BIOL4406 Vertebrate Zoology

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2OnlineOnline
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)
the Bachelor of Science (Honours) (BH004)
Advisable prior study:
a major in Conservation Biology, Marine Science
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.

  • 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.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.