BIOSM 1650 Introduction to Marine Mammal Biology
This course is only offered in the Summer Session.
Introduction to the biology and conservation of the whales and seals, with a particular focus on species of the Gulf of Maine. Lectures will examine many facets of marine mammal science including: taxonomy and species diversity, morphological and physiological adaptations for life in the sea, foraging ecology and behavior, reproductive cycles, bioacoustics, anthropogenic interactions, and management of threatened species. Land and open-water observations of whale and seal behavior will give students hands-on opportunities to study marine mammals in the field. Laboratory work, including dissections, may also occur pending the availability of samples. Outcome 1: Students can identify and explain morphological and physiological adaptations to life in seawater that are specific to marine mammals. Outcome 2: Students can explain the evolutionary history of cetacean and pinniped marine mammals. Outcome 3: Students understand the ecology of the Gulf of Maine based on seasonal patterns of productivity and resource availability. Outcome 4: Students can explain important aspects of the biology and ecology of marine mammals, including foraging habits and reproductive cycles of local species. Outcome 5: Students recognize the anthropogenic threats faced by marine mammals, including historic exploitation and current sources of mortality from human interactions. Outcome 6: Students can describe current conservation issues and management efforts for local marine mammal species.
Successful completion of BioSM 1650 fulfills 3 credits of the 6 credit Cornell CALS Intro. Life Sciences requirement.