Cornell University, in collaboration with The University of Queensland, has created a Massive Open Online Course on sharks titled ‘Sharks! Global Biodiversity, Biology and Conservation.’

The course is free and focuses on the total diversity of living cartilaginous fishes — the large group of about 1,200 living species that includes the sharks, rays and ratfishes.

“Our course will be free to anyone in the world with an Internet connection,” said Prof.William Bemis, ecology and evolutionary biology, an instructor for the course. “We thought this might help to spread our global conservation message that shark populations need help if we are to prevent further declines and possible extinctions.”

New research and technologies are making significant contributions to the way in which scientists study and understand sharks. He said exploring these new developments will be an important component of the course.

“Students will have opportunities to track wild sharks, engage via our discussion board with course enrollees from around the world, learn tips for visiting local aquariums to study sharks, and see original research images documenting key biological concepts,” Bemis said.

Prof. Ian Tibbetts, biology, University of Queensland, called the course an opportunity to understand shark evolution and learn from global experts in the field.

You can sign up for the course at


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