BIOL113-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

Diversity of Life

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


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

  • Intended Learning Outcomes | Hua Akoranga and Associated Assessment | Aromatawai
    As a student in this course, I will develop 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)
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5)
  • 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)
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5
  • Recognise and explain the importance of various groups of organisms, including humans, in ecological communities (assessment task: Learn quizzes, test, final exam)
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP3 (K 1,3,7), GP5
  • Explain the relationship between form and function (assessment task: Learn quizzes, test, final exam)
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5
  • Identify and compare the different ways in which biodiversity is observed, studied and exploited (assessment task: laboratory tests, Learn quizzes, test, final exam)
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP3 (K 1,3,7), GP5
  • Demonstrate competence across the range of laboratory skills taught (assessment task: Skills Register in lab manual, Learn quizzes, test, final exam)
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2

    Transferable Skills / Pūkenga Ngaio
    As a student in this course, I will develop the following skills:
  • Using dissection and compound microscopes. This is a skill required in advanced courses in biological sciences.
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2
  • Documenting biological observations in the form of notes and scientific illustrations. This skill is essential in many fields of biology.
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2
  • Using liquid and solid culture techniques. This practical skill is important for advancing in microbiology.
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2
  • 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.
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5
  • Synthesising information. In everyday life and in many jobs you will be required to read information from different sources, construct your own understanding and shape your own viewpoint.
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5
  • 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.
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2
  • Examine, observe, question and test, via hands-on experience, a wide range of organisms in the laboratory  
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2

    Graduate Profile | Āhuatanga Taura
    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop these UC Graduate Attributes (GP) and Kaupapa (K) ( profile/students/what-are-the-graduate-attributes/):

  • GP1 Critically competent in a core academic discipline.
  • GP2 Employable, innovative and enterprising.
  • GP3 Biculturally competent and confident: K1 A process of self-reflection on the nature
    of ‘knowledge’ and ‘norms’ K3 Traditional and contemporary realities of Māori society e.g. tikanga and kawa, te reo Māori K7 Application of bicultural competence and confidence in a chosen discipline and career
  • GP5 Globally aware

Timetable Note

All lectures will be livestreamed and recorded for later viewing, so if you have a timetable clash it is not essential that you attend the lectures in person. Labs and assessments will require physical attendance.

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.
Ernest Rutherford, Chemistry Stores, 130A
Note: Covered shoes must be worn in the stores areas.

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

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Amy Osborne


Pieter Pelser , John Pirker and Heather Hendrickson

Lab Coordinators

Craig Galilee , Aynsley Macnab and Linda Gay Morris


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Final Exam (Module 3 test) 22%
Online lecture quizzes 10%
Pre-laboratory quizzes 24%
Module 1 test 25 Mar 2023 22%
Module 2 test 13 May 2023 22%

Textbooks / Resources

Your textbook is Biology 2e (Clark, Douglas and Choi), which is on online, freely available text.  You can view the textbook online, or download your own PDF copy, and you can access the textbook here:


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 $951.00

International fee $4,750.00

* 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

  • BIOL113-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023