BIO203 Animal Diversity (8)

This subject focuses on the classification and identification of invertebrates and vertebrates. The emphasis is on the major groups in Australian fauna, their evolutionary relationships, and the use of keys for identifying them. The subject provides a good, solid grounding in what types of animals exist, how they are distinguished from other animals, and what their form and functions are. The subject also gives students a solid foundation in how animal anatomy, physiology, morphology, and behaviour are related to the environments in which these animals live through laboratory work or residential school. On completion students will have skills in the collection, identification, and description of animals and be able to apply these skills to interpret and communicate the finding of a fauna survey or collection within an ecological and management context.


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

Session 1 (30)
Online *
Albury-Wodonga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: BIO203. 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 Environmental Sciences

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • have a comprehensive understanding of the key features of major animal groups worldwide
  • be able to critically apply evolutionary theory to identify the relationships among different animals groups
  • have specialised skills in the classification and taxomony of animals including the ability to use dichotomous keys
  • have specialised skills in the collection, preservation, storage and description of reference collections
  • have the ability to interpret and communicate the finding of a fauna survey, collection, and list clearly and coherently these findings within an ecological and management context


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Biogeography of major terrestrial and aquatic animal groups in Australia
  • Evolutionary relationships of world fauna in general, Australian fauna in particular
  • Overview of characteristics of the major vertebrate and invertebrate groups including morphology, physiology, reproduction, respiration, digestion and excretion and behaviour.
  • Classification and identification of mainly Australian terrestrial and aquatic fauna using keys
  • Collection, preservation, storage and presentation techniques

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of BIO203 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 %
Arthropod collection
Practical test
End of session open-book online exam

Residential School

This subject contains a 3 day Compulsory Residential School.

In this subject students gain a comprehensive understanding of classification and identification of the invertebrates and vertebrates. Ten practical exercises, including dissection, identification and diversity work.are undertaken with a diversity of animal species and a range of specialist equipment. This enables a critical understanding of animal anatomy, how animals function, and the use of identification techniques such as dichotomous keys.

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.