NS5160 - Sharks and Rays-Ecology, Classification, and Evolution
Sharks may be one of the most readily recognized fishes in the water, but did you know that rays are one of their closest relatives? They share a 450 million-year evolutionary history, evolving extraordinarily successful body plans. This course examines these amazing fishes, their adaptations for survival, how they operate as top predators, how we study them, and why shark conservation is critical. In this life science seminar, students will draw on the fossil record, museum collections, and research by Museum scientist Dr. Marcelo de Carvalho to become familiar with the basic biology, ecology, diversity, and evolution of sharks and rays (the elasmobranches). Learners will study their complex sensory systems (hearing, smelling, vision, and electrical sensing – perhaps the most advanced of all vertebrates), and find out how sharks and rays use them to navigate and detect prey. Drawing on scientist-authored essays, online interaction, web resources, and videos, the course will also illuminate the tools, techniques and overall process of research in this field, and explain current conservation efforts.
*All course information is from the 2016-2017 Catalog.