Module 7: Marine Vertebrates II Part 2

Many students will probably be saying, “Finally, we get to learn about dolphins!”  It seems that some people think that all marine biologists spend their days swimming with dolphins.  Hopefully, by now you have seen that there are many other interesting marine organisms to study besides dolphins.  Nevertheless, they are fascinating creatures and, along with whales and porpoises, they are certainly worth learning about.

Mammals are a group of vertebrates (animals that have a backbone). Certain characteristics separate them from all other animals:

  1. mammals breathe air through lungs,
  2. give birth to live young,
  3. produce milk for their young,
  4. are warm-blooded,
  5. have hair or fur.
  6. They also have relatively large brains
  7. They have a variety of tooth sizes and shapes.

More than 100 mammals depend on the ocean for most or all of their life needs. Marine mammals have all the characteristics of mammals, but they have different appearances and survival strategies. Marine mammals are divided into three orders: Carnivora, Sirenia and Cetacea.  Within the order Carnivora are the pinnipeds (fin-footed mammals such as seals, sea lions, walruses), the sea otter, and the polar bear.  Polar bears are closely related to bears like the grizzly, but are considered marine mammals since they have adopted a marine lifestyle.

December 6, 2012 PowerPoint Honors Marine Biology Marine Mammals Dec 6, 2012

Dolphins can use echolocation to help them find food or find their way from place to place. They make special clicking sounds.  Scientists think the sounds can be aimed by the bulge at the front of the head which is called the melon.  The clicks bounce back off any object in their path. Dolphins can tell the size, shape and direction fish are traveling in.  This is very important in dark, murky seas when dolphins cannot see their prey. It means they can catch fish in total darkness.

Our class quiz is on the anatomy of the dolphin









In class we simulated a stranded marine mammal rescue. Students were judged as they followed life-saving the steps, to assess the probability of the survival of the animal.









  1. Complete Module 7 Test  NOTEBOOK CHECK THIS THURSDAY
  2. Begin reading Module 8 pages 187 – 197
  3. OYO Questions 8.1 – 8.5
  4. Study Guide:  define a-f and 2-11
  5. Complete Lab  Dolphin anatomy and Marine Mammal rescue
  6. Quiz:  Dolphin Anatomy
  7. Class Challenge:  Picture of your pet

Have a great week! – Mrs. S                                          photo(2)

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