Biol 337: Biology of Invertebrates

College of Charleston

Spring 2013



"No one with an unbiased mind can study any living creature, however humble, without being

struck with enthusiasm at its marvelous structure and properties" -- Charles Darwin




How many different ways can you build an animal? Although animals all face the same basic problems—how to feed, move, defend themselves, exchange gases, eliminate wastes, reproduce, and so on—evolution has produced more than 30 different distinct body designs that offer somewhat different solutions. This course will introduce you to the larger phyla, to several smaller ones, and to many lower level taxa. The so-called “invertebrates” (found among all animal phyla) include by far a greater range of diversity in design than the "vertebrates" (which are just a part of one phylum). We will use invertebrate groups to illustrate the radically different ways that animals have evolved over the last 600 million years to solve the same problems using different structures and processes.



As a hard-working and engaged participant in this course, you will come to be able to:


Along with introducing you to the diversity and evolution of animal body plans, my goal is to encourage critical thinking through interactive lectures, readings from texts and primary literature, short writing assignments, laboratory exercises, and concept-centered examsI encourage you always to ask questions, to seek out information on your own, to take intellectual risks, and to make your best effort!   Your job is to learn to be skeptical, to ask questions, to seek information, to look for evidence for ideas, and to take intellectual risks—that is, to think like a biologist. I also hope you will teach and learn from one another, especially when studying course material and completing laboratory exercises.

Syllabus information

Downloadable files (username: biol337, pwd needed)

Score distributions on assignments/exams (Spring '14) (Spring '13) (Spring '12) (Spring '11) (Spring '10) (Spring '09) (Spring '08) (Spring '07) (Fall '06) (Spring '06) (Fall '05)

Class photos (Spring '12) (Spring '11) (Spring '07) (Spring '06)


CofC Biology home

Grice Marine Laboratory home
Please contact me (podolskyr'at' with comments or corrections and before using any material.