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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


BIOSM 1650 Introduction to Marine Mammal Biology

Course description

(summer only) 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.


The next offering of this course is undetermined at this time. Find similar upcoming programs by tag: animal science, biology, ecology/nature, marine science, Research, sustainability

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