Animal Diversity

 Animal Diversity Laboratory

Animal Diversity 2022
Animal Diversity 2022 is a topical approach to the major groups of animals, characterizing their anatomy, physiology and relationships. The sections of the textbook provide a phylogenetic survey describing the characteristics of the many animal phyla that define and differentiate them. Each section encompasses several related groups and begins with a brief introduction of the key characteristics that unite them. Following, then, are chapters that describe individual phyla. The chapters highlight the defining characteristics that biologists use to include members in the groups and are used to create hypotheses of their evolutionary history. These characteristics traditionally were anatomical structures (morphology), color and pattern, and behavior. Today's biologists have extended tools to characterize animals including physiology and gene sequencing coupled with powerful computer programs that are able to analyze hundreds or even thousands of characteristics to group animals in a branching phylogenetic tree.

Over the last ten years, tremendous advances have been made in genomics, the science of applying DNA sequencing to phylogenetic analysis. Thankfully, much of the earlier work using traditional methods have been confirmed by application of genomics. However, applying new methodologies has made sometimes surprising discoveries of the relationships and evolutionary histories of animals. Because Animal Diversity 2022 is an online textbook, these new discoveries can be included "on the fly", making the textbook and lab manual dynamic sources of information. New chapters and laboratory exercises can be added, earlier chapters can be updated, and new discoveries explored.

For information on how to gain access to the Animal Diversity Textbook and Lab Manual, please check in using the Check In Form at the bottom of this page. You must be an enrolled student. Once you have checked in and received your login, the links to the textbook and/or lab manual in the upper right corner allow entry.

This website integrates course textbook chapters and the laboratory manual exercises. Links to the TEXTBOOK and the LAB MANUAL appear at top right on the header bar. These pages will be updated periodically and subscribers will receive an email when updates have been posted. The textbook and laboratory manual can be accessed from the links that appear at top right on the header bar.

 Animal Diversity
Clicking on ANIMAL DIVERSITY in the upper left corner of any page of the textbook or the laboratory manual will return you to this page.
  •  Animal Diversity  Animal Diversity

Animal Diversity
About the cover (mouseover image at left).

Bird Wrasse (Gomphosus varius). Tropical Pacific. Kahalu'u Bay, Hawaii. As remarkable as the differences are between wrasses of different species, so too are the remarkable differences between Bird Wrasse adults and their juveniles. Young juveniles lack the extended "beak" and their colors produce a bold pattern of green, black and white longitudinal stripes. The juveniles gather in small schools of 4-6 individuals and remain close to Cauliflower Coral (Pocillopora meandrina)in which they can find both food and shelter. It is the small juvenile that first becomes "attached" to the branching corals because of the corals' sheltering matrix. Later the lengthened beak of the adult provides an adaptation allowing the use of the same coral as a habitat for hunting.

  •  Animal Diversity Lab Manual  Animal Diversity Lab Manual

Animal Diversity Laboratory Manual
About the cover (mouseover image at left).

The Spiral-gilled Polychaete (Spirobranchus giganteus) is an annelid worm living within a tube embedded in coral. With whorled, branching palps extending from the sides of the mouth, it filters seawater for microscopic plankton on which it feeds. A circular, algal covered operculum, hinged along one side like a trap door, is drawn closed when the worm retracts. The depths of the tubes, the diameters of the opercula and the growth rates of the worms and the corals within which they live have been used to estimate the life spans of these worms. Many are shown to live as long as 10 years, but with a surprising upper limit estimated to be as long as 40 years.

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