Introduction to the Biology of Sharks, Skates, and Rays

Course Dates

August 3, 2020 to August 14, 2020


Two year-long high school courses in science, and completion of grades 10, 11 or 12.

You do not need to have taken SML's Marine Environmental Science courses (section 1 or 2) to enroll in Sharks, Skates, and Rays!

Course Description

Scalloped Hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini) and Atlantic torpedo ray (Tetronarce nobiliana). Photo by Jan Factor.

Elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, and rays) are the subjects of numerous headlines and blockbuster movies, but what do we really know about them? Join us for your opportunity to learn to separate the myths from the reality to better understand these fascinating animals. During this course you will find opportunities to immerse yourself in the study of marine science, elasmobranch biology, and conservation, and put your scientific knowledge and experiences into action while learning to look at the world around you from new perspectives. Expect dissections and boat-based exercises! SML courses combine laboratory work and field work to expose students to real-world marine science.

This course is a university level course, designed for advanced high school students. Students will earn one Cornell University credit.

Read the course blog here!


Dr. Ashley Stoehr:

Dr. Ashley Stoehr began her career in marine biology as an undergraduate at the University of Rhode Island where she studied the mechanics of feeding in small sharks, skates, and rays. She later received her Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth studying the anatomy, physiology, and ecology of large, open-ocean fishes like swordfish and bigeye thresher sharks. Her research involves analysis of temperature tagging data, exploratory dissections of the heart and blood vessel anatomy, measurements of gills, and mechanical and biochemical experiments using isolated muscle tissue. She currently teaches lectures and labs of Anatomy and Physiology and Marine Biology at the University of Bridgeport and Marine Biology at Fairfield University. This is her fourth summer returning to Shoals Marine Laboratory – previously she served as a graduate-student teaching assistant for the Introduction to the Sharks, Skates, and Rays course, and this year she will continue the course’s traditions as a lead instructor.  Dr. Stoehr is ecstatic to return to SML and dive into the world of sharks with another "school” of SML students! 



Course Numbers

Cornell: BIOSM 1640 (1 Credits)