Insect Diversity and Biology

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The course will give a thorough introduction to the diversity and biology of insects and other terrestrial arthropods, and their impact on ecosystems, human health and food production. Through practical field- and lab work, lectures and literature studies the students will learn basic aspects of insect and arthropod research and will be able to complete research tasks with such animals. The course will also be relevant for work with pest insects and environmental studies.

The course contains studies of living insects in field and lab, detailed anatomical studies as well as species identification using microscopy techniques and DNA barcoding. The theme of the course includes lectures that cover systematics, ecology, physiology and behavior for many of the main groups of insects and other arthropods. Specific topics will be highlighted based on recently published scientific literature, including exercises in critical evaluation of research data.

Learning Outcomes

A student who has completed the course should:
  • Know how to collect insects in the field using various methods.
  • Be able to sort, identify and preserve material for scientific collections, with transfer of data to global environmental databases.
  • Know how to identify species using DNA barcoding.
  • Know the morphology, behavior and adaptations of different main groups of insects.
  • Know basic anatomical dissection and microscopy, with particular knowledge of internal anatomical structures.
  • Understand basic physiological, reproductive and developmental systems of insects.
  • Know and understand recent research on the evolution of various insect groups, and explain evolutionary relationships.
  • Be able to review and communicate the content of scientific articles through critical reading and scientific writing.

Semester of Instruction

Every second autumn, odd numbered years.

This course has a limited capacity, enrolment is based on application. The application deadline is Wednesday in week 33 for the autumn semester. Please see this page for more information. You will receive confirmation of whether you received a seat in Studentweb no later than Monday the week after the deadline.

It is compulsory to attend the first lecture/orientation meeting, or you risk losing your seat. If you are unable to attend the first lecture, you must contact the Study Section ( The time of the first lecture/orientation meeting can be found in the schedule on the course website or on Mitt UiB.

Required Previous Knowledge
Compulsory courses in bachelor's in biology, or equivalent courses.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Basic courses of Bachelor in Biology.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
  • Compulsory fieldwork (3 days) and approved field journals.
  • Compulsory laboratory work and approved laboratory journal.
  • Compulsory activities must be approved in order for you to take the exam. Compulsory approved activities are valid for 6 semesters, including the semester of completion.

    Forms of Assessment
  • Oral exam with practical test, accounts for 50% of total grade.
  • Laboratory and field journal, account for 30% of total grade.
  • Essay, accounts for 20% of total grade.
  • Grading Scale
    The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade, grade F is a fail.
    Course Evaluation
    Students will evaluate the course in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department. You can find student evaluations in the Quality Assurance Reports.