BIO2242 - Animal Structure & Function

General Unit Information

Animals are everywhere! From the wind-swept Antarctic where the temperature plummets to minus 50 degrees C, to the deepest, marine abyss which is in perpetual darkness. Animal life is also exceedingly diverse, and it exhibits an almost endless variety of structural and functional modifications. What  has  led  to  this  enormous  variety?  although  so  diverse  in  form, why is it that on closer examination there are many commonalities in functional anatomy, physiology and behaviour between animals? It is clear that, whatever the structure, evolutionary history or ecology of animals, all have certain  common  requirements  needed  to  achieve,  at  least  potentially,  their  own  individual survival and in the longer term, that of their genes.

Animals need to find and consume food containing energy and nutrients, whilst at the same time avoiding being consumed themselves. They require locomotory systems enabling them to find food, and escape from consumers and unfavourable surroundings. They need to exchange respiratory gases with their environment  and  carry  out  metabolic  processes.  Because  most  animals  differ in chemical composition compared to their environment, they need to regulate their internal composition, this includes removing metabolic waste products, monitoring how the internal and external environments are changing, and if  appropriate,  acted  on.  Most  importantly,  the  development  and  timing  of these different functional systems need coordinating in order for the individual to act as a unitary whole in its behaviour and physiology.

Finally, animals must adopt reproductive and life-cycle strategies that will maximise their genetic contribution to future generations. Why and how animals need to and go about solving these problems forms the basis of this unit.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the relationships between functional anatomy, physiology and behaviour of animals that allow them to survive and reproduce;
  2. Explain the function of major biological systems in animals and their adaptations to different environments;
  3. Contrast the varying life history strategies of animals;
  4. Identify morphological features of animals and relate these features to their function;
  5. Demonstrate skills in research, data and information gathering, collation and organisation suitable for the preparation of a scientific report.

Specific Unit Information

Names Assoc. Prof. Alistair Evans
Office Location 18 Innovation Walk - Rm 225
Office Hours By appointment - please e-mail
Technical Coordinator
Names: Dani Annese  
Office Location 25 Rainforest Walk - Rm 114  
Prescribed Integrated Principles of Zoology: Hickman, Keen, Larson & Eisenhour - McGraw-Hill, 18th Edition.
Required Zoology Dissecting Kit from University Bookshop
Program for 2022
University Handbook Entry BIO2242- Synopsis, Assessment & Prerequisites
Schedule BIO2242 - Lecture & Practical Schedule for 2022
Important Links
Science Faculty Information for Current Students
University Information for Students - Timetables, Exam, Semester Dates, more.....