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BIO308: Marine Biology

Unit 4: Marine Life   When children say they want to study marine biology, it usually means that they want to study whales or dolphins or seals.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it would be a mistake to believe that the majority of marine animals are whales, dolphins, or seals—or even fish.  On the contrary, the vast majority of life in the ocean is composed of creatures with an amazing diversity of body plans and life histories, and almost all of them are invertebrates.  Unlike vertebrates, invertebrate animals are not all part of a single phylum; they belong to many different phyla, each with its own unique characteristics.  In this unit you will learn about some of the major groups of marine organisms, vertebrate and invertebrate.  Please note: the subunits below include taxonomic information on these animals, but do not feel obliged to memorize them; they are placed there to give you an idea of the relationships among groups of organisms.

Unit 4 Time Advisory
It should take you approximately 22 hours to complete this unit and all of its linked materials.
 
☐    Subunit 4.1: 0.75 hour

☐    Subunit 4.2: 0.5 hour

☐    Subunit 4.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.4: 6 hours

☐    Subunit 4.4.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.4.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.4.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.4.4: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.5: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 4.5.1: 0.75 hour

☐    Subunit 4.5.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.5.3: 0.75 hour

☐    Subunit 4.5.4: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.6: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.7: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.8: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.9: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.10: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.11: 1.5 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Identify organisms within each phylum covered (including, occasionally, being able to identify organisms within different classes or subclasses) and recognize some traits (anatomical and behavioral) specific to each group.
  • Answer questions about the ecological significance of various organisms within these phyla/groups.

4.1 Sponges (Phylum Porifera)   - Reading: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “Phylogeny of Life: Porifera”: “Introduction,” “Life History and Ecology,” and “More on Morphology” Link: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “Phylogeny of Life:  Porifera”: “Introduction” (HTML), “Life History and Ecology” (HTML), and “More on Morphology” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entirety of these three sections; in “More on Morphology,” follow the links to read about sponge cells and the sponge skeleton.  These readings will cover the topics outlined in subunits 4.1.1 and 4.1.2.
 
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4.1.1 Characteristics and Organization   - Reading: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Phylum Porifera” Link: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Phylum Porifera” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this page in its entirety, and then click on the tab marked “Specimens” to see illustrations of the types of sponge body plans.
 
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4.1.2 Water Flow   4.2 Polychaetes (Phylum Annelida, Class Polychaeta)   - Reading: Encyclopedia of Life: “Polychaeta” Link: Encyclopedia of Life’s “Polychaeta
 
Instructions: Please read all of the "Details" sections, then examine the top tab labeled "5106 Media" for pictures of these organisms.
 
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4.3 Cnidarians (Phylum Cnidaria)   - Reading: Estrella Mountain Community College: Dr. Michael Farabee’s Online Biology Book: “Tissues: Jellyfish, Corals, and Sea Anemones” Link: Estrella Mountain Community College: Dr.  Michael Farabee’s Online Biology Book:Tissues: Jellyfish, Corals, and Sea Anemones” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this introduction to cnidarians up to but not including the section on “Class Anthozoa.”
 
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4.3.1 Scyphozoa (Jellyfish)   Note: Many animals that are not in the Phylum Cnidaria are also referred to as “jellies” or “jellyfish,” including the “comb jellies,” or ctenophores, which are members of an entirely different phylum! These organisms look like jellyfish but use cilia to move and do not produce their own stinging cells (“cnidae” or “nematocysts”).

  • Reading: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Class Scyphozoa” Link: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web:Class Scyphozoa” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this page in its entirety, then click on the tab marked “Specimens” to see illustrations of the types of scyphozoa body plans. Also, click on the tab marked “Pictures” to see some of the incredible forms that jellyfish take.
     
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4.3.2 Anthozoa (Anemones and Corals)   - Reading: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “Anthozoa:” “Introduction,” “Life History and Ecology,” and “More on Morphology” Link: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “Anthozoa:” “Introduction” (HTML), “Life History and Ecology” (HTML), and “More on Morphology” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read each section in its entirety.
 
