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Marine Megafauna

This course covers the ecology, systematics, behavior and conservation of large marine animals including giant squid, bony fishes, sharks, sea turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals. It introduces students to the relations between ocean dynamics and large marine animals, and provides students insights in the the roles that marine megafauna species play in ocean ecosystems.

Whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other large marine species are incredibly charismatic. These compelling species act as natural hooks to gain the interest and maintain the attention of students, helping them learn and retain key concepts about marine ecology, conservation and ocean dynamics. Our Marine Megafauna class provides an engaging introduction to marine ecology. Through this course, we identify students within interests and aptitude in marine sciences and recruit these students to study their topics of interest in greater detail at the marine lab. This course includes field trips to the Duke Marine lab and the Smithsonian Institution’s Sant Ocean Hall.

The course will be taught using the Cachalot Application in Spring 2012.

Marine Mammal Biology and Ecology

[image title=”Cachalot | Marine Mammals” size=”medium” align=”right” autoHeight=”true”]×225.jpg[/image]The biology of cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians, and sea otters. Topics covered include the diversity, ecology, and behavior of marine mammals and their interactions with humans. Detailed consideration given to the adaptations that allow these mammals to live in the sea. Evaluation of the scientific, ethical, and aesthetic factors influencing societal attitudes toward these animals and of their conservation management in light of domestic legislation and international treaties.

This is a field and laboratory-intensive course designed to provide first-hand experience with research techniques such as photo-identification and mark-recapture analysis, sampling prey distribution and abundance, behavioral sampling techniques, acoustic recording and analysis, dissection techniques and basic conservation genetics.

The course was taught using the Cachalot Application in Summer 2011.

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