Physiology is the study of how organisms function, from the molecular level to the organisms' interaction with the surrounding environment. Thus, plant physiologists deal with topics such as photosynthesis and the role of plant hormones in the growth and germination of seeds, animal physiologists study, for example, the animals' nervous and circulatory systems, and microbial physiologists investigate bacterial cell metabolism under oxygen-rich and oxygen-free conditions.
At the Department of Biology, we study organisms of all levels of complexity, ranging from bacteria to animals and plants, and we are interested in understanding how organisms manage thriving in vastly different habitats on Earth. Some of our research questions address basic biological problems and some concern the evolution of the physiological processes. For example: How do cells conserve energy – or where does the energy come from? How do signals disseminate inside an organism? How does a snake digest its prey? And why does an organism work as it does? We are also working on understanding how organisms are affected by natural and human-induced environmental factors, such as changing oxygen concentrations, temperature changes, availability of nutrients, noise and/or the effect of toxic compounds.