Introduction to the Biology of Sharks, Skates, and Rays

Course Dates

August 12, 2019 to August 19, 2019


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 your opportunity to learn to 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.

Read the course blog here!


Dr. Laura Jordan-Smith:

Dr. Jordan-Smith began her career in marine biology right here at Shoals Marine Laboratory, as a Cornell undergraduate. She later returned to SML as a Teaching Assistant for Field Marine Science and Underwater Research courses. Her studies brought her to Southern California where she received her Ph.D. at UCLA studying stingray sensory biology. She completed postdocs on both the east and west coasts, focusing mainly on shark sensory systems and fisheries bycatch reduction of elasmobranchs (sharks, skates & rays), with additional projects ranging from from penguin flipper morphology to fish and dolphin hydrodynamics. Recently, she has focused on science education in both formal (university-level, currently at the University of San Diego) and informal settings. Dr. Jordan-Smith founded World Below the Waves, an organization that produces educational programs on local marine ecosystems and organisms for her local San Diego community. She is thrilled to return to SML to teach students about her favorite group of animals! Check out Dr. Jordan-Smith's SML blog!


Course Full

Course Numbers

Cornell: BIOSM 1640 (1 Credits)