Invertebrate identification BIOL5125

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Biodiversity One Health Vet Med
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will provide students with in depth hands-on evidence-based training in the identification of key vertebrate groups, using field guides and identification keys, as required for assessment of biodiversity.


Three hours of lecture, 8 hours of practical laboratories and 5 hours of field work, spread over the course of the Semester

Requirements of Entry

A second class Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Professional experience may be taken into account.

English language

If your first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level. See English Language Requirements

Excluded Courses



Key research skills (Semester 1)


Students will submit practical exercises to gauge their depth of understanding and engagement with the skills learned in each of the practical sessions. The work will be assessed not only on completion of the assigned tasks but on interpretation and self reflection of the theories learned (20%), as well as demonstrating proficiency in identification through in-class tests (40%). Students will integrate knowledge learned in the preparation of an independent and evidence based assignment that will involve quantifying biodiversity in a sample obtained from either an aquatic or the terrestrial sampling course, and evaluating which measures of diversity are most appropriate for the taxonomic groups identified, for the particular habitat type sampled, as well as assessing which trapping techniques learned during the sampling modules are most efficient both qualitatively and quantitatively (40%)

Course Aims

This course aims to provide students with in depth hands-on training to enable them to identify key vertebrate groups, using field guides, identification keys, and vocalizations, as required for assessment of biodiversity.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to take an evidence-based approach to:

■ Identify species from key invertebrate groups, to the lowest taxonomic level possible for that group

■ Use taxonomic keys and the principles behind them so that they can understand and implement the use of novel keys for groups that have not been studied directly in this course

■ Understand and calculate biodiversity based on a range of indices and choose those most relevant to the taxa under study

■ Consolidate the methodologies learned, in terms of an in-class laboratory test to evaluate their ability to use keys

■ Devise and deploy an independent research assignment aimed at comparing trap efficiency, both qualitatively and quantitatively, and comparing levels of biodiversity in different habitat types in terms of species richness and abundance, which will require integration of knowledge learned in the core course Measuring Biodiversity and Abundance in the autumn term

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits