Zoology is the study of living animals and their relationship with their environment. As the need for an understanding of complex biosystems increases, integration is required across all levels of biological organisation – from molecules to the biosphere – and the diversity of species – from single-celled to multicellular organisms. Modern Zoology naturally provides this integration, and our programme offers modules and choices that focus upon important themes of environmental and medical/veterinary biology.
With the key focus of zoology being the study of whole organisms, it is a course that touches on nearly all aspects of the biology programme including molecular, cellular, behavioural, parasitological, ecological and environmental aspects of animals. The central narrative to our programme is understanding the evolution and diversity of animals using a variety of approaches such as genetics, microscopy, experiments and field observations. The Zoology course is designed, not only to provide specific knowledge about key areas of animal biology, but also to encourage critical thinking and the development of numeracy and literacy, as well as the exploitation of sources of scientific data. This broad and transferable skill set provides a solid scientific framework from which to think creatively and explore the natural world and its interactions with human society. Throughout the course there is a strong emphasis on ‘hands-on’ aspects, with a high laboratory component, use of museum material and a choice of local and international field trips.
Zoology is the study of the form and function of animals in the broadest senses of those words. It considers the many roles of animals within the natural world. The Department believes in the principle of ‘research-led teaching’ and has a diverse array of active researchers addressing a wide range of Zoological questions, broadly separated into organismal biology and molecular/cellular biology. Our investigation and teaching of these subjects uses innovative techniques and methodologies such as immunology, stable isotopes, genetics, analytical chemistry, proteomics and numerical computation. In particular, our strengths lie in ecosystem ecology and biodiversity, evolution of behaviour, comparative anatomy and physiology and developmental biology.
Many graduates of Zoology are currently pursuing academic and research careers in Ireland and overseas – our network of research alumni can be found on every continent! Many others have been employed within the agriculture and fisheries sector (Teagasc, BIM and Inland Fisheries Ireland), the environment and wildlife services (EPA, National Parks and Wildlife Service, National Biodiversity Data Centre and various Local Authorities) and with international agencies (FAO, IUCN, WBCSD, etc.). Trinity Zoology graduates have furthermore taken up wildlife and environmental publishing, film-making and other careers in the media, software development, second and third-level teaching, medicine, veterinary, museum and tourism work, environmental lobbying with national and international NGOs, environmental and wildlife consultancy, fish farming and – yes – we even have graduates who work in zoos!
Students who wish to study Zoology apply to the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (TR060) and may select Zoology as their specialist area for the third and fourth years. In third and fourth year, the course highlights the major concerns of modern zoology in relation to environmental and medical biology, and introduces you to cell biological and other analytical techniques, fieldwork and computer-aided data handling and processing. Modules taken cover topics such as animal diversity, comparative physiology, ecology, marine biology (including a field trip) and terrestrial ecology (including a fieldtrip). In addition, there are a range of more specialised optional modules which may be selected in the areas of environmental or medical zoology such as genetics, behaviour, developmental biology, entomology and parasitology. A major component of the fourth year is an individual Capstone research project. In previous years such projects have looked at parasites in humans and animals, behaviour of badgers, deep sea fisheries and the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and the environment, to name but a few.
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