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4.3.3 Hydrozoa (Siphonophores, Hydroids)   - Reading: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “Hydrozoa:” “Introduction,” “Life History and Ecology,” and “More on Morphology” Link: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “Hydrozoa:” “Introduction” (HTML), “Life History and Ecology” (HTML), and “More on Morphology” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read each section in its entirety.
 
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4.3.4 Cubozoa (Box Jellies)   - Reading: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “Cubozoa:” “Introduction,” “Life History and Ecology,” and “More on Morphology” Link: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “Cubozoa:”  “Introduction” (HTML), “Life History and Ecology” (HTML), and “More on Morphology” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read each section in its entirety.
 
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4.4 Marine Arthropods (Phylum Arthropoda)   - Reading: MarineBio’s “Marine Arthropods” Link: MarineBio’s “Marine Arthropods” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the first section of this page (up to but not including “Taxonomy”) and the later subsection “Life Histories.”
 
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4.4.1 Horse-shoe Crabs (Subphylum Chelicerata, Class Merostomata)   Link: The Ecological Research and Development Group’s The Horseshoe Crab: “Anatomy” (HTML), “Life Cycle” (HTML), “Spawning” (HTML), and “Ecological Niche” (HTML)
 
Instructions: In “Anatomy,” read the subsections on Gross Anatomy, Vision, and the Circulatory System.  In “Life Cycle,” scroll over the timeline to see the horseshoe crab at different life stages.  Read all of the sections “Spawning” “Ecological Niche.”
 
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4.4.2 Common Crustaceans (Class Malacostraca, Order Decapoda)   - Reading: University of Bristol: Dr. Robert D. Crean’s “Order Decapoda:” “Characters and Anatomy” and “Major Groups of Decapods” Link: University of Bristol: Dr.  Robert D.  Crean’s “Order Decapoda:” “Characters and Anatomy” (HTML) and “Major Groups of Decapods” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read these two sections in their entirety.  On the “Major Groups” page, click on the links to “infraorders” to get a sense of what organisms this order includes.
 
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4.4.2.1 Lobsters   - Web Media: Dartmouth College and Bigelow Laboratory’s “Hatch to Catch” Link: Dartmouth College and Bigelow Laboratory’s “Hatch to Catch” (HTML)
 
Instructions: The graphics are very low-level (and “Clawdia,” your guide, seems like the cartoon host for a children’s show), but this exercise is in fact quite complex and requires that you think about ocean circulation, food webs, and life cycles, as well as lobster physiology, in order to plot out the best environment in which lobster larvae should be hatched and should settle.
 
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  • Reading: The Lobster Conservancy’s “Lobster Biology” Link: The Lobster Conservancy’s “Lobster Biology” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: This site contains several pages on lobster biology.  Read the page on “Body Plan,” and then click on the link on the left to read the pages on “Molting and Growth,” “Distribution/Life Cycle” [one page], and “Larvae and Post-Larvae.”
     
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4.4.2.2 Fiddler Crabs   - Reading: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Uca pugnax” Link: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Uca pugnax” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this page in its entirety; it will give you a sense of the diversity of behaviors, habitat, and physiologies of crustaceans.
 
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4.4.3 Copepods (Subphylum Crustacea)   - Reading: Professor Giuseppe Pesce’s Copepod Web Portal: “Introduction to Copepods” Link: Professor Giuseppe Pesce’s Copepod Web Portal: “Introduction to Copepods” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the first portion of this webpage and the section entitled “Body Plan.”  Do not read the section on copepod “Systematics.”  Please note that copepods are the major food source for many marine organisms, including commercially important fish species and many baleen-whale species.
 
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4.4.4 Barnacles (Subphylum Crustacea)   - Web Media: YouTube: Dr. Randy Olson’s “Barnacles Tell No Lies” Link: YouTube: Dr.  Randy Olson’s “Barnacles Tell No Lies” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: This is an optional resource.  If you like, watch this entertaining video (about 4 minutes long) by marine biologist/filmmaker Randy Olson, which will give you a new appreciation for barnacles.
 
