Tropical Marine Invertebrates

Contact the Instructors
Professor John Finnerty

Professor Nathan L. Stewart

loading slideshow...

  • BUMP_PhotosForWeb_BI559.001

    Characterizing the benthic cover

    Paul Riley characterizes the benthic cover on the fore reef at Calabash Caye.

  • BUMP_PhotosForWeb_BI559.002

    An iconic coral

    A squirrelfish hovers in the shelter of an elkhorn coral at Calabash Caye.

  • BUMP_PhotosForWeb_BI559.003


    Anya Battaglino extracts DNA from mangrove sponges she collected in the lab at Calabash Caye Field Station.

  • BUMP_PhotosForWeb_BI559.004

    The joy of knowledge

    Kristin Yoshimura brushes up on her knowledge of coral biology during a break in the snorkeling at the Calabash Caye Field Station.

  • BUMP_PhotosForWeb_BI559.005

    Monitoring the urchins

    Sean Hacker-Tepper measures sea urchins living in the crevices of a lettuce coral colony on the reef at Calabash Caye.

  • BUMP_PhotosForWeb_BI559.006

    A Magnificent Feather Duster

    The tube worm Sabellastarte magnifica, living on a mangrove root in Turneffe Atoll.

  • BUMP_PhotosForWeb_BI559.007

    Exploring the conch fishery

    Rebecca Murillo takes shell measurements from conch at a fisherman's camp in Turneffe Atoll.

  • BUMP_PhotosForWeb_BI559.009

    Notes from the field

    Kristin Yoshimura and Sarah Zollner update their field notebooks.

Course Description: This course examines the diversity of marine animals. We focus on major evolutionary innovations that occurred during the 600 million year history of animals and contemporary ecological processes that shape coastal marine communities. Topics include major features of body plans (multicellularity, symmetry, paired appendages, etc.), reproductive strategies (sex, asexual propagation, regeneration, etc.), trophic strategies (infaunal filter feeders, pelagic predators, parasites), and the responses of marine animals to environmental challenges, both natural and anthropogenic.In the field portion of the course, students will travel to Calabash Caye Field Station on Turneffe Atoll in Belize where you will spend 12 days investigating the invertebrate diversity of reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves.Recent syllabus: MarineSemester_Syllabus_TropicalMarineInvertebrates_2014_Stewart

Example of student research projects: Grelotti, Parker, Spangler and Woehrle (2012) Mangrove sponge identification and abundance BI569_2012_Presentation_GrelottiEtAl_MangroveSponges

Additional costs: BU tuition does cover all housing and food costs while in Belize.  Students will be responsible for round trip airfare from Boston to Belize City.