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Unit of study_

BIOL2021: Zoology

This unit of study provides an overview of the functional and phylogenetic diversity of invertebrate and vertebrate animals. The material is presented within the conceptual framework of evolution, the foundation of biology. Lectures explore the diversity of major functional systems and behaviour in the context of environmental challenges and the ecological roles of different animal groups. Laboratory classes include dissections and demonstrations of the functional anatomy of invertebrates and vertebrates, as well as experiments. This unit of study provides a suitable foundation for senior biology units of study.


Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Unit code BIOL2021
Unit name Zoology
Session, year
Semester 1, 2021
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

BIOL2921 or BIOL2011 or BIOL2911 or BIOL2012 or BIOL2912
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Mathew Crowther,
Lecturer(s) Ashley James W Ward ,
Murray Thomson,
Frank Seebacher,
Mathew Samuel Crowther,
Ros Suzanne Gloag,
Camilla Marie Whittington,
Nicholas Wu,
Administrative staff Zeinab Hazime
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam Online exam
Multiple choice questions and short answers
45% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO8 LO9
Small continuous assessment Laboratory book
Record of lab activities - marked throughout semester at 3 random times.
15% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO9 LO8 LO5 LO3 LO2
Small test Practical Exam
Multiple choice questions and short answers
20% Week 06 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Presentation Oral presentation
Oral presentation
20% Week 12 See canvas for details
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO9
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?
  • Laboratory book: Records of all activates during practical classes must be kept in a dedicated laboratory book (usually an A4 hardcover notebook). This includes drawings, records of data and analyses, graphs, and answers to questions. Laboratory books will be checked randomly during semester and marked. Remote students will submit online
  • Practical exam: The practical exam will consist of short answer questions on the material that had been examined in the practical class. Material that has been used in the practical classes will be
    presented to the student at stations within the laboratory, and the student supplies a short answer to the question. Remote students will do online version
  • Oral presentation: Students will prepare an oral presentation to be given to the whole class during week 12. The topics for the presentation can be any aspect of Zoology covered during practical classes. Remote students will present via zoom.
  • Theory exam: The theory exam will consist of multiple choice and short-answer questions that cover any aspect of the lecture and practical material. The exam will be online with ProctorU Record+.
  • Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction to paleohistory; 2. Porifera and Cnidaria Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO9
Week 02 1. Platyhelmintha and Annelida; 2. Mollusca Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO9
Cnidaria and Porifera Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO9
Week 03 1. Nematoda, Tardigrada and Arthropoda 2. More Arthroproda Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO9
Worms Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO9
Week 04 1. Echinodermata, Tunicata, Chordata and invertebrate conservation; 2. Fish Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO9
Mollusca Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO9
Week 05 1. Amphibia; 2. Reptilia Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO9
Arthroproda Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO9
Week 06 1. Birds; 2. Revision Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO9
Week 07 1. Mammals; 2. Muscle function and movement Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO9
Cricket locomotion Practical (3 hr) LO4 LO6 LO7 LO9
Week 08 1. Homeostasis: salt and water balance; 2. Thermoregulation Lecture (2 hr) LO4 LO9
Week 09 1. Cardiovascular dynamics; 2. Metabolism & temperature control Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO9
Chordata: evolution of vertebrates Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO6 LO9
Week 10 1. Simple behavioural responses reflexes and innate behaviour; 2. Learned behaviour Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO9
Osmoregulation & anatomy of the cane toad Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 11 1. Physiological basis of behaviour; 2. Ecology of animal behaviour Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO9
Decision making in cockroaches Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO9
Week 12 1. Nervous systems; 2. Sensory systems Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO9
Week 13 1. Endocrine systems; 2. Endocrinology and stress Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO9

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. appreciate evidence for evolution and phylogenetic relationships
  • LO2. recall the names of the major phyla and their major subdivisions
  • LO3. comment on the important evolutionary, ecological, and morphological features of each phylum
  • LO4. understand the major physiological and behavioural concepts and how these relate to animal diversity and function
  • LO5. use field guides and dichotomous keys in the identification of animals
  • LO6. apply practical skills, such as dissection, in the study of animals
  • LO7. apply information and computing skills to access appropriate databases and other resources to gather and assess information about animal biology
  • LO8. develop written and oral communication skills to disseminate knowledge relating to animal biology
  • LO9. participate in more advanced units of study involving animal biology.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service:


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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