Biology and Behaviour of Marine Vertebrates

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Biology and Behaviour of Marine Vertebrates

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Marine Biology, Oceanography

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites


  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Study of the biology, ecology and behaviour of marine vertebrates (fish, marine reptiles, seabirds and marine mammals), focusing on New Zealand species.

    Marine vertebrates are some of the most fascinating and sophisticated animals on the planet. In this course we consider the vertebrates that have made their living in the sea; starting with fish, marine reptiles, seabirds, and ending with marine mammals. For each group we will focus first on biodiversity, explore the physiological, ecological and behavioural solutions they have evolved, and discuss the conservation issues they face in the modern world. We will take time to explore the oddities; for example fish that use electrical pulses to navigate, or have parasitic males whose only function is to fertilise females, seasnakes whose venom is as deadly as that of all but the most dangerous land snakes, seabirds that fly underwater, and whales that make the loudest, and most complicated acoustic signals in the animal kingdom.

    Learning Outcomes
    Students gain an understanding of diversity, form and function in marine vertebrate taxa, physiological and behavioural adaptations to their environment; diversity and ecology of NZ marine vertebrates; and management and conservation issues facing marine vertebrates, both internationally and in NZ. In addition, students improve their skills in problem solving, collaboration and written communication.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.