Ecology and Behaviour of Marine Mammals

EMBC+ MODULE 1: Understanding the structure and function of Marine Biodiversity

The diversity of aquatic mammals: cetaceans, carnivores and sirenians.
Aquatic mammals’ use of rivers, lakes, coastal and oceanic waters, from the equator to the polar regions.
Basic physiological adaptations of mammals for aquatic life.
Food and predators of aquatic mammals, their roles in trophic webs.
Sensory channels used by aquatic mammals; the dominant role of audition and the special biosonar adaptation in odontocetes.
Behavioural strategies of aquatic mammals for foraging, mating, rearing young and avoiding predators.
Modes of communication by marine mammals.
Major threats to marine mammal populations: direct captures, by-catch, pollution, habitat degradation; the current problem of excessive tourism pressure in some habitats.
Species commonly maintained in captivity; uses of their training potential; physiological, sensory and cognitive studies of marine mammals.
Field techniques of marine mammal research.

Aquatic mammals, adaptations, behaviour, communication, distribution

General biological education, including marine biology and animal behaviour introductory courses 


A global view of the diversity of aquatic mammals and their main ecological requirements; an understanding of the physiological, behavioural and psychological characteristics that represent mammalian adaptations to the marine environment; a notion about the techniques available to study the ecology and behaviour of these animals.