Subject: Courses in cetology

Tokitae (
Tue, 6 Jan 1998 00:16:04 -0500 (EST)

Your question is:

I was wondering if you could recommend a good College that offers
Cetology as a course. All I've been able to find are those that offer it
for half a semester or such. I'd really appreciate it.


Vanessa Aiton

Dear Vanessa,

If you have found a college that offers even a half semester course in
cetology your search is going well. It's not surprising there are few
courses in cetology. Only 20 years ago there were almost no publications
about whales beyond anatomical descriptions and migratory patterns derived
from whaling expeditions. Studies of living cetaceans only began in the late
sixties and early seventies, and even today most demographic and ecological
studies of whales and dolphins are independently run and under-funded, so
publication of results lags far behind the field work.

If you haven't already, I would call the marine biology depts. at Texas A &
M Univ., Univ. of California at Santa Cruz, Univ. of Miami and Cornell Univ.
and see if you can find a helpful person who can lead you to courses there
or at other schools. To see what it takes to make a career in cetology, you
can consult the extremely comprehensive guide written by the Society for
Marine Mammalogy, which can be found at:

This guide recommends a solid background in basic science, marine ecology,
statistics and computer science. I would only add that in the future it may
be worthwhile to be familiar with the concepts of psychology, sociology,
anthropology and linguistics to adequately understand and discuss the life
styles of at least some species of cetaceans.

Best of luck and I'd be interested in hearing about any good courses you may