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Vertebrate Biology I

Code: MA122     Acronym: BV_I

Classification Keyword
OFICIAL General and Aquatic Biology

Instance: 2018/2019 - 3T (of 11-02-2019 to 29-03-2019)

Active? Yes
Responsible unit: Aquatic Production
Course/CS Responsible: First Cycle Degree (BSc) in Aquatic Sciences

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
LCMA 32 Oficial Plan 2018 1 - 5 49 135

Teaching Staff - Responsibilities

Teacher Responsibility
António Manuel dos Santos Afonso

Teaching - Hours

Theoretical classes: 3,00
Laboratory Practice: 4,00
Type Teacher Classes Hour
Theoretical classes Totals 1 3,00
António Manuel dos Santos Afonso 1,71
Benjamin Costas Refojos 0,43
Gerhard Michael Weber 0,85
Laboratory Practice Totals 2 8,00
Benjamin Costas Refojos 0,57
Gerhard Michael Weber 2,85
António Manuel dos Santos Afonso 4,57

Teaching language



As the beginning of life and its evolution happened in the aquatic environment the Biology of Vertebrates I is a basic discipline for students of Aquatic Sciences. The aim of this discipline is to cover the maters related with life and its evolution. Vertebrate evolution, systematic, biology and morphology are the main concerns. After correlating geologic times with appearance, evolution and extinction of main animal groups in Earth, development biology and embryology are covered. The final part of the discipline is dedicated to the functional morphology aspects of vertebrates, including: motion, feeding, growth, based on the different systems as: Integument, Skeletal, muscular, respiratory, circulatory and digestive.

Learning outcomes and competences

Students who attended this course, stayed with skills in areas such as biological, evolution of living beings and their integration in the evolution of the Earth. Developmental biology, morphology and physiology of vertebrates, in particular with respect to the skeletal, muscular, digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems.

Working method



Pre-Cambrian and the first signs of life in the ocean. From the prokaryotes to eukaryotes. The appearance and evolution of animal life. The great extinctions. The evolution of chordates and the particular case of vertebrate phylogeny. Developmental biology and embryology of vertebrates (concepts of evolution and development; eggs, segmentation, gastrulation neural crest. The integument (development, microscopic structure, integumentary glands, scales and denticles color). Skeleton (notochord, cartilage, bone and joints; the sclerotome; the axial and appendicular skeleton; head and trunk skeleton) muscles and musculature (smooth and striated muscle; the myotome; epiaxial and hypoaxial musculature). Movement (aquatic, aerial and terrestrial movement adaptations). Corporal cavities (the original coelomic cavity and the serous membrane; the evolution from coelomic cavity to two and three cavities). Digestive system and related glands (development and general structure; oral cavity, teeth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, intestine; pancreas, liver and gallbladder). Respiratory system (aquatic and aerial ventilation; gills and lungs). Circulatory system (heart, blood formation, arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels; the cardiac and somatic circulation).

Mandatory literature

Webster Douglas; Comparative vertebrate morphology. ISBN: 0-12-740850-9
Hildebrand Milton; Analysis of vertebrate structure. ISBN: 0-471-29505-1
Kent George C.; Comparative anatomy of the vertebrates. ISBN: 0-8016-6237-0

Complementary Bibliography

Press, F. & Siever, R; Understanding Earth , 2001
Romer, A. S.; Comparative Anatomy , 1962
Bracegirdle, B. & Miles, P. H.; Chordate Structure , 1978
Hildebrand, M. and Goslow, Jr., G.E.; Analysis of Vertebrate Structure , 2001
Kardong, K. V.; Vertebrates: Comparative Anatomy, Function, Evolution , 2002

Teaching methods and learning activities

This course adopts the method of blocks of matter with lectures, with support of media, followed by practical classes in laboratory or field, one or two field works.

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation with final exam

Assessment Components

Designation Weight (%)
Exame 70,00
Participação presencial 10,00
Trabalho escrito 20,00
Total: 100,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

Designation Time (hours)
Apresentação/discussão de um trabalho científico 1,00
Estudo autónomo 40,00
Frequência das aulas 49,00
Trabalho de campo 10,00
Trabalho laboratorial 35,00
Total: 135,00

Eligibility for exams

Frequence is considered with at least 3/4 of practical lessons.

Calculation formula of final grade

Participation (10% of final); Presentation of a seminary (20% of final) and pactical and teoretical Examen (70% fo total).

Examinations or Special Assignments

Students are not required to do any other proof besides those already mentioned


Classification improvement

Improving classification is according to the general rules of the Institute



 Recommended Sites - http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evohome.html http://post.queensu.ca/~forsdyke/evolutio.htm#Introduction:%20Species%20Barriers.


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