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Online Class: Marine Biology 101

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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
  • Instructor Support
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
IACET Accredited Provider
Universal Class, Inc. has been approved as an Accredited Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). In obtaining this approval, Universal Class, Inc. has demonstrated that it complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is widely recognized as the Standard of good practice internationally. As a result of their Accredited Provider status, Universal Class, Inc. is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its courses that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lesson 4: What's in a Name?

    A species is a group of organisms that are able to successfully reproduce with one another.
  • 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.
  • Lesson 6: Vertebrates

    There are seven main classes and superclasses of vertebrates that include fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Additional Course Information

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Course Title: Marine Biology 101
Course Number: 8900066
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: General Education
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 CEU Certification: $80.00

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.
  • Summarize what estuaries are and why they are important.
  • Summarize 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.
An IntroductionAssignment5
Lesson 1 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 1: IntroductionExam10
Lesson 2 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 2: Geology and the OceanExam10
Lesson 3 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 3: Currents and TidesExam10
Lesson 4 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 4: What's in a Name?Exam10
Lesson 5 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 5: InvertebratesExam10
Lesson 6 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 6: VertebratesExam10
Lesson 7 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 7: Marine FishesExam10
Lesson 8 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 8: Marine MammalsExam10
Lesson 9 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 9: Marine EcosystemsExam10
Lesson 10 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 10: Life at the ShoreExam9
Lesson 11 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 11: EstuariesExam10
Lesson 12 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 12: Coral Reef BiologyExam10
Lesson 13 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 13: Coral Reef EcosystemsExam10
Lesson 14 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 14: Life in the Polar OceansExam10
Lesson 15 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 15: The Open SeaExam10
Lesson 16 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 16: Life in the Ocean's DepthExam10
Lesson 17 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 17: Oceans in JeopardyExam10
The Final ExamExam75
Total Points:674

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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