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Online Class: Marine Biology 101

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  • 17
  • 36
    Exams &
  • 10
    average time
  • 1.0
  • 1,517
    have taken this course

Course Description

Marine biology is the science of saltwater and everything that lives, moves, and filters through it. The word "marine" in this sense refers specifically to saltwater that you find in oceans, not freshwater, which is found in lakes.

When you look at a globe, you can see that nearly three quarters of the Earth's surface is covered with water. Scientists believe life on Earth got its start in the ocean, and gradually adapted to life on land. Some land-based organisms eventually returned to the water, like dolphins and whales. Tiny ocean plants, called phytoplankton, produce most of the oxygen in the air we breathe. When producing oxygen, these plants soak up carbon dioxide, removing this gas from the air.

The ocean is always in motion: currents move water around the globe. Water evaporates and rises into the atmosphere where it will eventually fall as rain and snow. Cold water sinks in the ocean, warm water rises, and this constant movement distributes heat and nutrients around the globe.

In this course, you will learn about life in the ocean depths, at the Polar extremes, in coral reefs, estuaries, and in the open sea. You will learn about plants large and small, marine birds, reptiles, invertebrates and fish. You will learn how all these organisms connect with each other in the marine biome, and what threats are facing these ecosystems.

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

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Lesson 1: Introduction

Marine biology is the science of saltwater and everything that lives, moves, and filters through it. 40 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Review Article: Becoming a Marine Biologist
  • Take Poll: Marine Biology
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 1: Introduction

Lesson 2: Geology and the Ocean

The area where old crust is sinking under another slab of crust is called a subduction zone. Subduction zones create such deep trenches that they are all below sea level. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Review Article: Marine Geology
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 2: Geology and the Ocean

Lesson 3: Currents and Tides

The term current refers to the motion of water. On land, the motion of water is usually driven by gravity: rain falls from clouds and then runs downhill toward lakes and to the ocean. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Tides and Currents; Waves, Tides and Currents
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 3: Currents and Tides

Lesson 4: What's in a Name?

A species is a group of organisms that are able to successfully reproduce with one another. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Marine Taxonomy; The Classification of Living Things
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 4: What's in a Name?

Lesson 5: Invertebrates

The jellyfish, for example, contracts its umbrella shaped body to propel itself through water. Other invertebrates use water pressure, shell, or cups to support themselves. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Marine Invertebrates; Top 50 Marine Invertebrates
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 5: Invertebrates

Lesson 6: Vertebrates

There are seven main classes and superclasses of vertebrates that include fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Marine Chordates and Vertebrates; Marine Vertebrates
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 6: Vertebrates

Lesson 7: Marine Fish

The study of fish is called ichthyology, and ichthyologists have grouped all fish into three main categories: jawless, cartilaginous, and bony. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: 20 Weirdest Fish in the Ocean; Marine Fish Species
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 7: Marine Fishes

Lesson 8: Marine Mammals

Mammals, whether they live on the land or in the sea, are all vertebrates (meaning they have a backbone and a brain). 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Review Article: List of Marine Mammals
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 8: Marine Mammals

Lesson 9: Marine Ecosystems

A biome is a large geographical area that contains several different ecosystems. All the plants, animals and other organisms that live in a biome are adapted to that environment. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Abyssal Zone; Intertidal Zone
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 9: Marine Ecosystems

Lesson 10: Life at the Shore

The intertidal zone (also called the foreshore, seashore and the littoral zone) is the area that is exposed to air at low tide and underwater at high tide. 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: The Intertidal Zone; Tide Pools
  • Take Poll: Tide Pools
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 10: Life at the Shore

Lesson 11: Estuaries

An estuary is one type of intertidal zone, where a river meets the sea: freshwater meets saltwater in a bay, lagoon, sound, or slough. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Estuaries; Exploring Estuaries
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 11: Estuaries

Lesson 12: Coral Reef Biology

Coral reefs are usually found in the tropics, and although corals make up a big part of the reef, they are just one component of an enormous community. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Review Article: Coral Reef Biology
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 12: Coral Reef Biology

Lesson 13: Coral Reef Ecosystems

Many marine scientists think that most reefs start out as fringe reefs, and over time, the coral grows out and away from land. As it gets farther from land, the reef's diameter expands and a large lagoon forms. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Review Article: Coral Reef Ecosystems
  • Complete: Lesson 13 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 13: Coral Reef Ecosystems

Lesson 14: Life in the Polar Oceans

Although the two poles have a lot of similarities, like very cold weather and extreme living conditions, life in the two regions was shaped by a different series of circumstances. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 14 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Arctic Ecosystem; Polar Oceans
  • Complete: Lesson 14 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 14: Life in the Polar Oceans

Lesson 15: The Open Sea

The open ocean is the largest biome in the world by volume, but in terms of the quantity of life, the Pelagic resembles the most enormous desert ever known. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 15 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Pelagic Biome; The Open Ocean
  • Complete: Lesson 15 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 15: The Open Sea

Lesson 16: Life in the Ocean's Depth

The Benthic Zonerefers to the sea floor, which extends from the tidal areas all the way down to the deepest trenches on the planet. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 16 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: The Deep Ocean; The Deep Sea Biome
  • Take Poll: Marine Organisms
  • Complete: Lesson 16 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 16: Life in the Ocean's Depth

Lesson 17: Oceans in Jeopardy

Some of the major threats facing the oceans include climate change, pollution, nutrient runoff, garbage dumping, overfishing, and ship strikes. 110 Total Points
  • Lesson 17 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: 7 Biggest Problems Facing Oceans; The Ocean's Problems
  • Take Poll: Ocean Challenges
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: Lesson 17 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 17: Oceans in Jeopardy
  • Complete: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define what marine biology is and why it is important to study.
  • Describe geology and the ocean, currents and tides.
  • Understanding the nomenclature of marine biology
  • Identify invertebrates of the marine environment.
  • Identify vertebrates of the marine environment.
  • Identify marine fish.
  • Identify marine mammals.
  • Describe marine ecosystems.
  • Know what estuaries are and why they are important.
  • Know coral reef biology and ecosystems.
  • Describe life in the polar oceans and the open sea.
  • Describe life in the ocean's depth and its future with the human race, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
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Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Marine Biology 101
Course Number: 8900066
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: General Education (Self-Paced, Online Class)
CEU Value: 1.0 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: April Graves
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $55.00 (no CEU Certification) || with Online CEU Certification: $80.00

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Student Testimonials

  • "Great instructor!" -- Melanie H.
  • "This was a very interesting course. I enjoyed learning about marine biology. I would sit at dinner with my husband and children and tell them an interesting fact I had learned that day." -- Victoria L.
  • "It was great to be able to work at your own pace." -- Julie S.

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