Comparative Animal Physiology

Physiological Ecology

Physiological capacities determine the ability of animals to live in any given habitat – fresh- or saltwater, land habitats, different climatic zones, and extreme environments. We are interested in assessing characteristics of animals living in extreme environments or under extreme conditions, the influence of parasites on the organism, invasive species and the adaptation to varying environmental conditions. The main parameters investigated are energy budget, thermoregulatory capacities and temperature tolerances, diurnal rhythms, food choice and nutritional aspects.

In the light of a rapidly changing environment, we focus on the physiology of invasive alien species in comparison to native species. We hypothesize that climate change will influence the distribution of established and invasive species. Physiology is a powerful tool to explain present observations and predict future scenarios.

Teaching - Comparative Animal Physiology

The science of physiology deals with animals’ functions that are essential to “keep the body running”. The knowledge of physiology is gaining rapid importance in the light of a changing environment, as physiological properties and capacities of animals determine their life histories and abiotic requirements.

Consequently, the chapters covered in my units are blood and circulation, respiration, energetics and thermoregulation, nutrition, excretory function etc. The approach is comparative, covering vertebrates and invertebrates. However, many aspects of human physiology serve as model examples to illustrate the basic functions of the organism. For further clearness, I provide demonstration material in the lectures and classes (models, real organs, videos etc.). I also support students in obtaining skills improving their performance in in exams and writing scientific theses and papers (tutorials in Chemistry, English and various computer programmes).

In my position as assistant of the Study Dean, am counselling students in their study organization.

PD Dr. Elke Schleucher