Marine Invertebrates of Cape Cod

WHOI/MIT Joint Program Class 7.435

Fall Semester 2005

Instructors: Stace Beaulieu and Lauren Mullineaux (Biology)
T.A.: Kelly Rakow (Biology)

Updated 9 Nov. 2005 by Stace Beaulieu (
Using Netscape 7.1
Course Description
This course is a hands-on introduction to the marine invertebrates inhabiting the waters of Cape Cod.  We will combine lectures, field collections, and laboratory observation to familiarize students with the diversity of invertebrates in the local region and explore selected aspects of their function, ecology, and evolution.  Field studies will include trips to marsh, estuarine, and rocky intertidal habitats and a cruise to subtidal environments.  Class meetings will be concentrated in September and October when the animals are plentiful, the water warm, and the weather good.  Students will present subjects orally in class, conduct a field or laboratory research project, and participate in a lab practicum .  Textbooks will be available in the reading room at Redfield and will be supplemented with guides to local fauna. SandwichBeachOct2005 

Class Calendar (see description of each class below)
Week no.
Tues. 9-10:30AM
Thurs. 9-10:30AM
6, 8 Sep.
L1: Pechenik Chap. 2,
L2: B&B Chap. 6, 8, 9
L1: phylogenetic systematics, Tree of Life, PhyloCode,
L2: Porifera, Cnidaria, Scyphozoa of Woods Hole, Ctenophora, Bryozoa
*14, 15 Sep.
Pechenik Chap. 13;
B&B Chap. 13: 387-394
Annelida, Annelid Resources Homepage
20, 22 Sep.
B&B Chap. 10, 11, 14
Platyhelminthes, Nematoda, Nemertea, Sipuncula, Echiura, Chaetognaths, Enteropneusts
*26, 29 Sep.
B&B Chap. 20
Bivalvesbivalves on Cape Cod, Cephalopoda, Gastropoda
4, 6 Oct.
B&B Chap. 15, 16, 19
ArthropodaThe Crustacean Society
11, 13 Oct.
*19, 20 Oct.
Pechenik Chap. 22
25, 27 Oct.
B&B Chap. 22
Echinodermata, echinoderms on Tree of Life
1, 3 Nov.
Lab practicum
Lab notebooks due

8 Nov.
Research papers due No class

Key: F = field trip, L = lab/lecture, P = students present a published paper, S = students present their own research
* Field trips will be scheduled on M or W
Classroom location:  Redfield 1-32

Field trip (F) classes are expected to take all morning (about 3hrs).  Lab/lecture (L) classes will involve 1/2-hr of hands-on observations, followed by a 1-hr lecture.  Two class sessions are set aside for 20-min student presentations of primary literature (P).  An additional two class sessions are set aside for 30-min student presentations of original research projects (S), and the final class session will be an end-of-semester lab practicum .  We will meet a total of 17 times over the ten weeks, but 4 of these class periods will be < 1 hr. 

Lectures (given by):
L1 (Mullineaux/Beaulieu): Introduction to invertebrate phyla, with hands-on sorting of a variety of habitat samples
L2 (Beaulieu): Porifera, Cnidaria, and Ctenophora (and, briefly, Bryozoa)
L3 (Mullineaux): WormsI-- Annelida
L4 (Beaulieu):  WormsII-- Platyhelminthes, Nematoda, Nemertea, Sipuncula, Echiura, Chaetognaths, and Enteropneusts
L5 (Mullineaux): Mollusca
L6 (Mullineaux): ArthropodsI
L7 (Mullineaux): ArthropodsII
L8 (Rakow): Urochordata
L9 (Beaulieu): Echinodermata

Field trips:
F1 : Walk on Woodneck Beach (marsh, beach, and rocky intertidal) low tide 14 Sep. 10:45AM
F2 : Barnstable Harbor at Scudders Lane (marsh) low tide 26 Sep. 1PM (leave WHOI at 11AM, return 4PM)
F3 : Afternoon cruise on R/V Gemma in Vineyard Sound

Plus optional field trips:
1) Snorkeling at WHOI pier (Mon 5 Sep. 10AM prior to L1 and **night** Wed 5 Oct. 6PM)
2) Provincetown low tide for sipuncs and nemerteans (Sun 18 Sep. prior to L4)
3) Evening snorkel at Sandwich Town Beach (Sun. 16 Oct. low tide just before sunset)
4) Join Regina Campbell-Malone's class field trip on 29 Oct.
Check tides.

Invertebrates collected during our optional field trips
Nudibranch Coryphella pellucida from WHOI Pier
Unidentified pycnogonid from WHOI Pier
Bryozoan (likely Electra pilosa) from Sandwich Beach

Other local excursions of interest to our class:
- Bourne Scallop Festival: 10AM - 9PM 23-24 Sept., 10AM - 7PM 25 Sept., Buzzards Bay Park, Main Street.
- Wellfleet Oysterfest: Fri-Sun 14-16 Octob., Main St., Wellfleet.
- WBNERR: open house Saturdays 1-4PM, open Mon-Fri 10AM - 4PM, Route 28, Waquoit.

