BIO2231 - Animal Diversity

General Unit Information

We share the planet with over 1 million described species of animals with many, many more awaiting discovery. The vast panorama of animal life, how animals function, live, reproduce, and interact with their environment, is exciting, fascinating, and awe inspiring. Members of the animal kingdom are among the most conspicuous living things in the world and as members of this kingdom, we have a special interest in its other members, especially those that are closely related to us. Zoology is the scientific study of animal life and builds on centuries of human inquiry into the animal world, its origins and relationships.

Animals are highly diverse. Why are there so many more species of animals than plants? It is this diversity that forms the subject matter of this subject.

We begin by asking the questions, What is an animal? and, How did they originate? We then start a journey of discovery by exploring the diversity of animal life and organising it in a systematic way using their evolutionary history and by examining and relating their structure with function

By the end of this journey you will be familiar with the major groups of animals, their similarities and differences, and the evolutionary pathways that resulted in the current numbers and variety of animal species. A real appreciation of animal diversity can only be achieved through first-hand experience in the laboratory. During your practical classes you will examine all the major groups of animals, starting with the most structurally simple and finishing with birds and mammals, many of which are seen live, swimming and feeding in the temperate marine touch-tank.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the origin of animals and how they differ from other living organisms
  2. Explain the relationship between animal diversity and evolutionary derived changes in animal body plans
  3. Identify major animal phyla
  4. Demonstrate skills in library and field research, data and information gathering, collation and organisation suitable for the preparation of a scientific report
  5. Demonstrate basic laboratory techniques associated with examining and handling zoological specimens

Specific Unit Information

Names Dr Matt McGee
Office Location 18 Innovation Walk - Rm G32B
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, Eisenhour, Larson & I'Anson - McGraw-Hill, 18th Edition, 2019.
Required Zoology Dissecting Kit: from University Bookshop
Program for 2023
University Handbook Entry BIO2231 - Synopsis, Assessment & Prerequisites
Schedule BIO2231 - Lecture & Laboratory Schedule for 2023
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