An Introduction to the Diversity of Life


95% of animal life is invertebrates, and this course serves as an introduction to this amazing diversity of invertebrate life that lives in salt water and freshwater systems and on land.  The course is divided into three sections separated by two midterms and a final.  The first third of the course focuses on the origins of invertebrate diversity, key features that have arisen during invertebrate diversification, and a discussion of some of the earliest offshoots in invertebrate diversity, the sponges and cnidarians.  The second portion covers the origins of bilaterally symmetrical organisms, with a focus first on major features of bilaterians, major innovations in body cavities, focusing on flatworms, parasitic groups, and a major clade of Metazoans called the Spiralians which includes Annelids and Molluscs.  The third portion of the course is focused on two major clades; the Ecdyozoans, or molting organisms, and the Deuterostomes including echinoderms and chordates.  The Craniata a group of chordates, is introduced.

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