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  • Reading: Rhode Island Sea Grant’s Fact Sheets: “Barnacle” and University of Newcastle: Keith Davey’s “Life on Australian Seashores:” “Barnacles” Link: Rhode Island Sea Grant’s Fact Sheets: “Barnacle” (HTML) and University of Newcastle: Keith Davey’s “Life on Australian Seashores:” “Barnacles” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read these webpages in their entirety, but do not concern yourself with the examples of barnacle species.
     
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4.5 Marine Mollusks (Phylum Mollusca)   - Reading: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “The Mollusca” Link: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “The Mollusca” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read all sections except “The Fossil Record.”  This will provide you with an overview of the phylum and its characteristics.
 
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4.5.1 Chitons (Class Polyplacophora)   - Reading: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “Polyplacophora” Link: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “Polyplacophora” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this page in its entirety.
 
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4.5.2 Gastropods (Class Gastropoda)   - Reading: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “The Gastropoda” and Nudibranch.Com’s “About Nudibranchs: Opistobranchs” Links: Readings: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “The Gastropoda” (HTML) and Nudibranch.Com’s “About Nudibranchs:  Opistobranchs” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read all of “The Gastropoda.”  In “About Nudibranchs,” read all sections except “How Nudibranchs Are Named” and “Collection and Preservation.”  Please bear in mind that the subclasses “Opistobranchia” (sea slugs and relatives) and “Prosobranchia” (marine/freshwater gilled snails), although useful as conceptual categories, are no longer considered to be phylogenetically valid.
 
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4.5.3 Bivalves (Class Bivalvia)   - Reading: Bivalves (Class Bivalvia) Link: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “The Bivalvia” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read all sections except “The Fossil Record.”
 
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4.5.4 Cephalopods (Class Cephalopoda; Octopuses, Squid, Cuttlefish, and Nautili)   - Web Media: PBS NOVA: “Cuttlefish: Kings of Camouflage” Link: PBS NOVA: “Cuttlefish: Kings of Camouflage” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Follow the internal links on this page to watch video clips of cuttlefish color-change behavior; read interviews with cuttlefish researchers; and go through an interactive slideshow of cuttlefish anatomy.
 
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  • Reading: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “The Cephalopoda” Link: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “The Cephalopoda” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read all sections of this page.  For the section “Fossil Record,” read only the subsection “Nautiloids and Ammonoids.”
     
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  • Reading: Dr. James B. Wood’s “The Cephalopod Page” Link: Dr.  James B.  Wood’s “The Cephalopod Page” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: This is an optional reading.  If you like, browse through this comprehensive site on cephalopods and look at the “Selected Cephalopod Species” and “Cephalopod Articles” to gain a better understanding of the diversity of this class and the research being done on its members.
     
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  • Web Media: Giant Pacific Octopus Web Cameras: Hatfield Marine Science Center “Octocam”; and Smithsonian Institution National Zoo “Octopus Cam”

    Link: Giant Pacific Octopus Web Cameras: Hatfield Marine Science Center “Octocam” (Adobe Flash) and Smithsonian Institution National Zoo “Octopus Cam” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: This is an optional resource.  If you choose to do so, watch these webcams of zoo octopuses in action.
     
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4.6 Echinoderms (Phylum Echinodermata)   - Reading: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Phylum Echinodermata” Link: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Phylum Echinodermata” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entirety of this webpage.  Please click on all internal links (blue-colored text) prefaced by a magnifying-glass icon; these are figures that will illustrate the terms in the text.
 
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4.6.1 Asteroids (Starfish)   - Reading: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Class Asteroidea” Link: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Class Asteroidea” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entirety of this webpage.  Please click on all internal links (blue-colored text) prefaced by a magnifying-glass icon; these are figures that will illustrate the terms in the text.
 
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4.6.2 Ophiuroids (Brittle Stars)   - Reading: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Class Ophiuroidea” Link: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Class Ophiuroidea” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entirety of this webpage.  Please click on all internal links (blue-colored text) prefaced by a magnifying-glass icon; these are figures that will illustrate the terms in the text.
 