30% Independent research project.  The project may be any original work involving a field or laboratory study of local inverebrate fauna (laboratory projects limited to whole organism studies such as behavior, feeding ecology, or physiology).  We prefer that students work together in pairs for these projects.  Example field studies would be: mark-recapture study of gastropods on rocks at Woodneck Beach, weekly survey of residents in delimited area on Iselin pier piling.  The oral presentation (S1 , S2 above) may include hands-on activities in addition to the typical AGU-type presentation format.  The written report will be in typical (but abbreviated) manuscript format: abstract, intro, methods, results, discussion, and references.  
20% Oral presentation (P1, P2 above) of a paper from the published literature that describes some aspect of the ecology or evolution of a local invertebrate species.  Here is an example: Cohen, A.L. et al. 2002. The effect of algal symbionts on the accuracy of Sr/Ca paleotemperatures from coral. Science 296: 331-333.  Other examples would be: papers on the biomedical relevance of local horseshoe crabs, fisheries research on clam or scallop populations, larval settlement of local fauna, bioluminescence or seasonal strategies of zooplankton in local waters.  This ~20-min presentation will be somewhat informal (show-and-tell), involving maybe a figure or two from the manuscript.
25% Class participation.  During each of the 3 field trips, one or a pair of students will act as "scribe," recording notes and a list of organisms/samples collected.  These notes will be submitted within a day or two for Beaulieu to prepare a webpage for each field trip, including the notes and any digital photos.  During each lab session, each student will be assigned a particular body system (for example the reproductive or circulatory system) to learn somewhat in-depth.
10% Notebook with observations from field trips and laboratory investigations of specimens.
15% End-of-semester, general lab practicum for identification of local organisms and their body systems.

Course readings reserve list (thru MBL Library)
Textbook, field guide, and lab manual:

Course reference: Brusca, R. and Brusca, G. 2003. Invertebrates, 2nd ed. Sinauer. (I purchased a used copy at
Handy for field trips: Beachcomber's Companion. 2005.
Course lab manual: Wallace, R.L. and Taylor, W.K. 2003. Invertebrate zoology: a laboratory manual, 6th ed. Prentice Hall.

Other references available in the Redfield Reading Room:
- Anderson, D.T., ed. 1998. Invertebrate Zoology. Melbourne: Oxford UP.
- Laverack and Dando. 1979. 2nd ed.
- Pechenik, J.A. 2005. Biology of the Invertebrates, 5th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
- Ruppert, E.E. and Barnes, R.D. 1994. Invertebrate Zoology, 6th ed. Fort Worth: Saunders.
Field guides:
- Abbott, R.T. and Morris, P.A. 1995. A Field Guide to Shells: Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and the West Indies, 4th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (From Falmouth Public Library)
- Giambarba, P. What is it? the Beach on Cape Cod and the Islands. Scrimshaw Press.
- Gosner, K.L. 1971. Guide to Identification of Marine and Estuarine Invertebrates: Cape Hatteras to the Bay of Fundy. New York: Wiley.
- Gosner, K.L. 1979. A Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
- Heuer, R.J. 1970. Exploring for Sea Shells on Martha's Vineyard. Felix Neck Wildlife Trust, Vineyard Haven. (From Falmouth Public Library)
- Martinez, A.J. 2003. Marine Life of the North Atlantic: Canada to New England, 3rd ed.. Camden: Down East Books.
- Meinkoth, N.A. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Seashore Creatures. New York: Knopf.
- **BEST FOR I.D.s** Pollock, L.W.  1998. A practical guide to the marine animals of the northeastern north America.  Rutgers UP, New Brunswick.
- Smith, R.I. 1964. Keys to Marine Invertebrates of the Woods Hole Region. Contribution No. 11, Systematics-Ecology Program, MBL.
- Smith and Johnson. 1996. 2nd ed.
- Walls, ed. 1982.
- **BEST FOR I.D.s** Weiss, H.M. 1995. Marine Animals of Southern New England and New York: Identification Keys to Common Nearshore and Shallow Water Macrofauna. Bulletin 115 of the State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut.
- Zinn, D.J. 1984. Marine Mollusks of Cape Cod. Natural History Series No. 2, Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. (From Falmouth Public Library)
Lab manuals:
- Abbott. 1987.
- Doris, E. 1993. Invertebrate Zoology. New York: Thames and Hudson. Produced in association with the Children's School of Science, Woods Hole. (From Falmouth Public Library)
- Freeman, W.H. and Bracegirdle, B.1971. An Atlas of Invertebrate Structure. London: Heinemann Educational Books.
- Hilgard, G.H., ed. 1987. Observing Marine Invertebrates: Drawings from the Laboratory. Stanford: Stanford UP.
- Niesen, T.M. 1982. The Marine Biology Coloring Book. New York: Barnes and Noble. (Seriously, this book has useful drawings.)
- Pierce and Maugel. 1987.
- Sherman and Sherman. 1976.

Interesting websites:
INCREDIBLE class website for invertebrates course at University of Alberta (includes animations)
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
Cape Cod National Seashore
Electronic Atlas of Cape Cod
MBL Marine Resource Center catalog with photos of local species
Unfinished keys to invertebrate species of the Woods Hole area
Massachusetts volunteer marsh monitoring program
New England Aquarium
Smithsonian Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Census of Marine Life OBIS

Click to go to Stace's homepage