Additional Participants

Technician, Programmer

James Lowry, Principle Research Scientist, Australian Museum

Research Experience for Undergraduates

Asya Zolotusky

Project Period

March 15, 2003-February 28, 2005

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



Invertebrates comprise 95% of all animal life on the Earth and dominate the world's oceans so some knowledge of their biology and ecology is fundamental to a student's understanding of the planet's ecosystems. Invertebrates are covered in many university-level courses ranging from traditional invertebrate zoology classes to those emphasizing general introductory biology, marine biology, oceanography, and biodiversity, to name a few. Invertebrates are represented by a dizzying array of body forms and morphological variations as well as complex feeding, locomotory, and other behaviors that are difficult to describe and illustrate. Virtually all textbooks represent invertebrates with line drawings and photographs in an encyclopedic manner that provide students with little or no sense of their position and/or behavior in natural habitats. No multimedia products are available on the market today that provide students with a means to observe most invertebrate groups, their respective body plans and behaviors. This project is developing a prototype interactive CD-ROM containing digital videotape sequences of selected living marine invertebrates with an emphasis on the body plans and locomotory and feeding behavior of two major groups. We are building on several years of experience in videotaping living invertebrates under both natural and simulated field conditions and have access to a multitude of marine habitats and state-of-the-art culture facilities for conducting the project. The prototype is being tested by visiting undergraduate students from 30 universities that use our teaching and research facilities. Additional testing of the prototype will occur at a national meeting of invertebrate zoologists.