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BIOL112 Animal Biology

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An introductory survey of the evolution and diversity of animal life. Essential biological principles are illustrated using examples from New Zealand fauna, issues of environmental, social or economic importance, and cutting-edge research developments at the University of Otago.

Animals live in a hostile world where they must survive in the face of adverse weather and the presence of predators, find resources for body growth and fuel for their activities, and mate and rear their young, passing on genes to future generations. In overcoming the challenges, animals have developed a diversity of body plans, physiological adaptations and life styles. This introductory course surveys the evolution and diversity of animal life. It explores the unifying relationships between form and function among animals from different environments and how animals interact with each other and with their environment. Essential biological principles are illustrated by examples from the New Zealand fauna. Issues of environmental, social or economic importance and cutting-edge research developments at the University of Otago will be discussed. This course is hands-on, with lecture material complemented by practical classes. This paper is normally a prerequisite for 200-level Zoology papers.

Paper title Animal Biology
Paper code BIOL112
Subject Biology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,092.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,004.75

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Recommended Preparation
CELS 191 and HUBS 191
Schedule C
Teaching staff

Academic Convener: Associate Professor Mike Paulin
Course Co-ordinator: Andrea Brown
Course Lecturers: Professor Phil Bishop, Andrea Brown, Professor Alison Cree, Dr Jenny Jandt, Dr Sheri Johnson, Associate Professor Mark Lokman, Associate Professor Mike Paulin, Professor Robert Poulin, Professor Liz Slooten, Dr Paul Szyszka

Paper Structure

This paper covers 7 modules:

  • Animal Diversity
  • Animal Evolution
  • Animal Physiology
  • Animal Sensory Systems
  • Hormones and Reproduction
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Animal Interactions
Teaching Arrangements

BIOL 112 is comprised of 37 lectures, 10 question and answer sessions, four 1-hour workshops and six 3-hour practical laboratories. Attendance at laboratories is compulsory.


Campbell, N. et al., Biology: A Global Approach (11th Edition) Pearson Education

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Appreciate and demonstrate the importance of thinking scientifically
  • Understand the diversity of the animal kingdom from evolutionary, functional and interactive perspectives
  • Describe the biological principles addressed in this paper as they relate to these specific perspectives
  • Identify the role of Zoological research in the discipline as it relates to the specific perspectives and biological processes discussed in this paper
  • Appreciate and demonstrate the practical skills required to work effectively and safely in a biological laboratory
  • Analyse issues logically, bearing in mind all viewpoints, and make informed decisions
  • Appreciate the links between disciplines
  • Develop awareness that current knowledge can be limited, uncertain and contested
  • Be aware of the ethical, cultural, social and economic contexts of native animals, introduced animals and harvesting of animals in New Zealand
  • Begin to develop intellectual independence and foster a commitment to lifelong learning
  • Appreciate the need to communicate information and arguments effectively using written and oral skills
  • Understand and demonstrate how to work as part of a team
  • Know how to access information about biological issues
  • Develop confidence and competency in the use of numeracy in everyday situations

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
Tuesday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
Friday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
P1 Monday 14:00-16:50 29-33, 36-37, 39-40
P2 Tuesday 14:00-16:50 29-33, 36-37, 39-40
P3 Wednesday 09:00-11:50 29-33, 36-37, 39-40
P4 Wednesday 14:00-16:50 29-33, 36-37, 39-40
P5 Wednesday 18:00-20:50 29-33, 36-37, 39-40
P6 Thursday 14:00-16:50 29-33, 36-37, 39-40
P7 Tuesday 18:00-20:50 29-33, 36-37, 39-40
P8 Thursday 18:00-20:50 29-33, 36-37, 39-40