Chapter Outline

Vertebrates: An Introduction

Domain – Eukarya, Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum – Chordata; subphylum Vertebrata

Types of Fishes

Jawless Fishes (Class: Agnatha)

Cartilaginous Fishes (Class: Chondrichthyes)


Rays and Skates


Bony Fishes (Class: Osteichthyses)

Biology of Fishes

            Lobe vs. Ray-Finned Fishes

Body Shape, Locomotion, Feeding


Structure of the Gills

Regulation of the Internal Environment

Nervous System and Sensory Organs


Territoriality, Schooling, Migrations

Reproduction and Life History

Reproductive System

Reproductive Behavior

Early Development

Note: Osmoregulation starts here (in Chondrichthyes and beyond…)

Chapter Summary

Chapter 8 surveys the major groups of marine fishes and summarizes the most important aspects of their biology. The first half of the chapter introduces students to the various groups of marine fishes by outlining their most important morphological features, general distribution, and economic importance. A general classification scheme of fishes is given at the beginning of the chapter. The second half deals with various aspects of the biology of marine fishes, from morphological adaptations to swimming and feeding to behavior and reproduction.


Note I will also likely add lectures on:

(1)   Animal Behavior

(2)   (Field Guide) Species Examples (Porgy etc.)

(3)   Invasives

(4)   Habitat-based species in Coral Reefs, Kelp Forests, Eelgrass beds, Estuaries, Deep Sea etc. (see end of outline for sections)




Domain: Eukarya, Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Subphylum: Vertebrata

Marine Reptiles (Class: Reptilia)

Sea Turtles

Sea Snakes

Other Marine Reptiles (Iguana, Crocodile)

Seabirds (Class: Aves)


Pelicans and Related Birds

Gulls and Related Birds

Shorebirds (vs. seabirds)

Marine Mammals (multiple classes, subclasses & orders – see ppt summary)

Types of Marine Mammals

Seals, Sea Lions, and Walruses

Sea Otters and Polar Bears

Manatees and Dugongs

Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises

Biology of Marine Mammals

Swimming and Diving





Chapter Summary

Chapter 9 discusses the marine tetrapods. Marine reptiles and birds are covered by providing information about their morphological characteristics, general distribution, and the most outstanding features of their biology, particularly feeding and behavior.

The chapter emphasizes the marine mammals, particularly the cetaceans, as a favorite group for students. The various groups of marine mammals are introduced by discussing general morphology, distribution, and feeding.


Again – I will also cover the preceding (habitat-based) sections of your text that include these species including Kelp Forests, the Arctic, “Beach” species and various other pelagic varieties.



Additionally, we will be using additional text sections to cover (vertebrate) species in habitat-specific examples.  Some areas that may be covered include:


Chapter 12 – Estuaries


Salinity, Substrate and Other Physical Factors (and their adaptations)


Chapter 11 – Between the Tides

Rocky Shore Communities

Exposure at Low Tide

Water Loss, Temperature and Salinity, Restriction of Feeding

The Power of the Sea

Coping with Wave Shock

The Battle for Space

Vertical Zonation


Chapter 13 – Continental Shelf


Physical Characteristics of the Subtidal Environment

Continental Shelf Bottom Communities

Soft-Bottom Subtidal Communities

Unvegetated Soft-Bottom Communities

Seagrass Beds

Hard-Bottom Subtidal Communities

Rocky Bottoms

Kelp Communities


Chapter 14 – Coral Reefs


The Ecology of Coral Reefs

The Trophic Structure of Coral Reefs


Chapter 16 – The Deep Ocean


The Twilight World

The Animals of the Mesopelagic


Midwater Fishes

Adaptations of Midwater Animals

Feeding and Food Webs

Sense Organs, Coloration and Body Shape, Bioluminescence

The Deep-Ocean Floor

Feeding in the Deep-Sea Benthos


Final Sections/Material:


CHAPTER 17-19: Our impacts and “Special Report”


Important material we will cover: Coral Bleaching (& anthropogenic effects on increased ocean water temperature), Carbon “sinks” in the ocean & what effects the increased carbon (increased acidity) has on carbonate (shelled/ hard bodied) animals, loss of coastal habitats & increased run-off & lowered water quality, sustainability, osmoregulation issues for marine organisms, global climate change, pollution sources (various) waste, the Pacific Garbage Patch (….to name just a few…)