School of Environmental & Natural Sciences
Module - Semester 2
Invertebrates were the first animals on the planet and formed the basis from which vertebrates eventually evolved. The first three lectures trace the evolution from the early beginnings of life until the formation of the first animals with a backbone. It will show that it took evolution three attempts to come up with a successful lineage of animals and it is still uncertain from which lineage of invertebrates vertebrates finally evolved.
The largest diversity of animals occurs on land. The most successful group of animals are the insects. They are also important in their interaction with their environment and with humans.
In the terrestrial environment (and marine with a few shrimps), invertebrates evolved a system of division of labour and reproduction that led to semisocial and eusocial insects and rodents. In the marine environment, a unique system of division of labour formed in colonial invertebrates, which does not have any equivalent on land.
Three practicals are associated with the module cover phylogeny and behaviour of invertebrates.
The last three practicals work with living animals. While it is essential do have highly presciptive practicals where a student is expected to learn methods and techniques, these are not sufficient to train the students as future scientists. The last three practicals make a first attempt to address this by focusing on observation and interaction with the study object.
The main lectures are
Introduction and Early Beginnings Explosions 1 and 2
Getting a Backbone
Transition to Land
Annelids, Polychaetes Oligochaetes Leeches
Organizing Animal Diversity 1 and 2
Importance of Insects Development 1 and 2 Life histories Parasitoids 1 and 2 Agricultural insects Medical Insects and Poison
Social insects 1 Social insects 2 Social insects 3
Chelicerates & Molluscs 1 Chelicerates & Molluscs 2 Chelicerates & Molluscs 3 Chelicerates & Molluscs 4 Chelicerates & Molluscs 5 Chelicerates: Spiders, Scorpions and Ticks: venoms and diseases Molluscs: water relationship, reproduction, molluscs and man
Jellies 1 and 2 Colonial Invertebrates
Four practicals are associated with the module cover phylogeny, physiology and behaviour of invertebrates.
Arthropod phylogenies Woodlice behaviour Habituation of diving response
This is a 20-credit module. It has 31 lectures, 3 three-hour practicals, one peer-review session, and 3 Questions and Answers sessions; a total of 44 contact hours.
Coursework accounts for 60 % of the final mark or 12 credits. Coursework consists of two lab reports of 1,250-words each, each 30 % of the mark or 6 credits covering 4 practicals. The first practical is assessed. Before students submit the first final lab report, they bring their lab report to a peer review session where under guidance the lab report is reviewed by a peer. The practicals are timetabled in such a way, that the student get feedback from their first lab report before the second one is due. For the second lab report, the students have a choice between two practicals they wish to write-up.
The first practical focusses on methodology, while the second and third practical focuses on behavioural, observational, and problem-solving skills.
The final exam accounts for 40 % of the final mark or 8 credits. The exam addresses both problem-solving recall but has a deliberate centre on recall. The exam is 50 MCQs out of a pool to be answered during 50 minutes plus PLSP allowances where applicable, meaning an extra exam is set up for any PLSP. The MCQs have mainly five options. The MCQs have only one correct answer unless stated otherwise. The order of the MCQ options is random.
The pool is made up out of 4 different MCQ banks corresponding to the four lecturers on the module. The questions are randomly drawn from the four question banks. The number of questions correspond to the number of lectures.
-threshold -(D) A threshold student should have a basic knowledge of the essential facts and key concepts relevant to invertebrate biology as presented in the module.
-good -(B) A good student should have a thorough factual knowledge across all aspects of the topics of invertebrate biology covered in the module.
-excellent -(A) A very good student should have a detailed and conceptual knowledge of the facts and concepts of invertebrate biology adequate for HE level 2.
- Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of processes of evolution, phylogeny, physiology and sociology of invertebrates. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge & 3.5 intellectual skills)
- Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the interaction of invertebrates with the environment. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge & 3.5 intellectual skills)
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of different facts and mechanism of invertebrate biology (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge & 3.5 intellectual skills)
- Develop an effective approach to exam revision by taking advantage of on-line test and writing practical reports. (Biosciences benchmark: 3.9 Self-management and professional development skills)
Practical Report 1 - Arthropod Phylogenies This practical will be assessed based on a short written report (max 1250 words + abstract, references and figure legends) that should relate your findings to the current state of our knowledge of Arthropod phylogeny. The report should be written in the format of a short paper and contain the following: Abstract: provide a 150 word abstract (does not contribute towards the word count). This should contain an introduction to the problem you are addressing, what you did, what you found, and how it relates to the literature. Note that it should be a summary of your entire report, not just the beginning or the end. Don’t go into details of methods or results. Introduction: briefly state current ideas on arthropod phylogenies, with references. This prac is about arthropod phylogenies – you are expected to research the topic as part of your write-up! This will be useful practice for your Honours project next year. Hint: Don’t put the cart before the horse by providing the conclusions from previous work in the introduction, just describe what current points of contention/alternative hypotheses are. Clearly state the aims of this piece of work at the end of your introduction. Methods: give very brief summary of methods (no need to describe characters in detail). A paragraph or two should be enough to summarise the methods. Results: the results section needs to be a piece of main text, with references to any tables, figures, etc. The results MUST contain the answers to the questions asked in this handout, with or without explicit reference to the question! Elaborate on your answers and justify them – e.g., don’t just present a number. Everything should be done digitally. MAKE SURE YOU ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS. Discussion: this should relate your findings to the current state of knowledge about the phylogeny of the major arthropod groups and some of the controversies therein – i.e., use references to the published research literature! Use Web of Knowledge to find major references. Consider how the data gathered in this practical support or oppose different hypotheses of arthropod relationships suggested in the literature. Evidence of good knowledge of the literature and wide reading (not just a couple of papers) are essential for a first class mark. References: make sure you reference any stated facts throughout. Any source cited in the text must be listed in the references and vice-versa. Refer to papers in the primary research literature, NOT popular science websites, blogs, magazines etc. Use proper Harvard citation format (Harvard) throughout – see examples below. Don’t provide URLs for journal papers! However, the DOI would be useful.
Practical Report 2 You should be writing the practical reports in the way of short scientific papers, here you should aim for 1,250 words + abstract, references, and figure legends. It should be laid out as follows: Abstract Introduction Materials and Method Results Discussion References Overall tips: Do not write in the first person (e.g., I observed…), instead write in the third person in the past tense (It was observed that….) Be clear and concise, waffle makes people marking lose interest. Abstract Provide a 150-word abstract (does not contribute towards the word count). This should contain an introduction to the problem you are addressing, the principal method you used, what you found, and how it relates to the literature. Introduction BRIEF and concise, introduce the subject and what you were trying to discover in the practical. Please do NOT write whole life histories, do not repeat the introduction of the practical hand-out. Materials and Method Do NOT repeat what is written in the practical hand-out; if you followed the instructions, directly say ‘methods as in practical hand-out’. If you have done variations, show it in diagrams (far easier than explaining in prose), and any changes to the method can be detailed too. Results You have access to your own data. Discussion Discuss the data you have, what does it mean, how is it different from what you expected? Do your results differ from what has been published on the subject? Did you alter what you were doing during the experiment to make it more effective? What would you do differently in future experiments – this all demonstrates an awareness of what you have been doing and how you have thought about it. Specifically for habituation (different instructions apply to the woodlice practical) What does the card response represent? Is there habituation toward the diving response? What does the drop response represent? Is there more than one drop response? Is there habituation toward the drop response? Are the card and drop response linked to each other? Are there any concrete factors or conditions that could have interfered with your habituation experiments. Are these responses likely specific for Aedes aegypti? More generally, for which kind of responses to stimuli would you expect habituation, for which would you not expect habituation? Compare your results to published work on larvae or pupae of other mosquito species. Don't assume that an interpretation of a behaviour is correct just because it has been published. Cite only papers that you have read. In your discussion also address the question whether prairie dogs habituate to noise pollution? (https://www.bangor.ac.uk/news/latest/what-prairie-dogs-tell-us-about-the-effects-of-noise-pollution-26903). Has this led to a peer-revied, original scientific publication, not a review or opinion paper or magazine article? If so, cite it. References Any books/papers/websites you use should be referenced correctly following the College guide to citing references strictly. Use Harvard style, not Vancouver. Do NOT number your references. Do NOT use links. Do not use doi’s. Do NOT use bullet points for references! Include in your discussion some references to papers published in the past 5 years that relate to the subject. This is to encourage you to begin searching for articles of relevance, also to think about how you would include information you have derived from a paper in your writing. Use Web of Science for literature retrieval, do NOT use googleScholar because it contains many predatory journals and garbage.
Exam (Centrally Scheduled)
End of Module Online Exam The final exam accounts for 40 % of the final mark or 8 credits. The exam addresses both problem-solving recall but has a deliberate centre on recall. The exam is 50 MCQs and association questions out of a pool to be answered during 50 minutes plus PLSP allowances where applicable, meaning an extra exam is set up for any PLSP. The MCQs have mainly five options. The MCQs have only one correct answer unless stated otherwise. The order of the MCQ options is random. MCQs are presented one at a time, and there is no backtracking. The pool is made up out of 4 different MCQ banks corresponding to the four lecturers on the module. The questions are randomly drawn from the four question banks. The number of questions correspond to the number of lectures.