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Course Syllabus: 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 study, 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.

Course Requirements

It is recommended individuals have basic knowledge of biology before taking Marine Biology 101.

Universal Class offers Introduction to Biology (CRN: 7550425
http://biology101.onlineclasses.com) and Biology 101 CRN: 7550569 http://biology.onlineclasses.com).

Individuals should have a high school reading level.

No books will be required.

Course Topics


Lesson 1: Introduction

Lesson 2: Geology and the Ocean

Lesson 3: Currents and Tides

Lesson 4: What's in a Name?

Lesson 5: Invertebrates

Lesson 6: Vertebrates

Lesson 7: Marine Fishes

Lesson 8: Marine Mammals

Lesson 9: Marine Ecosystems

Lesson 10: Life at the Shore

Lesson 11: Estuaries

Lesson 12: Coral Reef Biology

Lesson 13: Coral Reef Ecosystems

Lesson 14: Life in the Polar Oceans

Lesson 15: The Open Sea

Lesson 16: Life in the Ocean's Depth

Lesson 17: Oceans in Jeopardy

Course Materials

All course material will be provided in the lessons and netlinks. There are no required materials to purchase before taking the class

Grading Policy

Each lesson will include a lesson review quiz along with one or two assignments. Students will successfully complete this course by mastering all learning outcomes with 70% or higher overall grade.

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.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
An Introduction5
Lesson 1 Assignment25
Lesson 1: Introduction10
Lesson 2 Assignment25
Lesson 2: Geology and the Ocean10
Lesson 3 Assignment25
Lesson 3: Currents and Tides10
Lesson 4 Assignment25
Lesson 4: What's in a Name?10
Lesson 5 Assignment25
Lesson 5: Invertebrates10
Lesson 6 Assignment25
Lesson 6: Vertebrates10
Lesson 7 Assignment25
Lesson 7: Marine Fishes10
Lesson 8 Assignment25
Lesson 8: Marine Mammals10
Lesson 9 Assignment25
Lesson 9: Marine Ecosystems10
Lesson 10 Assignment25
Lesson 10: Life at the Shore9
Lesson 11 Assignment25
Lesson 11: Estuaries10
Lesson 12 Assignment25
Lesson 12: Coral Reef Biology10
Lesson 13 Assignment25
Lesson 13: Coral Reef Ecosystems10
Lesson 14 Assignment25
Lesson 14: Life in the Polar Oceans10
Lesson 15 Assignment25
Lesson 15: The Open Sea10
Lesson 16 Assignment25
Lesson 16: Life in the Ocean's Depth10
Lesson 17 Assignment25
Lesson 17: Oceans in Jeopardy10
The Final Exam75
Total Points:674

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