INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Krushnamegh Kunte
Email: krushnamegh@ncbs.res.in

Phone: NCBS ext. 6085 (office), 6086 (lab), 9483-525-925

DESCRIPTION: This course, taught in fall semester in odd years, offers an introduction to the diversity, ecology, evolution and conservation of invertebrates. The focus is on aspects of invertebrate biology that provide a broad understanding of the concepts and theories in ecology and evolutionary biology. The hope is that this broad training will lead to greater interest and research on invertebrate biology and conservation in India.

OBJECTIVES: By the end of this course, students will have a good understanding of the following biological aspects, especially with respect to invertebrates:

  • The evolution, diversification and distribution of biodiversity
  • Evolution of life histories, body form, survival strategies, and mating systems
  • The role of invertebrates in ecosystem stability and functioning
  • Collection, preservation and curation of invertebrate samples
  • Conservation issues especially affecting preservation of biodiversity

STRUCTURE: This course will consist of classroom lectures and paper discussions. There will be 12 classes of 1½ hrs each. Each class will be broken in two parts. The first half will be discussion of assigned reading material(s) based on the previous class, and the second half will be lecture on a new topic. Lectures are expected to be interactive as far as possible.

ENROLMENT: This course is meant for the Masters students in NCBS but other students interested in invertebrate biology may enrol for credit or audit.

GRADING: Grades will be based on a term paper and the final written examination (short answer questions).


Lecture 1: Evolution and diversification of invertebrates

Lecture 2: Distribution and abundance of biodiversity

Lecture 3: Foraging ecology

Lecture 4: Co-evolution

Lecture 5: Allometry, segmentation, and the evolution of body form

Lecture 6: Survival strategies

Lecture 7: Evolution of invertebrate societies

Lecture 8: Life history evolution

Lecture 9: Mating systems

Lecture 10: Dispersal, Migration, and Metapopulation dynamics

Lecture 11: Sensory ecology

Lecture 12: Biodiversity and Conservation: Invertebrates in a changing world



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Bernays, EA and RF Chapman. 1994. Hostplant Selection By Phytophagous Insects. Springer.

Bignell, DE, Y. Roisin, L. Nathan. 2010. Biology of Termites: a Modern Synthesis. 2nd edition. Springer.

Boggs, CL, WB Watt and PR Ehrlich (eds). 2003. Butterflies: Ecology and Evolution Taking Flight. Univ of Chicago Press.

Chapman, RF.  (latest edition). The Insects: Structure and Function. Cambridge University Press.

Gilbert, LE and PH Raven (eds). 1975. Coevolution of Animals and Plants. University of Texas Press.

Hodkinson, TR and JAN Parnell (eds). 2007. Reconstructing the Tree of Life: Taxonomy and Systematics of Species Rich Taxa. CRC Press.

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Narendra, A. and M. Sunil Kumar. 2006. On A Trail With Ants. Published by authors in Bengaluru.

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India Biodiversity Portal: http://indiabiodiversity.org/

Indian Foundation for Butterflies’ Butterflies of India: http://ifoundbutterflies.org