This course is part of the programme
Bachelor's programme in Environment (first cycle)

Objectives and competences

The primary goal of this course is to understand the relation between environment and the functioning of the live organism. The aim is to show how life processes depend on the environment at different levels from immediate environment of a cell to the impact of environment on the whole organism. The goal is to train students for a holistic view and understanding of the connection between life processes in the context of homeostasis and different life conditions in different environments.


Students need to follow and understand topics of »Ecophysiology« basic knowledge on general biology, especially zoology. This knowledge is based on secondary-school understanding of living environment upgraded by studies in the first year of the University program. Important is the basic knowledge on chemistry and physics gained in secondary school.


h1. Basic principles of physiology
(a) Definition, aim and basic understanding of morphology and function relationship, adaptation, acclimatization, homeostasis, feed-back loops, conformity and regulation.
(b) Water, cell membranes, channels and transport

h1. Basic processes in physiology and environment
(a) Respiration and circulation
(b) Ionic and osmotic balance
(c) Feeding, digestion and metabolism
(d) Energy and environment

h1. Control mechanisms and environment
(a) Basic physiology of nerve cells
(b) Integration and transport of electrical signals between nerve cells.
(c) Sensing the environment
(d) Regulation by hormones
(e) Movement
(f) Behaviour

h1. The impact of different environments on life processes
(a) Sea
(b) Estuaries and shorelines
(c) Fresh water
(d) Special water habitats
(e) Terrestrial life
(f) Special terrestrial environments
(g) Parasite environment

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:
Students first get the knowledge on the basic principles of physiology and its connection within the frame of biology and other natural sciences. This enables them to gain a broader view on specificity of single processes and their mutual connection. By understanding of the role of water, structure and function of cell membranes and transport depends functioning of the basic life processes as maintaining the ionic and osmotic balance, circulation and respiration, providing of energy etc. All this knowledge is upgraded with understanding of the evolution of adaptation on the direct and indirect environment. At the basis of this knowledge they will understand processes at higher level including control and connection of these processes by the nervous and hormonal systems. Knowledge on the sensory system enables students to understand the contact of the live organism with the environment and changes within it. The intended outcome is the understanding of a living animal behaviour in connection with environment at the basis of synthesis of the knowledge on the function of processes that enable the organism to survive in specific environment. This knowledge will be used by students in the frame of different professions connected with environment and its protection in the broad sense of view.


  • Randall David, Warren Burggren, Kathlen French (2002). Eckert Animal Physiology: Mechanisms and Adaptations.. 5th Edition W.H. Freeman & Co. New York, ISBN-0-7167-3865-5 E-version
  • Pat Wilmer, Graham Stone, Ian Johnston (2000). Environmental Physiology of Animals. Blackwell Science, ISBN 0-032-03517-X Catalogue E-version
  • Edward E. Ruppert, Richard S. Fox, Robert D. Barnes (2004). Invertebrate Zoology: A functional Evolutionary Approach. 7th Edition. Thomson Books/Cole, United States. ISBN 0-03-025982-7. E-version
  • L. Taiz & E. Zeiger: Plant Physiology, Fifth edition (May 31, 2010), Eds Piccin Catalogue E-version
  • H. Lambers, F.S. Chapin III, T. L. Pons (2008) Plant Physiological Ecology. 2th Edition. Springer. ISBN: 978-0-387-78340-6 E-version


During the course each student prepares a public presentation of the seminary work on a certain topics of ecophysiology. The mark of the presentation and of the content of the seminary represents 20 % of the final mark. 80 % of the final mark is represented by the written exam. During the course the student may gain up to 20% of the final mark bonus points in the frame of the 4 optional (not obligatory) tests.

Lecturer's references

Assistant Prof. Dr. Tanja Peric holds a habilitation in Science of life at University of Nova Gorica.

PERIC Tanja, CORAZZIN Mirco, ROMANZIN Alberto, BOVOLENTA Stefano, PRANDI Alberto, MONTILLO Marta, COMIN Antonella. 2017. Cortisol and DHEA concentrations in the hair of dairy cows managed indoor or on pasture. Livestock science 202: 39-43

PERIC Tanja. Spodbuda k neposredni prodaji mesa na kmetijah: čezmejni projekt FARmEAT, od paše do obložene mize: ovrednotenje čezmejnih kmetijskih območij z razvojem sonaravne živinoreje. V: VOLARIČ, Zdenka (ur.), KLOPČIČ, Luka (ur.). Zbornik, 1. konferenca slovenskega kmetijstva in gozdarstva doma in po svetu, Ljubljana, 21.-22. oktober 2015. Ljubljana: Svetovni slovenski kongres: Gozdarski inštitut Slovenije, Založba Silva Slovenica. 2015.

COMIN Antonella, PRANDI Alberto, PERIC Tanja, CORAZZIN Mirco, DOVIER, Simonetta, BOVOLENTA Stefano. 2011. Hair cortisol levels in dairy cows from winter housing to summer highland grazing. Livestock science 138: 69-73