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Unit of study_

BIOL2921: Zoology (Advanced)

Semester 1, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The content of BIOL2921 will be based on BIOL2021 but qualified students will participate in alternative components at a more advanced level. The content and nature of these components may vary from year to year.

Unit details and rules

Unit code BIOL2921
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
BIOL2021 or BIOL2011 or BIOL2911 or BIOL2012 or BIOL2912
Annual average mark of at least 70 in previous year
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Mathew Crowther,
Lecturer(s) Ros Gloag,
Camilla Whittington,
Frank Seebacher,
Ashley Ward,
Murray Thomson,
Nicholas Wu,
Mathew Crowther,
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 Online submitted laboratory book
Marked throughout semester, at 3 random times during the lab
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 LO9 LO8 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Scientific Report
Literature review or Research Report on specialised topic
20% Week 13 N/A
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?

Assessment summary

  • 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
  • Scientific report: Students will write either a literature review or do a scientific study and submit a short report on the topic.
  • 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.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

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.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity 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 integrity breaches seriously.  

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

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

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 LO5 LO6 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) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO9
Week 08 1. Homeostasis: salt and water balance; 2. Thermoregulation Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 09 1. Cardiovascular dynamics; 2. Metabolism & temperature control Lecture (2 hr)  
Chordata: evolution of vertebrates Practical (3 hr)  
Week 10 1. Simple behavioural responses reflexes and innate behaviour; 2. Learned behaviour Lecture (2 hr)  
Osmoregulation & anatomy of the cane toad Practical (3 hr)  
Week 11 1. Physiological basis of behaviour; 2. Ecology of animal behaviour Lecture (2 hr)  
Decision making in cockroaches Practical (3 hr)  
Week 12 1. Nervous systems; 2. Sensory systems Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 13 1. Endocrine systems; 2. Endocrinology and stress Lecture (2 hr)  

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

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

There have been no changes since 2009

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.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.