Jun 28th 2016

Sharks! Global Biodiversity, Biology, and Conservation (edX)

Learn about the most fascinating animals on Earth, their sophisticated senses and how sharks and their relatives have impacted human history and culture. Did you know that you can track some sharks’ movements on Twitter? Or that the scales on their skin have influenced the way humans design boats, planes, and even swim suits? Or that sharks have more senses than humans?

In this biology course, you will learn how scientists study sharks. You will join researchers on location in labs, aquariums, and oceans across the globe to learn about the biodiversity, biology, and conservation of sharks, rays, and chimaeras.

In this activity‑rich course, you’ll track movements of a wild shark, observe shark habitats and behavior, and dig deep into the fossil record. You will also examine topics in the functional anatomy, sensory biology, reproduction, behavior, and ecology of many of the 1,200 living species.

This is an exciting time to be a shark biologist. An explosion of new research methods and technologies are leading to a surprising world of discovery. We’ll introduce new, as well as traditional techniques, for classifying sharks, understanding behavior, and unraveling the mysteries of shark evolution. You’ll be invited to explore global shark populations and consider shark-human interactions and their impacts on history and culture.

You’ll be rewarded by your ability to see virtually any animal with new eyes. Practice thinking like a biologist while honing critical skills that can lead to broader observations about the ongoing history of life on Earth.

What you'll learn:

- Habitats and distributions of sharks from around the world.

- Evolutionary history and relationships of sharks and allies.

- Functional anatomy of swimming, breathing, and eating.

- Aspects of sensory biology, reproduction, and behavior.

- Ecological roles of sharks.

- Historical and cultural aspects of shark-human interactions.

- The impacts of human behavior on shark populations.

- How biology can inform conservation efforts.