Open Marine Course: Functional Morphology and Evolutionary Biology of Marine Invertebrates



Course duration

7 days: Aug 6th (Tue) 15:00 – Aug 12th (Mon) noon, 2024

Meeting place

Teaching laboratory 1, Seto Marine Biological Laboratory, Field Science Education and Research Center, Kyoto University

Eligibility for participation

International undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in universities in Japan


SHIMOMURA, Michitaka (Professor / SMBL Director)
NAKANO, Tomoyuki (Associate Professor)
KAWAMURA, Mariko (Program-Specific Junior Associate Professor)
GOTO, Ryutaro (Assistant Professor)
YAMAMORI, Luna (Assistant Professor)


Corresponding to 2 credits
*We issue a certificate of course completion although we do NOT approve these credits.

Accommodation and meal fees

About 18,000 yen for 7 days

What to bring

Notebook, pencil for drawing (hardness B or HB or F), long-sleeved jacket and long pants (for field activity), hat or cap, towel, gloves

What to bring if you have: laptop PC, rubber boots, motion sickness medicine, flashlight

*Three washing machines are available in the dormitory.

No. of participants

10 (In case of over 10 applicants, we will hold a draw and notify them via e-mail)

Course content

Animals are classified into 30–35 phyla, most of which are so-called “invertebrates”, animals without backbones (= vertebral column). Many groups of invertebrates are aquatic, and the all members in the 14 phyla are exclusively marine. Marine invertebrates exhibit a wide range of sizes and their body plans are highly diverse.

Each body plan has been evolved in close relationships with lifestyle concerning locomotion, feeding, protection from predators, and reproduction.

The aim of this course is to learn body plans of diversified marine invertebrates by sketching and to understand and discuss relationship between the morphology and evolution or function.

Textbook in this course

Field sampling

Intertidal zones provide various habitats to invertebrates. Bansho-zaki, the rocky and boulder shore near the Seto Marine Biological Laboratory, faces the Pacific Ocean, highly influenced by the warm current Kuroshio on both marine and terrestrial climates. A variety of cnidarians, annelids, molluscs, arthropods, and echinoderms are found in tidepools and under boulders.

Comparative anatomy of crustaceans

Crustaceans (phylum Arthropoda) are highly diversified in marine environment. By dissecting hermit crabs (decapods, under water), wharf roaches (isopods, semi-terrestrial), and stalked barnacles (cirriped, sessile), we learn diversity of the metamerism (segmentation) and examine degree of specialization of appendages in each metamere in terms of their function.

Comparative anatomy of gastropods

Gastropods (phylum Mollusca) are also highly diverse and display wide range of feeding habits, such as grazing on periphytic microalgae and seaweeds, preying on bivalves, gastropods, and fishes, and filtering out and consuming planktons, depending on the taxonomic group. By dissecting intertidal gastropods, we learn how the different feeding habits relate to morphology of internal organs, such as radula.

Comparative anatomy of polychetes

Polychaetes (phylum Annelida) also exhibit the metamerism, in which all the metameres are similar with a little specialization. However, the morphology of appendages is different between free-living species and sessile species. By dissecting free-living interstitial species and sessile species, we learn how the different lifestyles relate to the morphology of appendages.

Comparative anatomy of echinoderms

Echinoderms (phylum Echinodermata) have a system called “pentaradial symmetry,” in which the body has five axes of symmetry. Observing the different lifestyles and morphology between sea urchins and sea cucumbers, we learn their body plan and the evolution of echinoderms.


Deadline for applicating

No later than June 28th, 2024 (Fri)

Application documents

  1. Completed application form below.
  2. Certificate of GAKKENSAI: Personal Accident Insurance for Students Pursuing Education and Research*
  3. Certificate of GAKKEN Accident Incidental Liability Insurance or Student Liability Insurance*

*Send a copy of the receipt for the certificate after receiving e-mail from the contact desk.

Contact desk

YAMAMORI, Luna (Assistant professor)
E-mail: yamamori.luna.7m(at) (change (at) to @ to send e-mail)
Tel: 0739-42-3515 (main phone number of SMBL)
Fax: 0739-42-4518

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