ASC311 Comparative Animal Anatomy and Physiology (8)

This subject involves the study of the anatomy and physiology of a wide range of vertebrate species. An integrated approach is taken to explore the functional (and otherwise) anatomical and physiological similarities and differences between species including evolutionary, environmental and current societal perspectives. Central themes focus on homeostasis and the linkages between the environment and the context in which animals live. Physiological and anatomical adaptations of animals to their environment will be covered from both a systems (e.g. cardiovascular) and environmental (e.g. marine) perspective.


Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: ASC311. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Animal Science (Honours) Integrated Honours. Any other students with their Course Director permission and the Subject Coordinator's permission.



Subject Relationships

ASC111 ASC311 replaces ASC111 which will become obsolete

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to distinguish and consider the physiological mechanisms underlying animal physiology;
  • be able to identify and evaluate the anatomical adaptations of animals enabling them to survive in different environments;
  • be able to evaluate and predict how physiological mechanisms to maintain homeostasis may vary or differ in animals living in different environments;
  • be able to provide a justified evaluation of how specific adaptations in form (anatomy) or function (physiology) allow particular animals to survive in different environments;
  • be able to identify, assess and predict how animals may cope and adapt to changing environments/environmental extremes; and
  • be able to plan and conduct basic physiological research and communicate the findings effectively in a range of communication modes, for a variety of audiences, using the specialised language of anatomy and physiology appropriately.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The vertebrate story and biological design;
  • Integumentary system - hair, feathers, skin and other specialised tissue;
  • Special senses and sensory organs - including sight, hearing, smell and communication;
  • Locomotion - in air, water and on land;
  • Food acquisition and digestion;
  • Energetics;
  • Behavioural endocrinology;
  • Osmoregulation - in terrestrial, freshwater, marine and extreme environments;
  • Thermal biology;
  • Heart and cardiovascular system;
  • Respiratory systems - in the air and water; and
  • Mimicry and camouflage - how and why?
  • Coping with environmental change.

Residential School

This subject contains a 3 day Compulsory Residential School.

The purpose of the residential school is to allow online students to undertake the practical classes relating to animal anatomy dissections and pro-sections and to undertake physiological exercises in the laboratory.

Special Resources

Online students will be required to travel to Wagga campus for a compulsory Residential School, which may involve travel and accommodation expenses. Students will also require laboratory coats for practical sessions.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: July 2020. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.