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Biology 1038
Field Biology-Spring 2016

2nd Half of Semester

Introduction to Marine Mammals


Instructor:   Dr. Jerry Skinner; Capwell Hall 211; phone: 945-8404;

Recommended Optional Texts:  I have both these books if you'd like to inspect them when deciding whether to purchase.

Howell, Steve N. G. and B. Sullivan. 2016 Offshore Sea Life ID Guide: East Coast. Princeton University Press. Princeton. 64 pp. 978-0-691-16621-6

Ward, Nathalie. 1995.   Stellwagen Bank:  A guide to the Whales, Sea Birds and Marine Life of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Down East Books, Camden, Maine.  232 pp.  ISBN 0-89272-336-X  (Out of print, but used copies are available at Amazon)

Class Meetings:  Second half of the semester; Wednesday  12 - 12:50 am in Capwell Hall 208; a weekend long field trip April 22-24 is required.   Inclement weather meeting time:  110-140 pm.

Tentative Course Schedule


March 23 Introduction:  Thar She Blows
30 Student presentations
April 6 Student presentations
103 Student presentations
20 Student presentations; preparations for the trip.

Whalewatching trip

27 Final quiz; no meeting during finals week.



Trip Information
Marine Mammals, BIOL 1038
Dates:  Friday April 22-24, 2016

Dr. Jerry Skinner (cell:  570-396-6205); Rick Koval (570-991-0580)


Provincetown Inn
1 Commercial Street
Provincetown, MA 02657
(508) 487-9500; (800) WHALE-VU

Whalewatch:  Dolphin Fleet

What to bring:

  • Warm clothes for hiking the beach and being on the's always 10 degrees colder on the boat (hat, gloves, sweaters, waterproof shoes, extra socks, etc.)
  • Something to do for 7 hrs in the van each way (things to study?)  Camera, binoculars, textbook, birdbook, spending money, seasick medicine, prescriptions.
  • Expenses for which you are responsible:   (6 meals)

Tentative Itinerary:
Friday, April 22, 2016

  • 9 am-Depart Keystone College
  • 6 pm-Arrive at Provincetown Inn, Provincetown, MA

Saturday, April 23             

  • Continental breakfast at hotel
  • Nature/birding hike somewhere on the Cape
  • 10 am-2 pm Guided Whalewatch to Stellwagon Banks Marine Sanctuary
  • Lunch is available for purchase on board (or do we take along our own?)
  • Afternoon-Visit natural area on the Cape.
  • Evening-Sunset at Race Point.
  • Free time to explore Provincetown

Sunday, April 24 

  • Continental breakfast at hotel
  • 930 am – 130 pm Whalewatch #2 to Stellwagon Banks Marine Sanctuary
  • Lunch available on board (or do we take along our own?)
  • Depart for home immediately following whalewatch.
  • Arrive back at Keystone College at about midnight.
Field trip participation 200
Class presentation 50
Final quiz 50

Topics for student presentations:

Topic Presenter Date
1) Whale Evolution    
2) Historical Whaling    
3) Modern Whaling:  The IWC, Greenpeace, & the Modern Industry    
4) Modern Whaling:  Whalewatching and Ecotourism    
5) Echolocation and Feeding    
6) Photoidentification of  Whales    
7) Anatomy & Physiology of Whales    
Summaries of groups of marine mammals:

8) Baleen Whales

9) Toothed Whales

10) Walruses and Seals

11) Polar Bears, Sea Otters and Manatees

12) Whale Population Status and Conservation    
13) Mating and Reproduction    
14) Bioacoustics:  Whale songs and their meaning    
15) Current Threats:  Pollution, Overfishing, Entanglement    
16) Stellwagon Banks    
17) Whale fall-what happens when a whale dies    
18) Whales and the military    
19) Sea Birds    
20) Geography, Geology and Natural History of Cape Cod    
21) Should Subsistence Whaling Be Allowed    
22) have you got another idea for a topic?    


Grading Policy



90 - 92.9


87 - 89.9


83 - 86.9


80 - 82.9


77 - 79.9


73 - 76.9


70 - 72.9


67 - 69.9


60 - 66.9


less than 60


Other Recommended Resources:

Cetacea (from Tree of Life)


Careers Working with Marine Mammals 

American Society of Mammalogists

Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies


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All students are subject to the College's policy and procedure on academic dishonesty;  see the current Keystone College catalog. 
The Natural Science and Mathematics Division recognizes that any form or degree of academic dishonesty challenges the principles of truth and honesty which are among the most important founding principles of science and mathematics discovery.  Keystone College treats academic dishonesty as a serious violation of academic trust.  It penalizes all students found to have engaged in such behavior.
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