BIOL113-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021

Diversity of Life

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 27 June 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 7 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 14 May 2021


An overview of the diversity, evolution, structure and function of animals, plants and microbes.

This course provides an overview of the vast diversity of life on Earth.

You will hear about the evolution, structure, function and importance of animals, plants and microbes.

The first module of the course focuses on the diversity, reproduction and structure of plants.

The second focuses on microorganisms whereas the third examines animals and includes discussion of animal diversity, respiration, circulation, excretion and water balance.

Hands-on investigation of a variety of organisms in laboratory classes is an important part of the course.

The course provides essential background material that all biologists need and is one of the three ‘core’ biology courses (BIOL111, BIOL112, BIOL113) required to obtain a BSc majoring in Biological Science. Whenever possible, we will highlight connections among topics taught in these and other biology courses.

Learning Outcomes

  • At the end of the course, students will have developed the ability to:
  • Describe the diagnostic characters of major groups of organisms and discuss their similarities and differences (assessment task: Learn quizzes, test, final exam)
  • Explain the evolutionary relationships between major groups of organisms and discuss the significance of key events in their evolutionary history (assessment task: Learn quizzes, test)
  • Recognise and explain the importance of various groups of organisms, including humans, in ecological communities (assessment task: Learn quizzes, test, final exam)
  • Explain the relationship between form and function (assessment task: Learn quizzes, test, final exam)
  • Identify and compare the different ways in which biodiversity is observed, studied and exploited (assessment task: laboratory tests, Learn quizzes, test, final exam)

    Transferable skills
  • Using dissecting and compound microscopes. This is a skill required in advanced courses in biological sciences.
  • Documenting biological observations in the form of notes and scientific illustrations. This skill is essential in many fields of biology.
  • Using liquid and solid culture techniques. This practical skill is important for advancing in microbiology.
  • Global awareness. Humans share the earth with an estimated 8.7 million other species. Being able to recognize the main groups in which they are classified enables making informed and environmentally responsible decisions.
  • Synthesising information. In everyday life and in many job situations you will be required to read information from different sources, construct your own understanding and shape your own viewpoint.
  • Evidence-based critical thinking. Being able to evaluate data, formulate and test hypotheses, and use scientific evidence in decision making is an important general skill.
  •   Examine, observe, question and test, via hands-on experience, a wide range of organisms in the      laboratory.

Timetable Note

It is compulsory to wear a lab coat and safety glasses in the laboratory.

To purchase approved safety glasses, lab or coats go to
The collection point for purchases is inside the southern entry to the Ernest Rutherford Building, Monday to Friday between the hours 8.30 – 10.00 am and 1.30 – 3.00 pm for the first two weeks of the semester.

Disposable gloves are available in the laboratory for those who might need them.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Amy Osborne


Pieter Pelser , Mitja Remus-Emsermann and John Pirker

Lab Technicians

Craig Galilee , Reijel Gardiner and Jan McKenzie


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Final Exam (Module 3 test) 22%
Online lecture quizzes 10%
Module 2 test 22%
Pre- laboratory quizzes 27 Mar 2021 24%
Module 1 test 15 May 2021 22%

Textbooks / Resources

Required text (available from the University Bookshop):
Biology: A Global Approach, 12th Global Edition
Neil A. Campbell, Lisa A. Urry, Michael L. Cain, Steven A.
Wasserman, Peter V. Minorsky and Jane B. Reece
This textbook is used for the three core biology courses (BIOL111,BIOL112, and BIOL113). Both hard-copy and electronic versions are available. Should you choose not to buy it, some copies are available in the Central Library.


If a laboratory is missed, arrangements should be made to attend another lab stream later in the week after informing the lab coordinator. Due to logistic constraints, it is not possible to make up for a missed lab in the following weeks.

If an assessment (see above) is missed due to illness, injury, personal bereavement or other critical personal circumstances, or if you consider that you have been impaired, you should apply for aegrotat consideration for this assessment.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $910.00

International fee $4,438.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Biological Sciences .

All BIOL113 Occurrences

  • BIOL113-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021