ESCI 426: Marine Invertebrates and Their Environment

I have taught this course at Shannon Point Marine Center since 2018. The course focuses on invertebrate ecology and diversity in local marine habitats, with a significant laboratory component devoted to species identification. For the past two years, we have undertaken class projects focused on different themes.

2019 class project

In 2019 we participated in a wider project to create a modern biodiversity inventory of marine invertebrates on the west coast of North America. This project is funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and is run by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. We collected and identified specimens, then sent tissue samples and voucher specimens to the Smithsonian for molecular barcoding and archiving. These records can be accessed at the BOLD Data Portal. The image below shows the phylogeny of the species we collected based on the COI barcode.


2020 class project

For 2020, the COVID pandemic kept us out of the lab, so we did a web-based trait database project. Students were assigned a species to research each week, and entered data on 24 different traits into a shared database. Students then used a web-based R Shiny app to query the data and develop research questions for a final research paper. A screenshot of the Shiny app is shown below.