Marine Mammal Health

Prerequisites: 3rd or 4th-year undergraduate- completion of Dolphins and Whales or Marine Mammals course; graduate student; or consent of the instructor.

The course will provide an overview of marine mammal stranding response, health assessments and common diseases of bottlenose dolphins, manatees and sea lions. Lectures will be focused on how marine mammals act as sentinels for ocean health, including the effects of oils spills, harmful algal blooms and marine debris on marine mammals. This course requires participation in marine mammal necropsies, which includes hands-on dissection of carcasses, internal organs, blood, and can have foul smells. Due to potential risk of zoonotic disease, you may not want to participate in necropsies if you are pregnant or immune compromised. Personal protective equipment will be available and is required.

A field trip to an aquarium will provide the opportunity to see medical examinations of dolphins and sea lions, and participation in live and dead marine mammal stranding response will be available on a volunteer basis as opportunities present throughout the course.