HomepageBiologyCourse Spotlight: Freshwater Dolphins and Other True Tales

Course Spotlight: Freshwater Dolphins and Other True Tales

This unique Biology course includes surveying the various types of freshwater habitats such as marshes, lakes, streams, and swamps and discussing the plants and animals that inhabit each habitat. We cover pollution, erosion and habitat destruction, but we also talk about all of the best practices to eliminate these problems and restore habitats to health.

We visit and study three streams and learn the methods used by government and non-governmental organizations to assess water quality. We take a trip to a sewage treatment plant, the Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia, and the freshwater marsh in the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, near the Philadelphia International Airport. Students learn research skills they can use in undergraduate research, internships, or in jobs.

Students in the class do 5-8 minute “snapshot” presentations about really interesting topics in freshwater science. Some of the presentation topics focus on issues at the intersection of freshwater science and medicine such as water borne diseases, of interest to the pre-med students in the class. Other presentations are on remarkable freshwater organisms and what makes them remarkable. A sampling of these presentations is provided here.

Mosquitoes and Zika Virus

Pod Handler


Water Aid



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Questions? You can reach Dr. Goddard at kgoddard@ursinus.edu or 610-409-3326

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