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4.6.3 Holothuroids (Sea Cucumbers)   - Reading: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Class Holothuroidea” Link: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Class Holothuroidea” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entirety of this webpage.  Please click on all internal links (blue-colored text) prefaced by a magnifying-glass icon; these are figures that will illustrate the terms in the text.
 
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4.6.4 Echinoids (Sea Urchins)   - Reading: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Class Echinoidea” Link: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Class Echinoidea” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entirety of this webpage.  Please click on all internal links (blue-colored text) prefaced by a magnifying-glass icon; these are figures that will illustrate the terms in the text.
 
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4.7 Ascidians (Phylum Chordata, Subphylum Urochordata)   - Reading: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “Urochordates”: “Introduction,” and University of California, Berkeley’s Museum of Paleontology’s Chordata: “Life History and Ecology” and “More on Morphology” Link: University of California Museum of Paleontology’s “Urochordates”:  “Introduction” (HTML) and University of California, Berkeley’s Museum of Paleontology’s Chordata: “Life History and Ecology” (HTML) and “More on Morphology” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read each section in its entirety.
 
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  • Assessment: McGraw-Hill: Drs. Peter Castro and Michael Huber’s Marine Biology: “Quiz for Chapter 7: Marine Animals without Backbones” Link: McGraw-Hill: Drs. Peter Castro and Michael Huber’s Marine Biology“Quiz for Chapter 7:  Marine Animals without Backbones” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Answer all questions on this multiple choice quiz except 17-20, 24, 36, and 48.  This assignment will assess your grasp of the material covered in subunits 4.1-4.7.
     
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4.8 Fishes (Phylum Chordata, Subphylum Vertebrata)   - Reading: Odyssey Expeditions: Jason Buchheim’s “A Quick Course in Ichthyology” Link: Odyssey Expeditions: Jason Buchheim’s “A Quick Course in Ichthyology” (HTML)
 
Instructions: In “A Quick Course in Icthyology,” read all of the sections of this webpage except “Shark Attack,” “Hemaphroditism in Fish” (which you will have read in Unit 3), and “Swim Bladders.”  This reading will cover the topics outlined in subunits 4.8.1-4.8.4.
 
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4.8.1 Primitive Fishes   Note: This topic is covered by the resource below subunit 4.8.

4.8.2 Sharks and Rays   Note: This topic is covered by the resource below subunit 4.8.

4.8.3 Bony Fishes   Note: This topic is covered by the resource below subunit 4.8.

4.8.4 Special Adaptations   Note: This topic is covered by the resource below subunit 4.8.

  • Assessment: McGraw-Hill: Drs. Peter Castro and Michael Huber’s Marine Biology: “Quiz for Chapter 8: Marine Fishes” Link: McGraw-Hill: Drs. Peter Castro and Michael Huber’s Marine Biology: “Quiz for Chapter 8:  Marine Fishes” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Answer all questions (1-28).  This quiz will test you on what you learned in subunit 4.8.
     
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4.9 Reptiles (Phylum Chordata, Subphylum Vertebrata)   - Reading: MarineBio’s “Marine Vertebrates” Link: MarineBio’s “Marine Vertebrates” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the section on “Marine Reptiles” to get an overview of these organisms.
 
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4.9.1 Sea Turtles   - Reading: MarineBio’s “Marine Reptiles” Link: MarineBio’s “Marine Reptiles” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entirety of this webpage.  Although some details may not yet be filled in (as in the sections beginning “insert info here…”), this page has a great deal of information on marine turtles’ habitats, behaviors, and adaptations.
 
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4.9.2 Sea Snakes   - Reading: All The Sea’s “Sea Snakes” Link: All The Sea’s “Sea Snakes” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entirety of this webpage. 
 
