Student-Originated Studies (SOS): Biology of Sharks and Rays

Winter 2020
Junior - Senior
Class Size: 10
8 12 Credits per quarter
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This Student-Originated Studies (SOS) program will give students the opportunity to do intermediate or advanced work in vertebrate biology with a focus on the biology of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays). Weekly lectures during the first half of the quarter will familiarize students with the physiology, ecology, evolutionary history, and husbandry of sharks and rays. Students will seminar on several texts over the quarter that focus on the challenges of researching sharks in the field and keeping them in captivity. Over an intensive week in the middle of the quarter, students will study the anatomy and physiology of elasmobranchs in a series of anatomy labs.

Students taking the program for 12 credits will do an independent research project on a topic of their choice around elasmobranch conservation or husbandry and will be expected to do in-depth research in the primary literature to support this project. There will be time for students who want to do a project on elasmobranch husbandry to visit an aquarium of their choice to study the captive environment and the behavior of the animals in that environment.



At least 8 credits of college-level organismal biology or ecology.

Winter 2020 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Jr - Sr (12): 20242
Jr - Sr (8): 20243

Academic details

Preparatory For

vertebrate biology, ichthyology, and aquarium husbandry.

Maximum Enrollment
Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
Class Standing
Special Expenses

Students who do their research project at an aquarium are responsible for their own aquarium entrance fee and travel costs

Upper Division Science Credit

Up to 8 credits of upper division science credit will be awarded in vertebrate biology, elasmobranch biology, and elasmobranch husbandry or conservation upon completion of all coursework.  An additional 4 credits may be awarded for an independent research project.


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

LAB 1 2046 - Class Lab