Introduction to the Biology of Sharks, Skates, and Rays (online)

Course Dates

August 9, 2021 to August 20, 2021


Two year-long high school courses in science, and completion of grades 10, 11 or 12.

You do not need to have taken SML's Marine Environmental Science courses (section 1 or 2) to enroll in Sharks, Skates, and Rays!

Course Description

Scalloped Hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini) and Atlantic torpedo ray (Tetronarce nobiliana). Photo by Jan Factor.

Elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, and rays) are the subjects of numerous headlines and blockbuster movies, but what do we really know about them? Join us for the opportunity to learn and separate the myths from the reality to better understand these fascinating animals. During this course, you will find opportunities to immerse yourself in the study of marine science, elasmobranch biology, and conservation, and put your scientific knowledge and experiences into action while learning to look at the world around you from new perspectives. Expect dissections and boat-based exercises! SML courses combine laboratory work and field work to expose students to real-world marine science.

This course is a university level course, designed for advanced high school students. Students will earn one Cornell University credit.

*NOTE: Intro to the Biology of Sharks Skates and Rays (online) will run for 2 weeks, with synchronous and asynchronous class periods, Monday - Friday.

Dates are being finalized. Check back for updates.

Read the course blog here!


Maggie Winchester:

Maggie Winchester has a Master's degree from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in Marine Biology with a focus on shark physiology. She is currently working as an educator for the International SeaKeepers Society, a non-profit that facilitates scientific research by connecting yacht owners with scientists in need of vessels as research platforms. Her research is primarily focused on the effects of fishing-related stress and climate change on the cardiac function of elasmobranch fishes, but she has also studied electroreception, dietary preferences, and trophic niche distribution of benthic sharks and stingrays. She is currently involved in research focused on the heart physiology of Greenland sharks.

For the past 3 years, Maggie Winchester has also served as co-faculty for SML's Shark Biology and Conservation course, including in 2020 when the course which was taught online. She brings her experience teaching both in the field and online to this year's BIOSM 1640 course.


Course Full

Course Numbers

Cornell: BIOSM 1640 (1 Credits)