Topical Outline (MBAS)

Topic Descriptions

  1. Introduction and Scientific Method - Educated people must understand the standards set upon new information before such information can be accepted. The Scientific Method has set these standards.


  1. Aquaria - The study and care of how to maintain aquaria organisms in safe, healthy and nurturing environments within the confining limits of their enclosures.


  1. Osteichthyes - While this group includes most of the fishes we have come to know, few people except those who study these fish as we do, appreciate their incredible functional design for survival.


  1. Chondricthyes - These animals posses no bones, only cartilage and are among the more primitive animals on earth. Sharks, skates and rays both fascinate the skilled observer and frighten the less knowledgeable by-stander. To truly understand these animals and to provide them the respect they deserve results in a person realizing that they do not have a mean "bone " in their entire body.


  1. Invertebrates - This group of boneless animals, many of which are microscopic, are incredibly diverse in form and function and are essential to the health of not only the sea, but also the entire planet.


  1. Oceanography and Diving - We will explore the most interesting physical structures of the oceanic realm, which can mean the difference of life and death to aquatic life and to humans. We will also discuss the history of SCUBA and man's fascination with the exploration of life under the glassy surface.


  1. Alligators, Crocodiles and Hippos - These two reptiles while somewhat alike are quite different. The Hippo, an interesting herbivore that is often as ferocious as a Croc.


  1. Marine Mammals - These animals that are most closely related to humans in structure and chemistry are quite diverse from our land relatives. We explore the complex behaviors and unique senses of the whales (which include dolphins and porpoises), seals, sea lions and walruses.


  1. Animal Behavior/Learning - Why do animals act they way they do, and can they be trained to behave differently? Those are just a couple of the questions that will be answered in this unit.


  1. Food From the Sea - We see a great variety of seafood and freshwater fish for sale in the stores and have little idea of where they come from, how they are caught and if there will be any left for our children and grandchildren. We have a need for some additional information as both consumers and citizens of a major consuming nation.


  1. Ecology - The class investigates some of the problems closing in around us and some of the solutions that can loosen the stranglehold on the very life on earth that we all hold so dear. What can be done and what can we do are explored. If the ocean dies so does all of the life on the planet, as we know it.


  1. **Sea Birds** - A fascinating collection of terrestrial organisms that rely solely on the resources of the sea; so much so that they have evolved into their own class of birds. Their physical structures and life styles will be explored to better understand these extra-ordinary aves.