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4.10 Seabirds (Phylum Chordata, Subphylum Vertebrata)   - Web Media: The Scottish Seabird Centre’s “Webcams and Video Clips” Link: The Scottish Seabird Centre’s “Webcams and Video Clips” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Visit this site to see clips or watch live webcams of wild seabirds (gannets, puffins, gulls, guillemots, and others) on the islands of the Firth of Forth (yes, they’re really called that).
 
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  • Reading: Wikipedia’s “Seabird” page and the Alaska SeaLife Center’s “Sea Bird Research” Link: Wikipedia’s “Seabird” (HTML) page and the Alaska SeaLife Center’s “Sea Bird Research” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read all sections of the “Seabird” entry except “Evolution and the Fossil Record,” “Role in Culture,” and “Seabird Families.”  This reading will cover subunits 4.10.1-4.10.4.  Read the introductory page of “Sea Bird Research,” and click on the small picture of the spectacled eider to read about the research questions being asked about sea birds and the areas of research the SeaLife Center is focusing on.
     
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4.10.1 Sphenisciformes (Penguins)   Note: This topic is covered in the reading below subunit 4.10.

4.10.2 Procellariiformes (Albatrosses, Petrels, Shearwaters)   Note: This topic is covered in the reading below subunit 4.10.

4.10.3 Pelecaniformes (Pelicans, Gannets, Boobies, Cormorants, Frigatebirds)   Note: This topic is covered in the reading below subunit 4.10.

4.10.4 Charadriiformes (Skuas, Gulls, Terns, Auks, Skimmers)   Note: This topic is covered in the reading below subunit 4.10.

4.11 Marine Mammals (Phylum Chordata, Subphylum Vertebrata)   - Reading: The Marine Mammal Center’s “Introduction to Marine Mammals” and “Classification” Link: The Marine Mammal Center’s “Introduction to Marine Mammals” (HTML) and “Classification” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read these two pages in their entirety for an overview of the characteristics and types of marine mammals.
 
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4.11.1 Baleen Whales   - Reading: The Tree of Life Web Project: Drs. Michel C. Milinkovitch and Olivier Lambert’s “Cetacea” Link: The Tree of Life Web Project: Drs.  Michel C.  Milinkovitch and Olivier Lambert’s “Cetacea” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the subsections “Introduction,” “Characteristics,” “Breathing,” and “Hearing and Echolocation.”  These readings will cover subunits 4.11.1 and 4.11.2.
 
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4.11.2 Toothed Whales   Note: This topic is covered by the reading below subunit 4.11.1.

4.11.3 Pinnipeds   - Reading: The Marine Mammal Center’s “The Pinnipeds” Link: The Marine Mammal Center’s “The Pinnipeds” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this page in its entirety.
 
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4.11.4 Dugongs and Manatees   - Reading: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Sirenia: Information” Link: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web: “Sirenia: Information” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this page in its entirety.
 
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4.11.5 Sea Otters   - Reading: Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Karl Schneider and Brenda Ballachey’s “Sea Otter” Wildlife Notebook Link: Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Karl Schneider and Brenda Ballachey’s “Sea Otter” (PDF) Wildlife Notebook
 
Instructions: Select the link titled “Sea Otter” to open the PDF. Read the document in its entirety.
 
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4.11.6 Polar Bears   - Reading: Encyclopedia of Life’s “Ursus maritimus” Link: Encyclopedia of Life’s “Ursus maritimus” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this page in its entirety.
 
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  • Reading: MarineBio’s “Video Library” Link: MarineBio’s “Video Library” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: This is an optional resource.  Browse the array of videos and video clips owned by MarineBio or click on the links to other online videos of a vast array of marine organisms.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: McGraw-Hill: Drs. Peter Castro and Michael Huber’s Marine Biology: “Quiz for Chapter 9: Marine Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals” Link: McGraw-Hill: Drs. Peter Castro and Michael Huber’s Marine Biology: “Quiz for Chapter 9:  Marine Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Answer all questions (1-39).  This quiz will test you on what you learned in subunits 4.9-4.11.
     
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  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Species Specific Horseshoe Crabs” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Species Specific Horseshoe Crabs” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please complete the entire assessment.  You can check your answers against the answer key here.