- Make your own study schedule and take advantage of online tutoring hours
- Obtain a certified diploma once you finish the course.
Suitable for: SUITABLE FOR: This course is suitable for all students over the age of 17. Students can study on this course no matter where you are in the World. The course is made up of various units and each build up your knowledge base of the subject. Courses are all delivered in English.
Level 3 Diploma in Marine Biology
This Quality Assured Level 3 Diploma course in Marine Biology aims to give a comprehensive grounding in the fascinating subject of life in the sea.
This course provides a complete foundation in the subject area for those wishing to pursue a career in Marine Biology or for those wishing to undertake graduate studies in the field of Marine Biology.
Throughout the 10 fully illustrated modules, the student will learn about many aspects of oceanography and marine biology such as how oceans are born and die and how life began and evolved in the sea over the past 4 million years.
We look at the ocean as an ecological habitat and the amazing evolutionary adaptations of aquatic animals to the harsh marine environment. The course looks at ocean habitats from the poles to the equator and from the sunlit surface of the sea to the dark depths of the deep ocean. Finally the human impact on the marine ecosystem is discussed.
The course comprises of ten detailed modules covering all aspects of Marine Biology and concludes with an online examination.
Module 1 - Ocean formation
This module sets the scene by looking at how the oceans are created and destroyed by sea floor spreading and plate tectonics. Students discuss continental drift and the configuration of the oceans and continents through geological history with a speculative look into the possible future configurations should the continents continue to move as predicted. We study the major oceans of the present day with their geological features and follow an ocean as it progresses from birth to death.
Module 2 - The Ocean as a Habitat
In module two we study some basic oceanography and the structure of the physical ocean from the continental shelf to the abyssal plain. We also descend into the deep ocean trenches. We look at the chemistry of seawater and how it gets its physical properties as well as the physics of light and sound propagation in the ocean. We look at the dynamics of tides and major currents and the large scale movements of seawater in the ocean basins. We discover how waves are formed and how temperature, density and salinity work together in the marine environment.
Module 3 - Biological evolution in the oceans
In module three, we look at how life evolved in the ocean and discover the fascinating hydrothermal vents which were found in the 1970s. We meet the peculiar animals that live in these habitats and discover how they are able to live in such extreme environments. We look at the evolution of animals in the ocean from the tiniest one-celled animal to the largest marine mammals and discuss the mass extinctions and radiations that have punctuated the geological history of life on Earth.
Module 4 - Food webs in the sea
In module four, we discover the secret unseen world of the microscopic marine phytoplankton and zooplankton and discuss the primary productivity and the trophic food webs which support all life in the sea. We discover the incredible migration patterns of tiny zooplankton and how other marine animals exploit them. We look at how some of the smallest animals in the sea support some of the largest such as the great whales. Finally we look at the global distribution patterns of the tiniest organisms in the sea.
Module 5 - Adaptations to life in the sea
In this module, we look at how life is adapted to the harsh marine environment. We discover how animals from the smallest fish to the largest whale are able to live in the ocean. We look at biological systems such as osmoregulation, thermoregulation, locomotion, respiration, reproduction, sensory systems, diet and foraging strategies. As a case study, we follow the extraordinary evolutionary adaptation of the whales and dolphins as they evolved from being land animals, 50 million years ago to the fully adapted marine creatures we see today.
Module 6 - Tropical environments
In module six, we look at the beautiful coral reefs and mangrove swamps of the tropics. We study coral anatomy and growth and look at their global distribution and ecology. We discover the geological aspects of coral reef formation and look at how the simple coral animals evolved throughout their geological history. We look at the delicate symbiotic relationships between the tiny reef organisms and their coral hosts and at the marvellous array of coral reef fishes and their ecology.
Module 7 - Polar environments
In this module, we look at the physical environment of the polar regions and at the fundamental geological differences in the Arctic and Antarctic. We discover the ecology of polar environments and the different species found in the Arctic and Antarctic, along with the extraordinary evolutionary adaptations they show to life in such extreme environments. We look at animals such as the fish with antifreeze in their blood and at the way that warm blooded animals are able to survive in such extreme cold.
Module 8 - The intertidal
In module eight, we study the physical environment and the animals of rocky shores, sandy beaches and muddy estuaries. These are all very different environments yet are all at the mercy of the daily tides. We look at the amazing adaptation of animals to such desiccating intertidal environments and at the physical and biological factors for zonation of animals and plants on the shoreline. As a case study, we look at the biology of a rock pool and the array of fascinating animals that are found there.
Module 9 - Beneath the tides
In module nine, we venture into the depths of the abyss, a place we know less well than the moon. We study energy transfer and the surprisingly abundant animals of the deep sea. We discover the strange looking deep-sea fishes and invertebrates that are adapted to such incredible pressures exerted by the water column in this harsh environment and at the animals, which create their own light: bioluminescence. Then we finish the module off with a study of the ecology of a kelp forests in Alaska with its vitally important keystone species.
Module 10 - The human impact on the sea
The final module looks at fisheries and the food we obtain from the sea and discusses the main food species along with the impacts of over-fishing. We look at ocean pollution; the toxic pollutants, sewage and marine debris which are degrading the ocean and how the animals of the sea are coping with it all. We look at oil spills and their aftermath and discuss whether we make things worse with our well intended clean up operations. We look at global warming and its implications for life in the sea by looking at the geological history of climate change over millions of years and comparing it with the predictions of some of the climate models for the future.
There is a list of publications for further reading and a glossary of terms at the end of the course.