Marine Mammal Biology (Summer)

Course Information

Marine Mammal Biology is an introductory online course for graduate students designed to provide a broad exploration of a variety of biological, physiological, and ecological aspects related to marine mammalogy. This course focuses around the three main marine mammal groups (cetaceans, sirenians, pinnipeds); however, relevant information on ursids and mustelids will be included where available. Each module of this course includes lectures by well-known experts in the field of marine mammal science.

This course is offered entirely in an asynchronous online format and relies primarily on recorded lectures and assigned readings (either from book chapters or primary scientific literature). Rather than having formal exams throughout the semester, students will participate in active and collaborative learning assessments that focus to enhance critical thinking skills and application of course material.

Course Syllabus

Course Objectives

  • Students will learn to identify and classify the major taxonomic groups of marine mammals based on defining characteristics.
  • Students will examine the morphological and physiological adaptations evolved by marine mammals in order to explain their role in a marine mammals’ ability to inhabit an aquatic environment.
  • Students will broadly examine the biological and ecological relationships between marine mammals and the aquatic environments they inhabit.
  • Students will identify the major management and conservation issues faced by different marine mammal species and evaluate species-specific susceptibility to particular threats.

Course Topics

  • Taxonomy, Biodiversity, & Life History Traits
  • Evolution
  • Anatomy/Physiology
  • Thermoregulation
  • Diving Physiology
  • Sensory Biology/Acoustics
  • Foraging Ecology
  • Reproduction
  • Health & Disease
  • Strandings/Necropsy
  • Conservation Issues
Sea lion nursing

Registration Information

How to Register

There are multiple ways to register for each course. Please review the Non-UF Student, Continuing Education and UF Student descriptions below in order to decide which method is most appropriate for you. You may also want to review our FAQ page or Contact Us to help differentiate between these options.

Student Enrollment Options:

Please note steps for application depend on current education level and University of Florida affiliation. Please see below for details to determine your application steps.

UF Students:

Non-UF Students:

Course Number: VME6014

Graduate: Non-UF Student

Interested applicants must first apply as a non-degree student. If admitted, additional instructions for registration will be provided. Cost: $550/credit plus fees

Students interested in Continuing Education can request to audit and receive a CE certificate.

Registration Deadline

Note: This class has limited enrollment and may fill up prior to the end of drop/add so we suggest registering early.

Summer 2024

Registration Opens March 18th, 2024
Application Deadline April 29th, 2024
Classes Begin May 13th, 2024
Registration Closes May 14th, 2024
Cancel with FULL Refund May 14th, 2024
Tuition Deadline May 24th, 2024 (3:30 pm EST)
Classes End August 9th, 2024

For More Information:

Distance Learning Critical Dates

Frequently Asked Questions

University of Florida


As part of both the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and UF Health, Veterinary Medicine is dedicated to advancing animal, human and environmental health through teaching, research, extension and patient care.



Animal Hospitals

Need animal care? Visit the UF Small Animal and Large Animal Hospitals. From dogs, cats, birds and exotics to horses, cattle, llamas, pigs and many other large farm or food animals, our experienced veterinarian staff is ready to assist.

Animal Airwaves

Syndicated Podcast

Animal Airwaves

Animal Airwaves is a daily radio series that features one-minute segments relating to animal health, ranging from insights into animal behavior to veterinary patient care breakthroughs and trends.

Animal Airwaves