EZO-30806 Functional Zoology


Studiepunten 6.00

Learning supported by IT4
Practical intensively supervised72
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. JL van Leeuwen
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. JL van Leeuwen
H Schipper
dr. SWS Gussekloo
dr. MJM Lankheet
prof. dr. MR Müller
RPM Pieters
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. JL van Leeuwen

Language of instruction:

Dutch or English

Assumed knowledge on:

Human and Animal Biology I/ II (EZO-10306 and HAP-20306), Vertebrate Structure and Function (EZO-31306), Mathematics 1 and 2 (MAT-14803+MAT-14903)


This course addresses basic skills required for research in functional zoology and related fields. The student is introduced to a range of important experimental techniques, such as (1) morphometry, (2) Röntgen analysis, (3) high-speed video analysis and kinematics, (4) flow and diffusion measurements, (5) signal analysis, (6) analysis of stresses and strains of muscle and connective tissue, and (7) measurement of work output by muscle fibres. In addition, a basic training is given in analytical and numerical modelling using the powerful engineering software package Matlab as a programming environment. Previous knowledge of Matlab is not required. The theoretical background is offered in the form of lectures, selected book chapters and articles. The laboratory work includes practical training in the various techniques and several mini-research projects. The topics that will be addressed include muscle structure and function, terrestrial locomotion, human locomotion, growth, shape, scaling and allometry, aquatic locomotion, biomaterials and structures, and ecomorphology. Each student delivers written reports of the results and gives an oral presentation.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to:
- understand the basic theoretical concepts and techniques used in current functional zoology;
- be able to select and apply a range of experimental techniques with appropriate practical skills;
- be able to execute a basic error analysis of measurements;
- be able to make a mechanistic analysis of animal movement systems;
- be able to program in Matlab, a state of the art software environment for numerical problems;
- be able to create analytical and numerical models of time-dependent movement systems in zoology and to judge their validity with experimental outcomes;
- be able to design and execute mini-research projects, including written and oral presentations.


- follow lectures and study the explained material;
- read chapters of the text books and scientific papers;
- practical training in a range of experimental techniques;practical training in programming and modelling in MatLab; carrying out of small research projects;oral and written presentations.


- performance in practical work, report writing and presentations;
- written examination.


- Study guide.
- R.McN. Alexander (2003). Principles of Animal Locomotion;

Keuze voor: MBIBiologyMScA: Animal Adaptation and Behavioural Biology4WD
MASAnimal SciencesMScF: Applied Zoology4WD