PSL379H - Virtual

Comparative Applied Field Marine Mammal Physiology

Accepting applications for 2024. To secure your spot for this very popular course, please complete your application with a non-refundable bank draft. 
For details see below.

Act now to take advantage of this unique, covid free, opportunity and get .5 credit in the process!

Coordinator: Dr. C. Wittnich

Date: April 29-May 10, 2024
Location: Quercus -
Virtual Visiting Florida [Various Species Of Dolphin & Seals]

Description:  Come join us and have the experience of your life – virtually enjoy up close and personal videos interacting with seals like sea lions, and various species of dolphins; all the while getting a University of Toronto and Physiology half credit. Experience physiology of these beautiful and awesome creatures. First week is spent on Zoom virtually visiting our marine mammal friends in Florida with daily activities such as in-water interactions with these amazing animals seeing their amazing anatomy and physiology. During the second week we will have virtual daily class meetings to discuss our individual projects, and group discussion of the information learned and applied. Space is limited for this unique one of a kind opportunity and it is filling up fast.

Testimonials from students

PSL379 virtual was one of the highlights of my undergrad experience. It was one of the few experiences I've had where I truly got to immerse myself in what I was learning. Dr. Wittnich is extremely knowledgeable and approachable and has great engaging teaching methods. Getting to see all of the marine animals up close and in such a small group is an experience like no other and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Everyone in the group was super friendly and the course didn't feel like work at all because it was so interesting and fun! Zoe Paraskevopoulos 2023

 Taking PSL 379 online is definitely an amazing experience!  All other students have already mentioned how awesome the marine mammals are, so I just want to talk about the Professor to add on. Professor Wittnich is one of the best Professors at UofT. She is very passionate, helpful, and highly reachable. The courses were held in small seminars, so it was very engaging, and I felt very comfortable to participate in the class discussions. Meanwhile, Professor Wittnich provided many one-on-one meeting opportunities to students, so everyone could ask questions, discuss their topic of interest, and address their specific concerns. She responded to emails very promptly, and provide very down-to-earth advice for my essays and field notes, which is helpful for my future career and studies. She also hosted a career night to help students to explore possible related career options. Thanks to the great amount of help received, I am able to succeed in the course and get a good understanding of the course contestant even though I had little prior knowledge in the relevant fields. I would recommend this course to any UofT students in any field of study! -Wanyi-2022

The PSL379 virtual course was an exceptional experience beyond any course that I have taken in my academic career. I enjoyed learning about and seeing the marine animals. Seeing the enthusiasm of Dr. Wittnich and my fellow students made this two-week journey delightful. I am glad this course gave me the opportunity to meet students from a variety of programs that I often didn’t get a chance to and also taught me lessons that I will always remember. So this course without a doubt just goes to show from wherever you are, if you want to learn about marine animals and more, this is the place to be!- Fred 2021

I must admit that PSL379 is the first course that I get to put the many on-paper knowledge of research into practical use. We could learn experiment skills, statistical data processing and academic writing in theoretical classes, sure, but PSL 379 is certainly a great experience in integrating all these skills while doing your own research from scratch. I took this field course in 2021 virtually, and can say the content of the course was never compromised from the ‘in person’ version. We had lots of quality time with marine mammal specialists and animal surgeon, learning and practicing from fundamental behavioral observation, field log composing, physiology, and sample collection technique. Dr. Carin Wittnich is a great mentor in helping me develop original research topics while thinking beyond the scope of biology, but to connect with environmental awareness and marine industrial design. This course is a great opportunity to practice your skill beyond a student, but as a researcher of the industry. Yibang Fan 2021

 Applications should be done immediately as there are limited spaces available. Note this course also does count toward fulfilling physiology credit requirements.  Virtual Field Marine Mammal_ application_form_2024_5_0.pdf

Cost: Fees for PSL379H online virtual course is $2,200 USD.  The fees covers the technical personnel, trainers, staff, marine mammal facilities, costs of video acquisitions, processing and animal interactions during said video sessions.  Students are responsible for any applicable university tuition.

Contact: Dr. Wittnich immediately at to be sure not to miss this experience! 

Evaluation:  ‘Field’ notes 30%, Participation 30%, Final essay 40%

To Register: Please fill out the Course Application Form for PSL379 virtual-2024 on the physiology web site and with a $500 CDN non-refundable deposit payable to the University of Toronto mail to:

                          Jay Bhat, Department of Physiology
                          Medical Sciences Building
                          1 King’s College Circle, Room 3368
                          Toronto, ON  M5S 1A8