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Unit Overview


This unit will focus on the spectrum of animal diversity, from single celled organisms through to vertebrates. This diversity will be categorised systematically into the 35 phyla, and classes of the major phyla, the organisation of which reflects their evolutionary history. The evolution of animals will be illustrated using the classic study of the change in body structure (‘bauplans'), from simple to complex tissues, organs, segmentation, limbs and other body parts. This will be compared with evolution discerned by modern molecular sequence methods, and how the differences between these methods can be understood. Factors influencing the evolution of animal diversity will be explored, within and between phyla, in the context of coincidental changes in climate, geology, and ecology throughout evolutionary history. Theoretical concepts developed during lectures will be explored in laboratory classes. Representative species from major phyla and classes will be examined to understand body structure, and to demonstrate the characters used to categorise animals into phyla and classes.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Zoology; Wildlife Conservation; Environmental Science and Ecology; Biodiversity and Evolution major sequences

Students are able to (1) identify all animal phyla using anatomical characters; (2) identify classes, and sometimes orders, within major phyla using anatomical characters; (3) describe the body structure (‘bauplans') of various animal phyla; (4) explain evolutionary relationships of the animal phyla, including changes in bauplans; (5) relate anatomy and bauplans to physiology and ecology; (6) relate co-evolutionary changes in anatomy and bauplan between phyla; and (7) demonstrate basic laboratory techniques associated with examining and handling zoological specimens.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) theory tests, with MCQ and short answer questions; (2) wiki presentation ; and (3) laboratory work, including handling and dissection of specimens, identifying anatomy and diagnostic features. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Raphael Didham and Associate Professor Theodore Evans
Unit rules
Successful completion of
Unit(s) BIOL1131 Plant and Animal Biology (ID 1244)
Contact hours
lectures: 2 per week
labs/practical classes: 3 hours per week

Hickman, R., Keen, E., Larson A. and L’Anson H. Integrated Principles of Zoology: McGrawHill (any edition from 15th onwards)  

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.