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Code: 40873
ECTS: 9.0
Lecturers in charge: doc. dr. sc. Zoran Marčić - Lectures
Lecturers: Zoran Marčić - Seminar

Sven Horvatić - Practicum
Miloš Martinović - Practicum
Take exam: Studomat
English level:


All teaching activities will be held in Croatian. However, foreign students in mixed groups will have the opportunity to attend additional office hours with the lecturer and teaching assistants in English to help master the course materials. Additionally, the lecturer will refer foreign students to the corresponding literature in English, as well as give them the possibility of taking the associated exams in English.

1. komponenta

Lecture typeTotal
Lectures 45
Practicum 45
Seminar 15
* Load is given in academic hour (1 academic hour = 45 minutes)
Learning outcomes
1. Familiarisation with the history of researching the zoology of vertebrates
2. Analyse the organisation and characteristics of the fundamental groups of vertebrates, and their importance for humans
3. Explain the evolutionary connections and anatomical characteristics of individual groups of vertebrates, and analyse the adaptations to the conditions in which they live and the way in which they move
4. Use the appropriate literature for the determination of individual groups of vertebrates, in order to achieve a satisfactory level of independent taxon determination
5. Recognise and categorise the typical representatives of the Croatian vertebrate fauna into the corresponding systematic group
6. Recognise the endemic species of vertebrates in Croatia, explain their significance and discuss their causes of threat
7. Develop skills in dissection and observation of the anatomical similarities between individual vertebrate groups
8. Analyse the comparative anatomical characteristics of individual groups of vertebrates
9. Explain the links between the structures of vertebrate communities and the ecological properties of the environment

1. History of zoology, cladistics as a science, methods in systematics. Basic structure of the chordates. Importance, abundance and general trails such as anatomy, taxonomy and distribution of individual groups of vertebrates.
2. Origin and the theory of the development of the Chordates. Structure, systematics and biology of the Tunicates and Chordates.
3. Structure and biology of the Cyclostomata. The most important representatives of the Adriatic Sea and Croatian freshwaters.
4. General introduction to fish. Importance of fish and fisheries in Croatia and the world. Structure and biology of the Chondrichthyes.
5. Actinopterygii, function of anatomical systems. Systematic overview of the most important representatives of the ichthyofauna. Basic fish ecology. Basic properties of Croatia's ichthyofauna: freshwater fish, marine fish, commercial species, endangered species, systematic overview of the most important representatives of the ichthyofauna.
6. Groups Sarcopterygii and Dipnoi, basic characteristics and their position in the phylogeny of fish and the Tetrapods. Theory of the transition of vertebrates from water to land. Basics of locomotion in the vertebrates.
7. Fundamental characteristics of amphibians. Overview of all groups of amphibians. Recent amphibians, structure and traits. Adaptations of amphibians to various aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Mutual phylogenetic relations of extinct and recent groups.
8. How to recognise individual species of Croatia's amphibians: ecological properties, vocalisation, distribution and systematic overview.
9. Importance of reptiles. Systematics of reptiles. Extinct reptiles. Structure of individual groups and adaptations of reptiles to terrestrial habitats. Amniotes.
10. Familiarisation with the reptiles of Croatia: lizards, snakes and turtles as representatives of the Croatian fauna.
11. Birds, structure and function of adaptations to flight. Origin and phylogenetic relations of birds with other groups of vertebrates. Systematics and adaptive radiation.
12. Behaviour and migration. Orientation during migration. Characteristics of Croatia's ornithofauna. Orders in Croatia. Protected bird species: Croatian and global perspectives.
13. Phylogeny of the mammals. Present day mammals. Structure and general characteristics of mammals. Locomotion in individual groups of mammals.
14. Systematics and orders of mammals. Population dynamics, migration, diet and social structures.
15. Overview of the species and traits of mammals in Croatia's fauna. Domestication as the longest running experiment and an important process in human evolution.

Practical exercises:

1. Structure and general characteristics of the Tunicates and Chordates
2. Structure and general characteristics of the Agnatha. Determination of the Agnatha
3. Structure and general characteristics of the Chondrichthyes
4. Structure and general characteristics of the Actinopterygii
5. Determination of the Chondrichthyes and Actinopterygii
6. Structure and general characteristics of the amphibians
7. Structure and general characteristics of the reptiles
8. Structure and general characteristics of the reptiles
9. Determination of the amphibians and reptiles
10. Structure and general characteristics of the birds
11. Structure and general characteristics of the birds
12. Determination of the birds
13. Structure and general characteristics of the mammals
14. Structure and general characteristics of the mammals
15. Determination of the mammals

Seminar paper:

During the semester, students draft a seminar paper on a topic from vertebrate biology. The seminar is presented, and this is followed by discussion and mutual evaluation of the paper. The students submit the seminar paper in written form. Work on the seminar includes:

1. Selection of a relevant seminar topic.
2. Literature search, use of internet databases, accessing literature in the library
3. Analysing the available data, shaping the seminar paper in cooperation with the supervisor.
4. Writing the paper in proper form, with the correct use of citations.
5. Preparation for presentation of the seminar paper, use of specific tools for preparing a presentation.
6. Presenting the seminar paper to the professor and fellow students.
7. Discussion on the seminar, analysis of communication skills, assessment of student success in drafting the seminar paper.

Based on the students' preferences, the seminar paper may address specific areas that the lectures do not cover in detail. Some examples are:
1. Muscle properties in vertebrates
2. Circulatory system
3. Diversity and abundance of vertebrates
4. Individual anatomical characteristics
5. Bird vocalisations
6. Imprint as a specific form of learning in birds
7. Historical of the discovery of Crossopterygii
8. Differences, anatomical properties of flight in vertebrate groups
9. Protection of bats: the most endangered mammals
10. Darwin and the origin of the species in light of the archaeopteryx
11. Visit to the museums in Vienna or Budapest
12. Visit to the zoos and aquaria in Vienna or Budapest
13. Visit to the Veternica cave
  1. Pough, F. H., Janis, C. M., i Heiser, J. B. (2012): Vertebrate Life. 9th edition. Benjamin Cummings, 720 pp
  2. Young, J. Z., (1985): The Life of Vertebrates. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 645 pp
  3. Đulić, B., (1973): Zoologija vertebrata, Sveučilište u Zagrebu, 404 pp
  4. Ognev, S. I., Fink, N., (1956): Zoologija Kralješnjaka, Školska knjiga, Zagreb, 846 pp
  5. Kardong, K. (2011): Vertebrates: Comparative Anatomy, Function, Evolution. 6th edition. McGraw-Hill, 816 pp
  6. Kent, G.C., and Carr, R.K., (2000). Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates, 9th ed. McGraw Hill, Boston. 544 pp.
  7. Liem, K. F, Bemis, W. E., Walker, W. F, Jr. and Grande, L (2000): Functional Anatomy of the Vertebrates, 3rd edition. Brooks Cole Publishing, 784 pp
  8. Kardong, K. V. and Zalisko, E. J. (2014): Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy - A Laboratory Dissection Guide, McGraw-Hill, 7th Edition. 384 pp
Prerequisit for:
Enrollment :
Attended : Invertebrates
5. semester
Mandatory course - Mandatory studij - Biology
Consultations schedule: