Advanced Topics in the Biology of Sharks and Rays

Spring 2021
Junior - Senior
Class Size: 12
8 Credits per quarter
Log in to add this offering to your saved list.
Taught by

This Student-Originated Studies (SOS) program will give students the opportunity to do advanced work in the biology of chondrichthyans (sharks, rays, and ratfishes). Weekly lectures will cover special topics in the physiology, behavior, ecology, evolution, and conservation of this group of animals. Students will have seminar discussions on papers in the primary literature that focus on the ecology, biology, and conservation of sharks and rays. There will be a significant element of the SOS that will focus on behavior. We will observe, analyze, and discuss chondrichthyan behavior on aquarium webcams. If aquariums are open, students can do a small project on chondrichthyan behavior captivity. If the program is approved for in-person work, students will dissect several species of chondrichthyan in lab and focus on the comparative anatomy and physiology of the species we observe. For remote-only students or, if the program is not approve for in-person work, the anatomy and physiology focus will shift to chondrichthyan paleontology and make use of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology’s lecture series.

Students will do group research projects on a topic of their choice around chondrichthyan biology. They are expected to do in-depth research in the primary literature to support this project and present their findings to the class at the end of the quarter.

To successfully complete this program students need access to a computer and reliable internet. Students should expect to spend 4-5 hours per week in synchronous meetings using Zoom, Canvas, and shared document platforms such as Google Docs.



SOS:Biology of Sharks and Rays (Winter 2020) or at least 8 credits of college-level organismal biology (fish biology, ornithology, mammalogy, or zoology)

Spring 2021 Registration

Signature Required

Interested students should contact the faculty by email and present the evidence that they have the prerequisites. Students will be informed as to whether they can take the program by Wednesday of Spring Break.

Course Reference Numbers

Jr - Sr (8): 30247

Academic details

Preparatory For

Vertebrate biology, ichthyology, conservation biology, and aquarium husbandry

Fields of Study
Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing
Upper Division Science Credit

Upper division science credit may be awarded in chondrichthyan biology, ecology, and conservation upon completion of all coursework and a research project


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting