BIOL4406 Vertebrate Zoology

6 points
(see Timetable)

If this unit does not have an online alternative, then 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.

Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours option in Conservation Biology; Marine Science; Zoology [Bachelor of Science (Honours)]
This is an advanced-level unit reviewing the diversity, structure and functioning of vertebrates set in an evolutionary context. Particular attention is devoted to evolutionary history of the vertebrate groups. The major groups are then discussed in terms of their structure and function. This includes life history, physiology, osteology and soft anatomy. Assessment integrates the theoretical and practical components of the unit. The unit provides a level of experience to those students intending to progress to higher degree studies involving vertebrate zoology, and also those intending to seek employment in biological areas, both private and governmental.
Students are able to (1) understand the diversity of form of vertebrates; (2) understand the function of vertebrates; (3) understand the evolutionary links among the vertebrate groups; (4) understand the ecology of selected groups; (5) recognise vertebrate animals and assign them to class, sub-class and order in selected cases; (6) recognise and describe the distinguishing characteristics of each of these taxonomic levels; and (7) dissect a representative vertebrate from each class and recognise the major organ systems and their relationships and connections to the rest of the body.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) theory examination; (2) a vertebrate phylogeny report; and (3) an adaptation report. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Phil Withers
Unit rules
enrolment in the Master of Biological Science (72520) or the Bachelor of Science (Honours) (BH004)
Advisable prior study:
a major in Conservation Biology, Marine Science or Zoology or equivalent
Contact hours
6 days (1 day per fortnight). The total workload for the unit is 150 hours.

Hickman, R., Keen, E., Larson A. and L’Anson H. Integrated Principles of Zoology: McGrawHill 

Recommended Reading: Pough, F.H., C.M. Janis and J.B. heisler. Vertebrate Life: Pearson.

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  • 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.