BIOLOGY 542/742


COURSE OBJECTIVES:  This course is designed to teach students about the life history and ecology of freshwater invertebrates. The lecture will stress these aspects while the lab will stress learning where these organisms live, how to collect, preserve and identify them. The lab will also stress the professional curation of aquatic invertebrates and to that end a collection will be required.

INSTRUCTOR: Guenter Schuster; Mem Sci 62, phone- 622-1016




I. Introduction

          A. Scope of the Course

          B. Groups to be covered

II. Phylogenetic Relationships

III. Overview of Freshwater Habitats


IV.      Life History, ecology and distribution of the following freshwater invertebrate groups


A. Phylum Porifera

          B. Phylum Cnidaria

                     1. Class Hydrozoa

                     2. Class Scyphozoa

          C. Phylum Platyhelminthes; Class Turbellaria

          D. Phylum Gastrotricha

          E. Phylum Rotifera

          F. Phylum Nematoda

          G. Phylum Nematomorpha; Phylum Nemertinea


H. Phylum Mollusca

        1. Gastropoda

                    2. Pelecypoda (Bivalvia)


I. Phylum Annelida

        1. Polychaeta

        2. Oligochaeta

        3. Hirudinea

        4. Branchiobdellida

          J. Phylum Bryozoa

          K. Phylum Tardigrada


           L. Phylum Arthropoda

                   1. Subphylum Chelicerata; Order Acarina

                   2. Subphylum Crustacea

                        a) Class Branchiopoda

                        b) Class Copepoda

                        c) Class Ostracoda

                        d) Class Malacostraca; Order Decapoda


                   3. Subphylum Myriapoda; Class Insecta (Aquatic Insects Only)

a) Ephemeroptera

b) Odonata

c) Plecoptera

d) Trichoptera

e) Hemiptera

f) Coleoptera

g) Diptera

                                    h) Misc. Minor Orders


BIOLOGY 542/742


DATE                                            EXERCISE


Aug. 20        Introduction, survey of the invertebrate phyla with freshwater species; overview of the Porifera and Cnidaria, Turbellaria, Gastrotricha, Rotifera, Nematoda and Nematomorpha; Techniques for the collection, preservation and identification of these animals. Collection, preservation and identification of common gastropod families and genera


Aug. 27       Gastropods continued


Sept. 3         Collection, preservation and identification of the families, common genera and species of freshwater bivalves


Sept.  6        Day Long Field Trip; Licking River & Red River


Sept. 10       Freshwater bivalves continued


Sept. 17       Freshwater bivalves continued


Sept. 19-21   Weekend Field Trip: Cumberland River & Green River


Sept.  25      Review


Oct. 1        First Practical Lab Exam



Oct. 8         First Written Test


Oct. 8         Collection, preservation and identification of the polychaets, oligochaets and branchiobdellids and genera of freshwater leeches


Oct. 10-13   Weekend Field Trip (Columbus Day Weekend); Mississippi River


Oct. 15       Collection, preservation and identification of the freshwater members of the following arthropod groups: Acarina, Branchiopoda, Ostracoda and Copepoda


Oct.    22      Collection, preservation and identification of the arthropod order Decapoda (crayfishes and freshwater shrimps)


Oct. 29       Decapoda (crayfishes and freshwater shrimps) continued


Nov. 5         Decapoda (crayfishes and freshwater shrimps) continued; Collection, preservation and identification of the common families of aquatic insects from the following orders: Ephemeroptera


Nov.   12      Orders Odonata, Plecoptera, Hemiptera


Nov. 19       Orders: Trichoptera, Coleoptera, Diptera and Miscellaneous Orders


Nov.   26      Thanksgiving Holiday


Dec.    3      Collections Due


Dec. 3       Final Lab Practical Exam


Dec. 10       Final Written Exam




                                                                FINAL TEST- Dec. 10

LAB EXAM SCHEDULE:                FIRST TEST- Oct. 1

                                                                FINAL TEST- Dec. 10



There will be two lab practicals and two lecture exams. In addition each student will be required to make a collection; undergraduates are to turn in 50 taxa and graduate students will turn in 75 taxa. Each exam will have equal weight; the collections will count for one exam; it will be due Dec. 3. Each student will also turn in a 5-7 page paper on the natural history of a selected taxon; it will be due Nov. 19. The paper will be worth one exam grade. All grades will be averaged, and final grades will be based on the 90-100=A, 80-89.5=B; 70-79.5=C, 60-69.5=D; below 60=F grade scale.

Field Trips:

There will be several field trips that all students are required to attend. These will provide be invaluable experience and should not be missed. They will also provide an opportunity for students to collect specimens for their collections, and see the organisms in their natural environment. They are scheduled for Sept. 5, Sept, 19-21, and Oct. 10-13. These trips will be combined with the Ichthyology class, and should be a lot of fun as well as memorable learning experiences.


Ecology and Classification of North American Freshwater Invertebrates, 2nd edition. 2001. J.H. Thorp and A.P. Covich (eds.), Academic Press.


More than 3 un-excused absences will result in automatic failure unless there are extenuating circumstances that are discussed with the instructor.




If you are registered with the Office of Services for Individuals with Disabilities, please make an appointment with the course instructor to discuss any academic accommodations you need. If you need academic accommodations and are not registered with the Office of Services for Individuals with Disabilities, please contact the Office directly either in person on the first floor of the Turley House or by telephone at (859) 622-1500. Upon individual request, this syllabus can be made available in alternative forms.