Aquatic Animal Pathology & Forensic Science

Course Description

Students completing this course will have a better understanding of aquatic animal pathology and the types of injuries seen in aquatic animal forensic cases in general. Students will have learned necropsy techniques and subsequent sample analysis, background historical, ecological and conservation information regarding each species examined, and related forensic techniques including sampling, handling, and legal concerns by renowned species researchers and professionals. Related case studies will be used to supplement the lessons. Learning objectives will be accomplished through a combination of video, lecture material, readings, demonstrations, writing assignments, and online active discussions.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, students should be able:

  • To describe frequently-encountered situations that result in injury or death to various aquatic species that may have legal ramifications.
  • To recognize injury patterns, trauma and wounds of forensic importance and to document and record them for inclusion in case reports.
  • To discern additional pathological changes common to each species discussed that may be observed during post-injury or post-mortem examination and to identify the proper samples that need to be obtained for further analysis to explain or refute initial examination findings.
  • To explain the natural history and conservation of each aquatic species and the unique concerns and issues they face for the future.

Taxa/Species covered but not limited to:

Amphibians, freshwater & marine fish (sharks), marine/aquatic reptiles (turtles, crocodilians), marine/aquatic birds (pelican), freshwater mammals (river otter), marine mammals (cetaceans).