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Biology of Sharks and Rays 1: Form and Function

Course Numbers: CZMT - 0672 and OCMB - 6215

Although the study of sharks generally lags behind studies on bony fishes and many other animals, our understanding of the biology of sharks and rays has improved tremendously over the past several decades. Despite much of the interest in sharks stemming from the fact that they occasionally bite humans, sharks are fascinating animals in many respects.  They are highly specialized inhabitants of the sea and possess a variety of unique characteristics that are integral to their having been around for the past 400 million years. In this course, we will explore the general biology of sharks and rays by examining topics concentrating on their anatomy, physiology and biochemistry with the goal of understanding how exquisitely adapted these animals are to their environment.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Gain a well-rounded understanding of the general biology of sharks and rays, with a focus on anatomy, physiology and biochemistry.
  • Gain knowledge of the diversity of physiological, biochemical and anatomical features that are found among sharks and rays, and that have enabled them to persist for millions of years.
  • Be better prepared for careers in marine ecology, zoology, ichthyology, and fisheries management.



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