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.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 1 (30)
Online *
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.



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.

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of ASC311 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Critical review of a scientific article
Scientific poster
Practical report
End of session exam - open book

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: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.