This course has already started! However, you can still join if you’d like to (and we hope you will!). Students enrolling after the course start date and time will have access to a recording of the first session (which will be emailed to participants within 72 hours) as well as the option to attend remaining sessions live. Please select the “Join Late” ticket type to enroll after the course has begun.
In this five-part lecture series, dive into the world of these elegant, powerful predators, exploring the diversity of life that exists across different species of sharks.
Over 500 species of sharks roam Earth’s marine ecosystems, but most people are familiar with only a few—typically the ones whose ominous dorsal fins have made it onto the silver screen. In this course led by marine biologist Melissa Cristina Márquez, we’ll dive deeper, glimpsing the complicated, wildly fascinating reality of these extraordinary predators and the myriad lives they lead. Together, we’ll wriggle free from the stale jaws of Hollywood shark depictions, taking time to look more holistically at the magnificent mosaic of shark species out there, their importance to the planet, and what the future holds for them. We’ll cover basic shark anatomy before backstroking our way into the past, where we’ll glimpse the underwater beasts who ruled the oceans in ancient times and look at how humans imagined them from above the waves. We’ll trace that human–shark relationship through centuries to the present day, where it remains rather…complicated. Each session promises to open your eyes and heart a little more to these misunderstood fish; by the end of our time together, you might begin to envision a world in which humans and sharks coexist a little better.
Syllabus At A Glance
This course includes five total sessions, each lasting 1 hour on five consecutive Mondays beginning July 11.
Session 1 (Monday, 7/11, 8–9:00 PM ET)| Fintastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Biology, behavior, and beyond
Session 2 (Monday, 7/18, 8–9:00 PM ET)| Grandma Shark: Condensing 450 million years into one bite-sized lesson
Session 3 (Monday, 7/25, 8–9:00 PM ET)| No-fin Compares: Why sharks matter to our planet
Session 4 (Monday, 8/1, 8–9:00 PM ET)| Great White Lies: Exploring our relationship with sharks through time
Session 5 (Monday, 8/15, 8–9:00 PM ET)| Come to the Shark Side: Human-shark interactions, conflicts, and coexistence
**Please note that the fifth session has been rescheduled for Monday, August 15.**
Outside of class, students will be given optional reading materials, including some scientific literature about sharks, as well as recommended videos and documentaries.
This course is available at three ticket prices. This tiered pricing model is designed to increase access for a wider range of students as well as to support our instructors. In addition to tiered tickets, we offer a limited number of no-pay spots for students who would not otherwise be able to take this course. No-pay spots are selected via a randomized drawing two weeks before each section begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.
Community Guidelines for Students
Please take a moment to review our community guidelines for students, which aim to share our classroom ethos and help set the stage for the best possible learning experience.
Atlas Obscura Online Courses
Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit www.atlasobscura.com/online-courses. For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.
Founded in 2009, Atlas Obscura created the definitive community-driven guide to incredible places across the planet and is now an award-winning company that shares the world’s hidden wonders in person and online.
Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.
Melissa Márquez is a marine science education expert, currently finishing her doctoral degree at Curtin University. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Mexico, Melissa has worked at the forefront of marine science education and communication for over a decade, hard at work combatting the misinformation that's rampant in ecological fields — and paving the way for Latina women like her in science. With her TEDx talks garnering thousands of views in their first weeks alone, Melissa is a prominent thought-leader and has engaged at global forums such as the National Academy of Science, Oxford, University of Western Australia Global Leader Experience, and National Science Policy Symposium, among others. Named one of Sachamama’s “Los 100 Latinos Más Comprometidos con la Acción Climática” in 2021, “Forbes 30 Under 30: Science” finalist in 2020, and named in InStyle’s 2021 “50 Badass Women” list, Melissa has been touted as “the most enthusiastic shark scientist” people ever meet. She has been featured in NPR, Allure, InStyle, GQ, Seeker, Popular Science, and appeared on Disney+, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Acciona, and Good Morning America.
When the ocean conservationist isn’t at sea filming for various TV shows, she has been instrumental leading the DEI charge in marine science, fighting for and advancing inclusive science communication efforts, and challenging the status quo for women in STEM. Through her advisory roles in Women in Ocean Science, Beneath The Waves, Minorities in Shark Sciences (MISS), and PangeaSeed, she hopes to leave a wake of opportunities for generations to come. A marine scientist by training, Melissa holds a Master of Science in Marine Biology from Victoria University of Wellington. Her first children book series, Wild Survival, was published in 2021-2022 by Scholastic to rave reviews. Her picture book memoir, Mother of Sharks, will be published in 2023 by Penguin Random House, followed by the Sea of Constellations picture book in 2024.
This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording of each session, after it airs, at a time that is convenient for them. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.
Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.
We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.