This course introduces students to the key elements of vertebrate biology by examining the origins and evolution of the group and looking in detail at the unique characteristics of each of the five main classes of vertebrates. The course adopts an integrated approach combining ecology, behaviour, physiology, and morphology to present a view of vertebrates as functioning systems. Adaptation to the environment is emphasised as is the diversity of body form and structure within each group. The economic significance of the various vertebrate groups is also examined in detail.