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Principles of Animal Physiology, by Chris Moyes and Trish Schulte, is designed to provide second- and third-year, undergraduate university students enrolled in animal physiology courses with an approach that balances its presentation of comparative physiology with mechanistic topics.
The book delivers the fundamentals of animal physiology, while providing an integrative learning experience, drawing on ideas from chemistry, physics, mathematics, molecular biology and cell biology for its conceptual underpinnings.
Students are sometimes so focused on remembering the “facts” of physiology that they are unable to place these facts into a well-developed conceptual framework. To help students get past this difficult barrier, the authors have organised this book around several key themes and fundamental principles that are highlighted in each chapter throughout this book, and strove to present this material in an accessible fashion that engages student learning.
A Focus on Unifying Principles. In chapter 1, we introduce four unifying themes in animal physiology:
Every chapter revisits these key themes, providing a unifying thread that ties together our concept of animal physiology.
Orientation around Learning. To promote comprehension, each chapter begins with Learning Objectives that connect directly with the headings in the chapter and with the Review Questions at the end of the chapter. To assist with the integration of material across chapters, many chapters feature a new Looking Back section that identifies the critical background material found in earlier chapters.
An Emphasis on Animal Diversity and Evolution. We are strongly committed to the importance of teaching about the physiological diversity of animals, because we feel that this diversity is a fundamental property of the natural world. We also believe that books focusing only on humans can cause students to form the erroneous impression that physiological processes in humans are typical of those in all animals, and thus we provide diverse examples in their evolutionary context. As a result, we include extensive discussion of physiological processes in both vertebrates and invertebrates throughout the book and attempt to interweave evolutionary thinking into these discussions. Our new Chapter 2 discusses the major events in the evolution of animals, with a focus on the evolution of physiologically significant traits and how they contributed to the evolutionary diversification of the major animal groups.
Attention to the Integrative Nature of Animal Physiology. Throughout the book we emphasise the integrative nature of physiology in a number of ways. Each chapter begins with an opening essay that provides a short, engaging vignette that places the system under discussion into its environmental or evolutionary framework. Together, these features help to build student understanding of how physiological systems interrelate and depend on each other.
Integration of Physiology with Cell and Molecular Biology. We divided this book into three main sections. In Part One, we provide an overview of the basic principles of animal physiology, identifying the common themes in the discipline and emphasising the role of evolution in animal diversity.
In Part Two, we discuss the cellular basis of animal physiology. The goal of Part Two is to provide students with a general context for understanding animal physiology and to show how, at a cellular level, animals are both similar to and different from other organisms.
In Part Three of the book we discuss how cells and tissues interact to form the integrative physiological systems of animals. We consider each of the major physiological systems in turn, building on the twin themes of conservation and diversity to address the question: how do different animals use fundamentally similar building blocks to construct unique physiological systems to meet the challenges imposed by the environment?
Integrated Treatment of Endocrine Regulation. The treatment of endocrine systems is one unique element in the book’s organisation. Rather than relegating these systems to a single isolated chapter, we discuss endocrinology in the first part of the book in the context of the various means of cellular signaling and communication, and then integrate the presentation of its various physiological roles throughout the chapters in the second part of the book.