Sharks and their Relatives
Run by School of Ocean Sciences
20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Gareth Williams
Overall aims and purpose
This module will examine the evolutionary history, taxonomic diversity and ecology of sharks and their relatives. Particular consideration will be given to shark population ecology, physiology and feeding, movement patterns, and human impacts to shark populations and attempts to mitigate these impacts. Current research relating to various anthropogenic impacts and conservation issues such as by-catch, shark finning, pollution and habitat destruction will also be presented and discussed.
Evolutionary history and taxonomy of sharks The differences between sharks and some of their relatives (e.g. rays) Shark sensory ecology Technologies relating to tagging and tracking Population ecology Shark physiology Anthropogenic impacts and conservations issues
The students should be able to express a basic factual knowledge of at least some part of the core material presented in the module, and be able to show some level of appreciate how the ecology of elasmobranchs and oceanographic drivers combine to help explain distributions and migrations. The students should have demonstrated the ability to follow laboratory procedures, collect and collate and analyse their own data, and to show some appreciation of how these results fit within the current literature.
The students should demonstrate comprehensive factual knowledge, critical understanding of theory, evidence of extensive extra reading of primary literature and the ability to integrate this extra knowledge in a relevant manner. Demonstrating a clear understanding of the complexities of ecological and oceanographic factors and these combine to aid our understanding of elasmobranch populations. The students should have demonstrated excellent laboratory practices, and the ability to analyse and present their own data in a clear and concise manner, and to show evidence of extensive extra reading from primary sources, discussing their own data in a wholly justified manner.
The students should be able to express a thorough factual knowledge of much of the core material presented in the module, and have a competent and detailed ability to critically evaluate the principles and processes governing the interactions of organisms and their environment, both ecologically and oceanographically. Some evidence of further reading and ability to integrate material from the full range of the lecture content. The students should have demonstrated good laboratory practices, and the ability to analyse and present their own data in a clear and concise manner, and to show a good level of additional reading; using a wide range of literature to make sensible inferences about their own data.
Demonstrate an appreciation of the current and future anthropogenic pressure on elasmobranch populations.
Demonstrate a detailed understanding of essential facts, major concepts, principles and theories associated with elasmobranch ecology and physiology.
To gain experience with elasmobranch taxonomy.
Understand and explain the evolutionary history of elasmobranch and to demonstrate an appreciation of the differences between the three main groups of sharks, skates and rays.
Demonstrate laboratory skills associated with preparing and observing elasmobranch sensory organs.
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Teaching and Learning Strategy
18 x 1 hour lecture
1 x 8 hour
Self study for reading and preparation of coursework. Revision time for exam.
1 x Shark ID prac. Using large colour photos and fin mapping software students will be given an insight into some of the common methods used to identify many shark species, particulary from fish markets.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Resource implications for students
Carrier JC et al. (2004) Biology of sharks and their relatives (ebook, hard copy)
Camhi MD et al. (ed) Sharks of the open ocean (ebook)
Hamlett C (1999) Sharks, skates, and rays: the biology of elasmobranch fishes (ebook, hard copy)
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- C351: BSC Marine Vertebrate Zoology year 3 (BSC/MVZ)
- 2F11: BSc Marine Vertebrate Zoology (with International Experience year 4 (BSC/MVZIE)
- C168: MSci Marine Vertebrate Zoology year 3 (MSCI/MVZ)
Optional in courses:
- C163: BSC Applied Marine Biology year 4 (BSC/AMB4)
- C166: BSc Applied Marine Biology (with International Experience) year 4 (BSC/AMB4IE)
- CC13: BSC Marine Biology/Zoology year 3 (BSC/BMZ)
- 8B76: BSc Marine Biology and Zoology (with International Exp) year 4 (BSC/BMZIE)
- C160: BSC Marine Biology year 3 (BSC/MB)
- C165: BSc Marine Biology (with International Experience) year 4 (BSC/MBIE)
- CF17: BSC Marine Biology/Oceanography year 3 (BSC/MBO)
- F700: BSC Ocean Science year 3 (BSC/OS)
- 2W79: MMBiol Marine Biology (with International Experience) year 4 (MMBIOL/MBI)
- C167: MSci Marine Biology year 3 (MSCI/MB)
- F712: MSci Marine Biology and Oceanography year 3 (MSCI/MBO)
- C169: MSci Marine Biology and Zoology year 3 (MSCI/MBZ)