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Marine Life Rescue 101

Biological and Physical Sciences Picture
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Course Description

What would you do if you were walking on the shore, and you found a living, but severely injured dolphin in shallow water? As coastal areas become more and more populated and less of the world's shoreline is untraveled wilderness, it becomes increasingly common for people to run into a marine animal in distress. Often, the first response is to try to help the animal, but without proper training, people's well-meaning efforts can make the situation worse.


This study is designed for people who would like to help marine animals or become involved in marine wildlife rescue efforts. Although every stranding network has its own specialized volunteer training program, it is helpful to have a solid understanding of the general physiology of animals that are most likely to strand and with basic response techniques.


As with a human emergency, the primary focus of anyone who stumbles across a marine animal in distress is to call for professional assistance first.

This study will help you --

·    Recognize an animal that is truly in distress

·    Provide the right information to responders

·    Understand the common reasons marine animals strand

·    Appreciate the special adaptations of marine animals to their environment

·    Comprehend seasonal stranding trends

·    Formulate an appropriate response if you find a stranded animal

·    Know who to call and where to go for help

·    Identify laws and regulations that affect the ability to care for marine animals

·    See why response teams follow the procedures they do

·    Realize the goals and importance of marine rehabilitation centers

·    Comprehend the issues surrounding rehabilitation and release of injured marine animals

·    Devise a plan to reduce your individual contribution to marine problems

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

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Biological and Physical Sciences Picture Biological and Physical Sciences Picture

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating: (521 votes)
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Lesson 1. Introduction

Marine animals like sea turtles rarely come ashore, and if you see one lingering on land, there's a good chance that the animal is ill. 40 Total Points
  • Review 3 Articles: Why Stranding Occurs; Why Marine Mammals Strand; Reasons for Strandings
  • Take Poll: Stranded Animals
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Exam

Lesson 2. Biology

All the organisms that live in a saltwater environment like the ocean, estuary, and wetlands are called marine organisms. 10 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Introduction to Marine Mammals; Types of Marine Mammals
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Exam

Lesson 3. When Do Animals Strand?

Animals can strand any time of the year, but years of data tracking has shown some definite seasonal trends. 10 Total Points
  • Review Article: Sea Turtle Strandings on Cape Cod
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Exam

Lesson 4. Effects on the Animal of Coming Ashore

Marine animals are meant to live in an aquatic environment. For some animals, like fish, getting stuck out of the water is a quick death sentence. 10 Total Points
  • Review Article: Stranding FAQ
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Exam

Lesson 5. What to do When you Spot a Stranded Animal

Finding a stranded marine animal is similar to finding a human in distress. 35 Total Points
  • Review Article: Stranded Marine Animals
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Exam

Lesson 6. Stranding Networks

When Congress passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act in the 1970s, it put in place serious legal implications for people who tried to assist stranded animals. 10 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Reporting a Stranded Animal; Stranding/Entanglement Networks
  • Take Poll: Stranding Networks
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Exam

Lesson 7. Basic Rescue. Birds

If the bird looks disoriented or confused, or seems to be limping, it is probably best to leave it alone. 35 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Exam

Lesson 8. Basic Rescue. Mammals

When you encounter a stranded marine animal, it is important to carefully consider any action you might take and then notify the local stranding network before taking action. 10 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Saving Stranded Dolphins; Stranded Animals
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Exam

Lesson 9. Deceased Animal. First Responders

Scientists today will often examine dead animals on the shore to determine the cause of death, age of the animal, and collect tissue samples to further our understanding of the species. 7 Total Points
  • Review 3 Articles: What happens after a whale is beached?; Stranded Live Animals; Studying a Dead Whale
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Exam

Lesson 10. Rehabilitation Process

When rescuers find an animal that is too sick to return to the wild, but not quite at death's door, one option is to send that animal to a marine animal rehabilitation center. 35 Total Points
  • Take Poll: Rehabilitation
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Exam

Lesson 11. Release Criteria

There is no set holding time for an animal, but before the rehab center can release it, it must be free from communicable disease and able to forage for its own food. 9 Total Points
  • Review Article: Releasing Seals
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Exam

Lesson 12. Prevention

At the national level, several governments around the world have enacted their own regulations to help save marine mammals. 7 Total Points
  • Review Article: Are Humans to Blame?
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Exam

Lesson 13. Resources and References

Resources and references. 60 Total Points
  • Review Article: Loggerhead Turtles
  • Take Poll: What is your opinion of this course?
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: Lesson 13 Assignment
  • Complete: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
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Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Marine Life Rescue 101
Course Number: 8900139
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: General Education
CEU Value: 0.7 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: Cathleen Chouinard
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $50.00 (no CEU Certification) || with CEU Certification: $75.00

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Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe biology needed for marine life rescue.
  • Identify when do animals strand.
  • Know the effects on the animal of coming ashore.
  • Describe what to do when you spot a stranded animal.
  • Know what a basic rescue entails.
  • Describe what to do when there's a deceased animal.
  • Describe rehabilitation process.
  • Describe release criteria, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

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