My OpenLearn Profile
- Personalise your OpenLearn profile
- Save your favourite content
- Get recognition for your learning
Studying mammals: Return to the water
Some of the most unusual and versatile of all the mammals are the groups that live, feed and reproduce underwater. In this free course, Studying mammals: Return to the water, we will see how these formerly land-based mammals adapted to a return to the water, discussing such challenges as breathing, movement and communication. This is the seventh course in the Studying mammals series.
NOTE: The Studying mammals series is gradually being updated and replaced. You can study an improved freestanding version of this course, titled Aquatic mammals, here:
Course learning outcomes
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- contrast the physical properties of air and water and describe implications of such differences for aquatic mammals
- give examples of the adaptations displayed by aquatic mammals that enable them to hold their breath while submerged for relatively long periods
- describe some of the biological differences between pinnipeds, sirenians and cetaceans
- discuss the importance of communication by sound in aquatic mammals, describe the role of blubber and explain countercurrent heat exchange
- explain the diving response and its significance in natural dives.
First Published: 09/08/2012
You can start this course right now without signing-up. Click on any of the course content sections below to start at any point in this course.
If you want to be able to track your progress, earn a free Statement of Participation, and access all course quizzes and activities, sign-up.
- Learning outcomes
- 1 The pinnipeds, sirenians and cetaceans
- 2 Living in the water
- 3 The 'diving response'
- 4 The evolution of whales
Create an account to get more
Track your progress
Review and track your learning through your OpenLearn Profile.
Statement of Participation
On completion of a course you will earn a Statement of Participation.
Access all course activities
Take course quizzes and access all learning.
Review the course
When you have finished a course leave a review and tell others what you think.
Creative commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence.
However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions377 and our FAQs378.
Full copyright details can be found in the Acknowledgements section of each week.
For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.Have a question?
Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.
If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.
Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.
About this free course
10 hours study
Level 1: Introductory
Download this course
Free statement of participation on completion of these courses.