The UNSW Biology of Invertebrates (BIOS2031) course examines the diversity of invertebrate organisms. Throughout the course, you’ll focus on their evolution, morphology, behaviour and ecology. You’ll build an understanding of their functional biology in marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments. 

Many areas of science, from biological to environmental and medical, rely heavily on the fundamental knowledge of invertebrates. This is due to their high diversity, abundance and importance to the environment at to society.

During this course, you’ll also study the conservation of these animals and focus on the many ways in which these animals interact with our lives. From positive interactions (source of food) to negative (impacts on human health), you’ll develop an appreciation and enthusiasm for invertebrate groups.

Course breakdown

The course is presented as a series of lectures and practical sessions. They include opportunities to observe and examine living and preserved specimens.

You’ll cover the following topics:

  • Diversity, structure, feeding, reproduction and development in the major invertebrate groups.
  • The application of invertebrate biology to applied problems (conservation, pollution, invasive species and human health).
  • Biodiversity survey techniques.

The course includes a compulsory two-day field trip to examine invertebrates in their natural habits. You’ll sample marine and terrestrial environments and gain skills in biodiversity survey techniques and invertebrate identification.

Conditions for enrolment

Evolutionary and Functional Biology (BIOS1101) is a pre-requisite for this course. It will provide fundamental knowledge on the biology of invertebrate animals.

Career opportunities

Environmental careers are often multidisciplinary and can integrate into many fields such as physical, biological and information sciences. Professionals not only study the environment and human impact, but they also explore solutions like renewable energy, natural resource management and sustainable development.  

If you enjoy scientific reasoning and want to make an impact on the world, then a job in environment is the right path for you.

Relevant roles

  • Geologist 
  • Geophysicist 
  • Ecologist 
  • Environmental scientist
  • Natural resource manager 
  • Marine scientist 
  • Marine biologist
  • Environmental scientist 

What our graduates say

“The Biology of Invertebrates course is one of my absolute favourite courses! Not only does it cover the major invertebrate groups, it also teaches you how to comprehend and apply taxonomical concepts across other areas of biology, an essential transferable skill. The assessments are well structured: students learn how to work in a group to conduct an invertebrate Bioblitz in the field, and how to write an engaging popular science article demonstrating how invertebrate science can be applied to the real world. This lectures and labs are highly engaging, with many opportunities to get up close with invertebrate specimens and to learn from the experts directly.”

- Melissa Katon, Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours)    

Find out more

For more information, please contact Tracy Ainsworth.

E: tracy.ainsworth@unsw.edu.au