Skip to main content

Introduction to Marine Invertebrates and Phylogenetics

Department: Computer Science and Engineering                      
Instructors: Sonja Huc & Kiirah Green
Instructors' Emails: & 
Prerequisites: smart device with a camera and a computer/device capable of downloading programs.
Schedule: TBD

Course Description

This course will explore marine invertebrate diversity, phylogenetics, and scientific writing. We will go over the major marine invertebrate groups, how to identify them, and what their major life history traits are. You will learn how to draw them scientifically (regardless of artistic talent!), and you will learn to use to identify invertebrates you see in the wild. We will also dive into phylogenetics, where you will learn how to independently execute a maximum likelihood phylogenetic tree analysis and interpret it. You will use your analysis, what we will go over in the marine invertebrate portion, and primary literature to craft your final project, which will be a short report in the format of a scientific paper.

Learning Outcomes

  1. By the end of this course you will be able to identify major groups of marine invertebrates from photos and videos.
  2. By the end of this course you will be able to independently execute a basic maximum likelihood phylogenetic bioinformatic analysis.
  3. By the end of this course you will be able to create quality scientific drawings regardless of artistic ability.
  4. By the end of this course you will be able to write a report on a phylogenetic analysis in the form of a short scientific paper.

Course Topics

  • Marine invertebrate biodiversity: sponges, cnidarians, mollusks, annelids, flat worms, bryozoans, brachiopods, crustaceans, echinoderms, and others
  • Tree thinking
  • The history of phylogenetics
  • Understanding DNA and its evolution
  • The parsimony principle, Maximum Likelihood
  • How to use RAxML for phylogenetic analyses
  • Applications of phylogenetics
  • How to write a scientific paper

*Courses vary by experience and exposure to content. Instructors have the ability to change content and pace to serve the needs of students. Courses have been modified for online teaching.