Invertebrate Neurobiology

The study of invertebrate animals, such as honey bees, sea slugs, and fruit flies, have been instrumental in informing us humans about how our own brains operate. In addition, the ability of some invertebrate animals to sense certain stimuli beyond what humans can detect, has enabled scientists to build smart machines and robots with extraordinary capabilities. Since 80% of the world’s species are insects, understanding the basics of how their nervous systems function will enable societies to better manage their health (e.g., helping insect pollinators) or combat their destruction (e.g., preventing locust plagues). Invertebrate Neurobiology is a course that will explore the underlying neural mechanisms that enable animals to solve or respond to particular problems encountered in their natural environments. Many of the invertebrate animals presented will not only exhibit interesting behaviors, but will reveal important and often conserved principles of neuroscience applicable to a host of animals, including us humans. This course is designed to be integrative — including disciplines intersecting with animal behavior, entomology, evolution, ecology, neuroscience, psychology, and bioengineering. A major goal of this course is to widen one’s view of the importance of invertebrate animals in the field of neuroscience and gain an appreciation of the translational impact that this knowledge can have and will continue to have on our society and daily lives. Students will also be introduced to important concepts in neurobiology and learn how small neural networks operate.

Course ID
ENT 5481
Semester Offered
Course Frequency
every year