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MSMS 6007: Marine Mammalogy: Getting Started

Fall 2018 - Dr. Amy Hirons

Your First Stop in Oceanography Research


Dive In Research Oceanography


MSMS 6007 - Marine Mammalogy

Marine Mammalogy

Course NumberMSMS 6007, MEVS 6341, CZMT 6341

This course provides an overview of the evolution, natural history, anatomy, physiology, biomedicine, husbandry, pathology, and conservation of cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians, and their allies. Graduate students are required to contribute to classroom lectures through a review of primary literature and presentation on specialized subjects directly related to the taught material. Numerous case-studies are used to illustrate concepts such as aquatic mammal diseases, direct and indirect anthropogenic impacts, and translation from terrestrial to marine ecosystems. Students will have a broad understanding of marine mammals, their role in a variety of ecosystems, and the environmental issues related to their need for conservation.


Marine Mammalogy

Course Number: MSMS 6007, MEVS 6341, CZMT 6341

Supplemental readings will be provided. The following text is required:

Required Textbook

Marine Mammals: Evolutionary Biology 2nd edition. 2006. Berta, Sumich and Kovacs. Elsevier. ISBN 10: 0-12-088552-2

Marine Mammalogy

Course Number: MSMS 6007, MEVS 6341, CZMT 6341

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Describe the taxonomy, evolution, and natural history of the major groups of marine mammals.
  2. Describe the anatomical and physiological adaptations for diving, fasting and reproduction in marine mammals.
  3. Identify and describe the major families of marine mammals, and provide additional information on the biology, conservation, and management of selected species of marine mammals.
  4. Provide an in-depth description of the biology, conservation, and protection of cetacean, pinniped, and sirenian species.
  5. Identify the major threats to marine mammals and marine mammal populations worldwide and provide literate discussion in oral and written formats.

These objectives should show the following:

  • Students are expected to learn materials by memorization initially followed quickly by development of critical thought through the addition of primary literature sources.
  • Students must demonstrate advanced writing skills. Students will be given the opportunity to present drafts of their paper for editorial comments before the due date. Good writing can be achieved through continual reading of scientific literature and practice.
  • Students will be shown examples of effective presentations and are expected to increase their skills in formal presentation of complex contents. This is important in the job-market.
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