Anatomy and Function of Marine Vertebrates

Course Dates

July 30, 2018 to August 13, 2018


One semester of college-level biology or equivalent.

Equivalent Note

Cornell students: Biology & Society majors, this course fulfills the (II) Foundation Courses > (C) Biology Foundation > Biological Diversity requirement.

Course Description

In this course, we study structure, evolution, physiology, and biomechanics to investigate how vertebrates use anatomy to interface with the marine environment. Activities include marine mammal necropsies, trawling, whale watching, trips to the intertidal, and visits to nearby seal and seabird colonies. Each student will complete an independent research project on a topic within the field of anatomy and function.

"This two week course prepared me more for med school than any other college class I took!" - Maya Koretzky (AFMV '11, AFMV TA '12, John Hopkins School of Medicine entering class 2015)

Internship prerequisite: This course is recommended experience for the Marine Mammal Internship.




Scalloped Hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini) given to the Shoals Lab (thanks to former director, Willy Bemis) by the Ecosystems Survey Branch of the NE Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, MA.  Photo by Jan Factor.



Dr. Nicholas Gidmark:

Assistant Professor, Biology Department, Knox College

Dr. Stacy Farina:

Postdoctoral fellow, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

Check out this article (and video) about mummichog locomotion conducted by Dr. Stacy Farina and Noah Bressman (SML '11, '13, Cornell '16). Noah began this project as a student in Anatomy & Function of Marine Vertebrates, and it turned into an undergraduate thesis and a published scientific paper.

Click here to read: "Back-Flipping Fish Look Before They Leap Across Land"

Course Video

Dr. Stacy Farina filmed this amazing video of a Goosefish exhaling out of its "armpit." So cool!



Course Numbers

Cornell: BIOSM 3210 (3 Credits)
UNH: MEFB 754 (4 Credits)