EZO-20306 Biology of Invertebrates and Lower Plants


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Field practical9
Excursion (one day)
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)dr. SWS Gussekloo
Lecturer(s)dr. AAM van Lammeren
prof. dr. ir. BPHJ Thomma
dr. SWS Gussekloo
N Taverne
dr. ir. MJ Ketelaar
Examiner(s)dr. SWS Gussekloo
dr. AAM van Lammeren

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Human and Animal Biology l and 2; Structure and Physiology of Plants; Growth, Development and Reproduction of Plants.

Continuation courses:

Vertebrate Structure and Function; Developmental Biology of Animals; Functional Zoology.


Note: This course has a maximum number of participants. The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual. See Academic Year.(http://www.wageningenur.nl/en/Education-Programmes/Current-Students/Agenda-Calendat-Adacemic-Year.htm) -> Registration for Courses.

How have lower plants and invertebrate animals adapted in structure, function and behaviour to survive and reproduce in a wide spectrum of biotic and abiotic conditions? Such questions are discussed on phylogenetic and ontogenetic time scales. This provides insight in biodiversity, evolutionary theory and the social and economic importance of invertebrates and lower plants. Following lectures, histological, dissection and IT-supported practicals, all questions are finally integrated in a fieldcourse where animals and plants are studied in their natural habitat of the intertidal zone (Wimereux, France). There we can explore the adaptations and constraints of plant and invertebrate life, and their interactions in a natural community.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the processes and mechanisms which shaped the organismal biological diversity: their adaptive radiation during the individual (ontogenetic) and the evolutionary (phylogenetic) development;
- master skills for your own research: observation, problem definition, analysis (including dissection), synthesis, discussion and reporting (orally and by writing and illustrating);
- recognize and understand the diversity of lower plants and animals, in relation to abiotic (exposure, substrate, water content, salinity, temperature, oxygen content, pH) and biotic factors (community with other plants and animals) in the environment where they face selective forces.


- lectures and practicals on the subject of invertebrate biology integrated with theoretical issues, and an interactive IT-supported practical programme on algae, fungi and lichens, including self-tests.
- during low-tide you will characterise (in biotic and physical sense) selected field locations.;
- observed species are studied by teams of two students and analysed for taxonomy, structure, function, life style and biological role;
- eventually, 'simple' experiments exploring adaptation of animals and plants are designed and performed.
All studies (biodiversity and experiments) are orally presented to the whole group, and written down in a report.


The final grade includes four components, each contributing 25%:
- written test with closed questions on the subject of functional morphology of invertebrates (computer based);
- written test with closed questions on the subject of general biology of invertebrates (e.g. evolution, adaptation, ecology, computer based);
- written test with closed questions on the subject of general biology of lower plants;
- performance during the field course. this grade is based on observation of laboratory/field performance (25%);
- oral and poster presentations (25%), and a portfolio (50%);
Formative assessments have to be done on an almost daily basis.


Hickman [et al.] Integrated Principles of Zoology.
Raven [et al.] Biology of plants (both used in previous courses)
Lagere Planten,
Veldpracticum Evertebraten en Lagere Planten
IT: CD-ROM Biology of lower and higher plants.
Additional: Lecture hand-outs and additional information on BlackBoard.

Compulsory for: BBIBiologyBSc6WD