How the Mer-body Works
Things that are Useful
Due to the nature of shifting, Mers come in all shapes and sizes. This is a definite plus to the shifting method vs. spells. I was able to do my research and choose all this instead of relying on a spell to do it for me. A longer road no doubt, but a worthwhile one. Being able to control exactly what you become is an invaluabe plus; especially if you plan on living in the water frequently and for long periods of time. Better to know and be adaptaed for all the threats you could encounter than to do a spell and only have a tail.
There are all certain terms and concepts that will be particularily useful while you learn to shift. The more you understand about your body, the better you can visualize, and thus the better you shift in the long run. Here I'll put some terms you should probably know about do would do well to study up. This is also where I tell you that you can and must choose what you are going to be! I'll put terms, essays, diagrams and such here to help you better study what you wish to become and help you anticipate.
Once you have chosen and are certain, it is up to you to put all your chosen traits together in a working pattern that can form a living body.
Ectothermic - "An organism in which internal physiological sources of heat are of relatively small or quite negligible importance in controlling body temperature." Ectothermic animals (such as many species of fish) rely either partially or primarily on their surroundings for heat.
Mammilian Spine in Swimming (Example: Dolphins) - When mammals swims, their spines move up and down as opposed to back and forth. A majority of Mers keep their mammilian swimming pattern, and the best way to study this is to look at the anatomy of a dolphin, a prime example of a fully aquatic mammal. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolphin#Anatomy), (http://library.thinkquest.org/J0110024/dolpart.html) (Diagram of Dolphin)
sense organs found in aquatic vertebrates, mainly fish, used to detect movement and vibration in the surrounding water."
Ampullae of Lorenzini - Small, jelly-filled pores that act as electromagnetic receptors on various aqautic animals. This help to hone in on prey, detect incoming animals and objects and can even be used to navigate oneself along the natural electromagnetic fields of the Earth. Absolute must. They can be so precise, so sensitive, as to be able to detect a half a billionth of a volt-- meaning that close up underwater, these organs can detect the faint electric signals given off by your heartbeat.