This course is an exploration of life in the saltwater ecosystems of oceans and estuaries. Major topics include physiological and behavioral adaptations for living in marine habitats, classification of marine organisms, ecological processes and structure of marine communities, basic oceanographic processes that impact marine life, and marine conservation. All marine habitats will be examined, from the intertidal zone to the deep sea, but special emphasis will be given to marine habitats visited during the Semester at Sea voyage.
Field WorkCountry: South Africa
Day: 5 - Cape Town - Wednesday, 30 October
From the port of Cape Town, we will travel south to Hermanus, visiting a penguin colony along the way. Hermanus is a small coastal town and home to some of the best land-based whale watching on the planet. Our visit to South Africa coincides with the time when southern right whales are common in the bay to mate and calve. Also in Hermanus, we will visit the shark lab at the South African Shark Conservancy, where we will learn from a marine biologist and shark researcher about shark research and conservation efforts in South Africa. Academic Objectives: 1. Explore biology and conservation of two iconic apex predator groups : cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and sharks. 2. Identify cetacean species in the wild (especially southern right whales) and quantify abundance estimates and behaviors 3. Estimate bioenergetic requirement of right whales observed and their ecological impact , and explore the conservation efforts for marine mammal populations off South Africa