ANIM3320 Comparative Neurobiology

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Neuroscience major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Life and Health Sciences
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
This unit deals with the development and mature organisation of the nervous system in a wide range of animals. The unit examines the complex wiring of the brain and how this organisation relates to an animal's behaviour, ecology and environmental needs. As examples, the unit includes studies of deep-sea fish and those birds and mammals which span the aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Animals with highly specialised senses, such as owls, are also considered. The unit provides a unique perspective of neuroscience—students gain a non-human centric view of the central nervous system and acquire a better understanding and appreciation for brain variation and adaptation across the animal kingdom. The laboratory classes provide practical experience in the examination of the nervous system and instruction in methodology and experimental design.
Students are able to (1) understand neurobiological principles in a range of animal species; (2) learn to present, analyse and interpret original data collected in the laboratory in a scientific manuscript format; (3) gain insight into the peer-review process, learn to give peer reviews and modify their own work in response to peer review; and (4) explore presenting and analysing large and complex datasets in a report format.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) end-of-semester examination; (2) assignment assessing data analysis, research interpretation and writing skills; and (3) online quizzes. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Jennifer Rodger
Unit rules
any Level 2 unit in BIOL, PHYL, ANHB, ANIM, PSYC
Advisable prior study:
any Level 1 CHEM unit or WACE Chemistry or TEE Chemistry
Contact hours
lectures: 1 hour per week; labs: 3 hours per week for 7 weeks
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
This unit involves dissection of postmortem animal material under strict ethical guidelines

Bear, M. F. et al. Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain: Williams & Wilkins 1996

Foster, R. G. and Kreitzman, L. Rhythms of Life: the Biological Clocks that Control the Daily Lives of Every Living Thing: Profile Books Ltd 2005

Jacobson, M. Developmental Neurobiology: Plenum Press 1991

Purves, D. and Lichtman, J. Principles of Neural Development: Sinaeur Assoc. Inc. 1985

Sanes, D. H. et al. Development of the Nervous System: Academic Press 2000

Land, M. F. and Nilsson, D. E. Animal Eyes: Oxford Animal Biology Series 2006

  • 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. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. 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. Copies of textbooks and other readings will be made available for students to access from the Library, online wherever possible as well as in print.
  • If this unit is offered as on-campus face-to-face study only, students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.