Marine Mammal Biology (New – 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:

Course Number: VME6014

Graduate (NOT in College of Vet Med): UF Student

Students not in the UF College of Veterinary Medicine will need to register through Student Self Service or Dept. Coordinator. Section is listed in SOC. UF tuition and fee rates apply.

Course Number: VME6014

Graduate (In College of Vet Med): UF Student

Students in the UF College of Veterinary Medicine will need to contact Sara Rubinstein in order to register for the course.

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

Course number 4016

Continuing Education

Interested applicants needing credit for professional licensure or for professional/personal development can apply through this application. Applicants do NOT need to complete a non-degree application. Applicants will not receive an official grade or transcript, but will be issued a Certificate of Completion. Cost:$1010.76

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 2023

Registration Opens March 27th, 2023
Application Deadline April 10th, 2023
Classes Begin May 15th, 2023
Registration Closes May 16th, 2023
Cancel with FULL Refund May 16th, 2023
Tuition Deadline May 26th, 2023
Classes End August 11th, 2023

For More Information:

Distance Learning Critical Dates

Frequently Asked Questions

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