Module OSX-4007:
Marine Invertebrates

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Lewis Le Vay

Overall aims and purpose

The module aims to provide an understanding of the biology, ecology and culture of a range of marine invertebrate species and the application of this knowledge in the culture of selected commercial species. These specific aims are:

1) To develop knowledge and understanding of the taxonomy of marine invertebrates.

2) To develop knowledge and understanding of the life cycle of selected species and groups.

3) To develop knowledge and understanding the principles controlling larval supply, recruitment and abundance of natural populations.

4) To understand the underlying biological characteristics of marine invertebrates that determine their suitability for culture.

5) To develop knowledge and understanding of culture techniques for a range of commercially important species and groups and principles of hatchery design.

Course content

The course will cover diversity of marine invertebrates, building on introductory material in previous modules. Biological and ecological aspects of the life cycle of selected species will be covered in detail, including reproductive biology, larval development, larval feeding and nutrition. Factors controlling larval supply and recruitment in natural populations will be considered. Current status of aquaculture for invertebrate species will be reviewed, moving on to biological criteria for selecting species of aquaculture and culture practices for a range of commercially important species. This will include all aspects of larval and growout culture for molluscan and crustacean shellfish from water quality management, live food production, broodstock selection and management, spawning induction, handling gametes and embryos, larval development and growth. Grow-out production systems from extensive to intensive will be covered.

Assessment Criteria


Rudimentary report containing the very basics of what was done, but missing detail and with only the simplest analysis. Design and layout of report acceptable.


Report sufficiently introduced and referenced and containing the important details of material and method, with tabulated and/or graphical presentation of data obtained and a concise but sufficient analysis of the data. Short but pertinent discussion with a few papers referred to. Design and layout of report reasonable


Outstanding report having a concise introduction covering all relevant aspects of the study and giving full references. Materials and methods fully and succinctly described, data well presented in tabular and/or graphical format, data fully analysed using the correct analytical methods for all data sets. Discussion focused, critical and concise, covering all aspects of the study, and fully referenced. Design and layout of report exceptional.

Learning outcomes

  1. On completion of the module students will be able to demonstrate:

    An overview of the diversity of marine invertebrates

  2. Understanding of the biology, life cycle and ecology of a range of marine invertebrates

  3. Understanding and knowledge of principles for selection of species of aquaculture and aquaculture practices for a range of commercially important species.

  4. Ability of handle and analyse data, and writing of an interpretive report in the context of primary research literature.

  5. Understand the principle components of a marine invertebrate hatchery and conceptual design principles.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Invertebrate Biology Essay 50
Invertebrate Culture Technical Report 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Lectures 30 Hours

Private study

Directed study: Each lecture topic will have associated reading material which will be book chapters, reviews and/or primary source papers. All students will be expected to read this material. In addition, a broader range of reading sources will be recommended to allow students to read more widely and explore topics of interest in more detail. All reading material will be made readily available either electronically via Blackboard or library on-line resources or in books held on reserve in the library.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting


Reading list


Grosberg, R. K. & Levitan, D. R. (1992) For adults only? Supply-side ecology and the history of larval biology. Trends Ecol. Evol., 7, 130-133.

Underwood, A. J. & Fairweather, P. G. (1989) Supply-side ecology and benthic marine assemblages. Trends Ecol. Evol., 4, 16-20.

Lewin, R. (1986) Supply-Side Ecology. Science, 234, 25-27.

Gaines, S. D., B. Gaylord, et al. (2007). Connecting Places The Ecological Consequences of Dispersal in the Sea. Oceanography 20(3): 90-99.

Transport mechanisms and supply

Roughgarden, J., Gaines, S. & Possingham, H. (1988) Recruitment dynamics in complex life cycles. Science N.Y., 241, 1460-1466.

Queiroga, H., Almeida, M. J., Alpuim, T., Flores, A. A. V., Francisco, S., Gonzalez-Gordillo, I., Miranda, A. I., Silva, I. & Paula, J. (2006) Tide and wind control of megalopal supply to estuarine crab populations on the Portuguese west coast. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 307, 21-36.

Todd, C. D. (1998) Larval supply and recruitment of benthic invertebrates: Do larvae always disperse as much as we believe? Hydrobiologia, 376, 1-21.

Jenkins, S. (2005) Larval habitat selection, not larval supply, determines settlement patterns and adult distribution in two chthamalid barnacles. Journal of Animal Ecology, 74, 893-904.


Pawlik, J. R. (1992) Chemical ecology of the settlement of benthic marine invertebrates. Oceanography And Marine Biology: An Annual Review. 30, 273-335.

Keough, M. J. & Downes, B. J. (1982) Recruitment of marine invertebrates: the role of active larval choices and early mortality. Oecologia, 54, 348-352.

Gosselin, L. A. & Qian, P. (1997) Juvenile mortality in benthic marine invertebrates. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 146, 265-282.

Jenkins SR, Marshall D Fraschetti S Settlement and recruitment In: Ecology of Hard Substrata Springer (Ed: Wahl, M) Verlag In press

Consequences of recruitment variation

Connolly, S. & Roughgarden, J. (1998) A latitudinal gradient in northeast Pacific intertidal community structure: Evidence for an oceanographically based synthesis of marine community theory. AMERICAN NATURALIST, 151, 311-326.

Jenkins SR, Murua J, Burrows MT, 2008 Temporal changes in the strength of density-dependent mortality and growth in intertidal barnacles Journal of Animal Ecology 77: 573–584

Lucas J.S. & P.C. Southgate (2003) Aquaculture – Farming aquatic animals & plants Oxford : Fishing News SH153.5 .A72 2003


Beaumont A.R. & K. Hoare (2003) Biotechnology and Genetics in Fisheries and Aquaculture. Oxford Blackwell Science QL638.99 .B42 2003

Davenport J. et al (2003) Aquaculture the ecological issues. Blackwell. SH135 .A59 2003

Goslin E.M (2003) Bivalve molluscs : biology, ecology and culture Oxford : Blackwell Science QL430.6 .G67

Pillay T.V.R. (2003) Aquaculture and the Environment 2nd Edition SH135 .P55 2003

Spencer B.E. (2002) Molluscan Shellfish farming Blackwell Science SH367.G7 S64 2002

Wickins J.F. & D.O. Lee (2001) Crustacean Farming 2nd edition Blackwell SH370 .W53 2002

Shumway S.E. (1991) Scallops : biology, ecology, and aquaculture Elsevier. SH372 .S28

Guillaume J (2001) Nutrition and feeding of fish and crustaceans Springer. SH156 .N8913

Stottrup J.G. & McEvoy L. (2003) Live feeds in marine aquaculture Blackwell SH156 .L56

Pillay, T. V. R (2005) Aquaculture : principles and practices. Blackwell. SH135 .P545

Conand C (ed) (2004) Advances in Sea Cucumber Aquaculture and management. FAO. SH399.T8 W67 (also available on WWW)

Phillips B. (2006) Lobsters : biology, management, aquaculture, and fisheries. Blackwell QL444.M33 L62

D'Abramo L.R. Conklin D.E. & Akiyama D.M. (1997) Crustacean nutrition . World Aquaculture Society SH370.C78

Lavens P. and Sorgeloos P. (1996) Manual on the Production and Use of Live Food for Aquaculture FAO Fisheries Technical Papers T361 295 pg (available on Blackboard and at

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: