Marine Biology: An Evolutionary Perspective

This course takes an in depth look at the amazing ways marine animals have evolved certain physical features, behaviors, and methods of communication. From why cave dwelling fish don’t have functional eyes to the antibacterial properties of the horseshoe crab’s blue blood, we delve into just what it means when scientists say, "form follows function."

Students examine the life history of crustaceans and ray-finned fish, and review basic taxonomy through hands on labs and activities. They learn about internal and external anatomy by completing individual dissections and by working as a class to assemble an actual fish skeleton. 

This hands-on course takes a systemic approach to exploring marine life through the lens of evolution. Students have the opportunity to investigate questions such as:

  • What types of coastal and ocean environments exist, and how do these environments shape the life that surrounds it?
  • How are different species suited to life in water? —a roll-up-your-sleeves exploration of comparative anatomy via dissections such as squid, mussels, and fish.
  • What are the physiological and ecological differences between fish, crustaceans, marine mammals, marine reptiles, and marine birds?
  • Why does the ocean have such biodiversity, and how did this diverse array of life develop?

And many more questions driven by your curiosity!

This is a terrific course for students interested in marine life or evolution and who seek to study related fields in college.