proliferation is crucial to the development and homeostasis of multi-cellular organisms. Cell division itself requires the coordination of many pathways that control not only the duplication and segregation of the genetic material, but also maintain cell size, shape and identity. This general theme, which is the subject of intensive current research, forms the backdrop to this course.