Feb 01, 2023  
Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 2019-2020 
Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG] See drop-down menu above to access other catalogs.

NSCI 537 - Sharks and Rays

(3 credits)
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. Each week learners examine a specific question and are provided with written and multimedia resources to explore it. The weekly questions are: What characters unite sharks and rays as a group? What does the fossil record tell us about sharks and rays? How many types of sharks and rays are there? How do sharks eat? How do sharks and rays reproduce? Why protect sharks and rays? Offered online by the American Museum of Natural History. For more information about this course and associated fees, please contact the College of Graduate Studies.