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Introduction to Sharks

Gain valuable insights into sharks as you explore their anatomy, ecology, and the efforts to help protect this important species.

A shark in blue waters.

Introduction to Sharks

  • 6 weeks

  • 2 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Delve into the fascinating world of sharks and marine biology

Sharks have been on the planet for over 450 million years and are top apex predators. Yet human actions are causing a serious decline in shark populations worldwide.

On this six-week course, you’ll gain a deep understanding of these fascinating creatures and the important role they play in the ocean. You’ll also explore human impacts on sharks, both negative and positive.

This exploration will see you unpack the research and conservation efforts helping to preserve these remarkable species.

Explore shark anatomy

You’ll start by discovering the differences between cartilaginous and bony fish, such as body shape, appearance, and organ structure.

With this knowledge, you’ll understand shark anatomy and what makes sharks different from other marine life in the ocean.

Understand the importance of sharks

Next, you’ll delve into the ecological characteristics of sharks and explore their classification.

Through this exploration, you’ll discover the importance of sharks and how they play a vital role in ocean health.

Explore the marine conservation efforts for sharks

Finally, you’ll learn about shark fishing practices and the status of shark catches before moving onto different research and conservation practices in place.

You’ll delve into a fascinating case study on whale sharks in Taiwan to gain insights into these creatures. What’s more, you’ll explore the collaborative conservation efforts taken to protect sharks.

By the end, you’ll have the knowledge and understanding of sharks to help you actively contribute to their preservation.


  • Week 1

    Differences between cartilaginous fishes and bony fishes

    • Biological characteristics of fish

      Cartilaginous fishes differ from bony fishes not only in their biological characteristics, but also in their way of life or reproduction with differences in body structure.

  • Week 2

    Do you know about shark ecology?

    • Shark living in the sea

      How shark organs work and how different sharks use their fins to swim. How to forage for food, survive and reproduce in the ocean.

  • Week 3

    Introduction to Shark classification

    • Classification of Sharks and Sharks Without Anal Fins

      Describe common shark species. Sharks without anal fins usually use spines to maintain their balance.

    • Shark with anal fin

      The anal fin stabilizes the body when the fish swims.

  • Week 4

    Status of Shark Catches and Multiple Uses

    • Shark catches and uses

      Global and Taiwanese shark catch growth and more variable use of sharks.

  • Week 5

    Ecological Conservation Research and Management of Sharks

    • Whale shark management and reproductive methods

      Whale sharks are the most common species of sharks in the waters around Taiwan. We will introduce the ecology and reproductive methods of whale sharks in detail.

    • How Long Whale Sharks Live and Their Migratory Movements

      The biological characteristics of whale sharks have evolved to age and migrate differently depending on their reproductive methods.

  • Week 6

    Introduction to Shark Research—Study of Whale Sharks in Taiwan

    • How sharks survive in the ocean

      Pressures on sharks as a dominant population in the sea and policies for global shark conservation management.

    • Assessment and course feedback

      The course will end here. If you want to earn a Certificate of Achievement on this course, please take the test for a quick review. You are welcome to leave any feedback and rethink how to bring it forward

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Compare the difference between cartilaginous fish and bony fish.
  • Explore the ecological characteristics of sharks.
  • Classify the classification of sharks.
  • Explore the fishing and utilization of sharks.
  • Explain the research on whale sharks in Taiwan
  • Reflect on shark conservation management

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in sharks.

You could be a student, researcher, conservationist or simply a marine enthusiast wanting to learn more about sharks and the conservation challenges these species face.

Who will you learn with?

Who developed the course?

Taipei Medical University

Taipei Medical University (TMU) has been a leader in Taiwan’s healthcare system for over half a century due to its research, teaching excellence, internationalization and outstanding medical service.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


For the first two months. Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$129/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 15 Jan 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

T&Cs apply.

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  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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