Enrollment Open for Online Shark Course

Shark rendering
This digitally reconstructed image based on micro CT scanning shows ancient adaption for predation in the jaws and teeth of the sharpnose sevengill shark, Heptranchias perlo. Upper teeth seize and impale the fish; lower teeth slice and dice with a shake of the head. Sharks with similar teeth swam in Jurassic seas 200 million years ago. Image: William E. Bemis

Did you know that you can track some sharks’ movements on Twitter? Or that the scales on their skin have influenced the way humans design boats, planes, and even swimsuits? Or that the anatomy of sixgill sharks has remained virtually unchanged for 350 million years?

Sharks! Global Biodiversity, Biology, and Conservation is CALS’ newest, free Massive Open Online Course—commonly known as a MOOC. The team of six instructors from Cornell and the University of Queensland in Australia will kick off the course June 28. By joining researchers on location in labs, aquariums and oceans across the globe, students can learn about sharks, rays and their close relatives. According to instructor Willy Bemis, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, this activity-rich course will allow students to examine ecological roles of sharks, historical and cultural aspects of shark-human interactions, the impacts of human behavior on shark populations, and how biology can inform conservation efforts.

The program is now open for registration on edX, the MOOC platform founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University to offer online, university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide audience free of charge. For more information visit go.cals.cornell.edu/sharkcourse.