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Sensory Biology BIOR20

15 cr

Students in lab. Photo.

Course description

The aim of the course

  • to give a thorough introduction to the senses, their function at all levels and their role in the behaviour, communication and interactions of animals
  • to give practical skills in the physiological and psychophysical methods used in sensory biology
  • to provide a basis for continued studies or professional work in zoology, physiology, ecology and medical science.

Topics dealt with

The course deals with vision and other types of photoreception, olfaction, taste, hearing, equilibrium, mechanoreception, pressure reception, electroreception, magnetoreception and senses for temperature and heat radiation. All senses are studied comparatively across the animal kingdom. A range of methods in physiology, ethology and human psychophysics are taught and used during the course. The course is divided into sections covering different levels of organisation:

  1. The molecular machinery of sensory receptors.
  2. The design and function of sensory organs.
  3. Neuroanatomy, neural processing and integration of sensory information.
  4. The role of sensory information in behaviour and in the adaptation of animals to their environment (sensory ecology).

Towards the end of the course, each student will carry out a major practical project specialised in one area of sensory biology. The project results will be discussed at a full-day symposium organised at a field station.

Teaching and examination

Teaching is given as lectures, tutorials, practicals and demonstrations. Written examinations will be held after each section of the course. Second opportunities for examination will be given soon after the ordinary opportunities. The grades are High Pass (80 per cent or more), Pass (60-79%) and Fail (less than 60 per cent).


Christina Ledje, study adviser, molecular biology

Telephone: +46 46 222 73 16
Email: molbiol_master [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Course coordinator

Eric Warrant

Link to external site: Lund University research portal