Riverhead School District

Riverhead AP students dissect sand sharks to study anatomy

Riverhead AP students visited the
Riverhead AP students visited the local aquarium this week and learned about anatomy by dissecting sand sharks. (Credit: Courtesy) 

Students in Susan Monahan’s AP biology class at Riverhead High School went on a unique field trip to the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center in Riverhead on Tuesday.

Students had the opportunity to dissect sand sharks, allowing them to study the internal and external anatomy of these vertebrate that are commonly found in Long Island waters. As part of the study, students removed the shark’s liver in order to test its buoyancy and oil content. They also determined what the shark’s last meal was when they dissected the contents of the stomach.

“My students studied human systems in class, so they could relate what they have learned and apply their knowledge of comparative anatomy to a real specimen,” Ms. Monahan said. “The students were then taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium where they saw the coral and anemone culture beds, a close up look at the shark tank and got an in-depth look at the other tanks in the main aquarium.”